October 15, 2013

National Mushroom Day

“I am.... a mushroom; On whom the dew of heaven drops now and then.” - John Ford

It's National Mushroom Day!

Why did the fungi leave the party?

Because there wasn't mushroom!

*crickets*

The joke makes sense because all mushrooms are fungi (a kingdom they were re-classified into in the 1960's), but not all fungi are mushrooms. Fungus also includes molds, yeasts, rusts, powdery mildews, and even the species that helps create certain cheeses like Roquefort. But today really is all about the most fun guy of all the fungi... the mushroom! The early Romans called mushrooms "the food of the gods." And why, considering they're excellent sources of potassium, copper, protein, selenium, and vitamin D. They're interesting organisms, too: did you know that, DNA wise, mushrooms are closer to animals than they are plants?

And now you're all the wiser, foodies!

Edible mushrooms (PSA: do NOT eat mushrooms you've randomly found growing in your back yard, okie?) are found in loads of different recipes (like a hearty soup!). And if you've ever dabbled with a plant-based diet than you also know that mushrooms are considered a great meat substitute because of their texture and density. If you've never tried anything but white, today you should explore oyster, chantarelle, or even shittake mushrooms (all commonly available at most grocery stores these days).

Happy National Mushroom Day!