What is Fungus?
Fungus is a term used to describe any spore-producing organism that feeds on organic matter, including molds, yeast, mushrooms, and toadstools. That’s right, the yeast from your pizza dough was a fungus as well! Mushrooms are the fleshy, spore-bearing “fruit” of a fungus that grows above ground.
Of the thousands of mushroom species in the world, only about 10% of them are edible. These mushrooms are mass produced on mushroom farms - where a bunch of them can be harvested at once! These are the mushrooms we see and buy at the grocery store, although most of the time, they’re cut in half to make them easier to cook.
Cooking With Mushrooms
Mushrooms are very versatile ingredients - meaning that they can be used in a variety of ways in different kinds of food. They can be boiled, fried, microwaved, grilled, or steamed to prepare them on their own; you can even eat them raw (just be sure they’re very clean)! The only thing you shouldn’t do is wash them in water. Mushrooms will soak up the water and that makes the taste less pronounced.
Some of the most popular types of mushrooms to cook with are portobello, shiitake (pronounced shuh-TALKIE), and the common white or “button” mushroom, like the ones below!
Hodan, George. “Small Mushrooms”. Released into the public domain. Uploaded on 3/13/2017 from publicdomainpictures.net
O'Sullivan, Kecia. “Huddled Mushrooms”. Released into the public domain. Uploaded on 3/13/2017 from publicdomainpictures.net
Greyling, Lynn. “Raw Mushrooms”. Released into the public domain. Uploaded on 3/13/2017 from publicdomainpictures.net
Greyling, Lynn. “Mushrooms On The Grid [sic]”. Released into the public domain. Uploaded on 3/13/2017 from publicdomainpictures.net