Are you a boring person? Does your crush leave you on read? Do your pets immediately leave the room when you try to cuddle them? Improve your life, your popularity, and your credit score with these amazing mushroom facts.
Once a part of Japanese farming folklore, Japanese researchers have confirmed that lightning makes mushrooms multiply. When lightning strikes near mushrooms, they’re exposed to the electricity that travels through the soil. In response, they double their yield. It may be a response to perceived danger – more babies means better chances of survival – or lightning might just turn them on.
One cup of white button mushrooms contains as much potassium as one medium banana. A potassium rich diet helps prevent muscle cramps, and they’re also good for your heart. Who needs love when you have mushrooms?
Mushrooms don’t ask for much. They’re stacked vertically in mushroom farms, so they do not take up much space, eliminating the need for widespread deforestation like other crops. They emit very little carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. One pound of mushrooms requires less than 2 gallons of water. Meanwhile, it takes dozens of gallons of water to produce a pound of most vegetables, and a whopping 2500 gallons to produce 1 pound of beef.
Groups of mushrooms connected through a network of underground mycelium sometimes crop up in a circular pattern. In Western Europe mythology, this is known as a fairy ring, believed to be caused by the dancing of fairies, pixies, or elves. Those who walk through, build upon, or otherwise disturb the fairy ring may encounter bad luck. Some cultures see the formations as a bad omen in general. As mushrooms thrive in nitrogen-rich soil, they tend to grow in areas where foliage has died.
Imagine you’re a roundworm, wriggling around beneath the surface of the soil, minding your own business. You take a wrong turn on your way home, only to encounter the mycelium (or root system) of the oyster mushroom. Big mistake. Huge. Within seconds, you’re completely paralyzed, and it penetrates your body with its filament. Your guts are dissolved into a nutrient-rich smoothie, finally to be absorbed by the mushroom. Your family never finds out what happened to you, but erects a memorial where you were attacked. However, you now get to live on as an oyster mushroom until you’re finally plucked, pan-fried in olive oil, and served over a plate of linguine.
White button mushrooms block the production of aromatase, an enzyme that converts estrogen to testosterone in the body. For this reason, mushrooms can help those with low testosterone regulate their hormone levels, and may also be beneficial to people with breast cancer.
Mushrooms are in their own kingdom – The Fungus Kingdom – and that’s why every mushroom has a crown.
At most United States grocery stores, you can find portobellos, white buttons, and baby bella mushrooms. They are actually the same mushroom species at different life stages. White button mushrooms are the youngest, baby bellas are a bit older, while big, juicy portobellos are the final form.
Some people miss out on the joy of mushrooms because they believe that they’re grown in manure. The truth is, they’re grown in a compost substrate that does include manure, but it is pasteurized, so it’s totally safe to eat them without washing. However, those who drive through Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, the mushroom capital of the world, may notice the persistent, oddly comforting aroma of warm manure in the air.
Laetiporus sulphureus, aptly known as Chicken of the Woods, is highly sought after by foragers. This isn’t a foraging blog, and it’s easy for inexperienced foragers to misidentify toxic mushrooms, so please don’t go looking for this treat if you don’t know what you’re doing. COW can be purchased at health food stores from late summer to early fall.