Mushrooms make a disappearing act this monsoon

Mushrooms make a disappearing act this monsoon

Every year in the taluk from August to November a lot of mushroom is found growing wherever there are termite mounds. However this year very few people have actually reported the sighting of this edible variety of nutritious mushroom. This is happening for the first time, say the villagers.

On the third day after it rains, people go in search of mushrooms in fields, farms and the plains. The clean these mushrooms and make a curry out of it which goes well with ragi mudde (millet balls).

There are some varieties of mushroom which are poisonous and therefore mushrooms are collected by only those who have a good knowledge about edible mushrooms.

In Indian menus

Is mushroom a vegetable or fruit? A leaf, root or shoot? It is none of these. It is a fungus and a tasty one at that. Mushroom has been introduced in Indian menus in recent times. It may seem to be a foreign food, but it is very much Indian going by the number of agencies that are promoting it.

In Karnataka it is being popularised by Mushroom Division, Bio-centre in Hulimavu on the outskirts of Bangalore; Indian Institute of Horticulture Research, Hessaraghatta; Department of Microbiology, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore; and Department of Horticulture in Belgaum.

Most people know only one or two ways of cooking mushrooms, but it is such a versatile food item that you can make a wide variety of dishes.

 It can be eaten raw (in salads) or cooked. With mushroom as the main ingredient you can make soup — both vegetarian and non-vegetarian (chicken-mushroom soup). It can be used to make snacks like cutlets and pakodas. It can be curried, marinated or pickled.
You can used it as stuffing for sandwich or added to pulao or biryani. You can even make desserts out of mushroom like mushroom kheer.

Mushrooms have a unique quality of retaining their texture on cooking without melting into the gravy.

A single steam pressure is enough to cook mushrooms as well as retain their nutrients.
Mushrooms are a low-calorie food. Raw dietary mushrooms are a good source of B vitamins, such as riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid, and the essential minerals, selenium, copper and potassium. Fat, carbohydrate and calorie content are low, with absence of vitamin C and sodium.

Mushroom cultivation has become popular and has a great demand from hotels, restaurants and dhabas and are also served during special occasions. It is said that naturally growing mushrooms are tastier than artificially cultivate ones. However, climate change and natural calamity like drought have seen the decline of mushroom which grows naturally in the taluk and if this goes on it might even become extinct.

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