16th Apr 2021 | Food
The Day of the Mushroom.
It sounds like an old B movie or something you would read in a dystopian novel.
Giant mushrooms come to life and turn the tables on humans by eating them instead.
But believe it or not, The Day of the Mushroom is fact and not fiction.
Only in this case it’s a day celebrating our favourite fungi.
The Mushroom Council (yes, there is such a thing) has organised Day of the Mushroom to coincide with Earth Month in April, on the basis that mushrooms are one of the most sustainably produced foods in the world.
That’s because studies have shown that a pound of mushrooms requires only 1.8 gallons of water, 1 kilowatt hours of energy and generates only 0.7 pounds of CO2 equivalent emissions.
In addition, the annual average yield of mushrooms is 7.1 pounds per square foot, meaning up to 1 million pounds of mushrooms can be produced on just one acre.
That’s a lot of mushrooms!
Here are some other great ‘Fungi Facts’:
* There is a mushroom that tastes nearly identical to fried chicken, in fact it is referred to as the ‘chicken of the woods’
* The bright red and white mushrooms from Super Mario Bros that cause you to grow in size when you bounce on them in the game are real. They are called Amanita Muscaria, but we wouldn’t recommend trying them as they are slightly poisonous
* Mushrooms are loaded with nutrients, including riboflavin, vitamin D and calcium
* Mushrooms are made up of around 90% water
* There are over 30 species of mushroom that actually glow in the dark. The chemical reaction called bioluminescence produces a glowing light known as foxfire. People have been known to use these fungi to light their way through the woods.
It’s also a fact that when it comes to actual eating them, mushrooms are one of those foods which are very divisive.
They are like Brussels sprouts in that they are either loved or loathed, with absolutely no middle ground.
Except there is some middle ground. It’s understandable, for example, that people may not like fried mushrooms, or mushroom soup (given that the only flavour is mushroom!) but chop them up and put them in a beef and red wine sauce and we are willing to bet that no-one would even know they were there.
Personally, we love mushrooms in the Zorba kitchen, after all they inspired us to make our wild mushroom grab and go pots, which are very popular.
So, on Day of the Mushroom we are more than happy to celebrate and pay tribute to our favourite fungi.
Wild mushroom risotto
– 1.5 pounds of fresh wild mushrooms (we recommend porcini or chanterelle)
– 4 tbsp butter
– 6 cups chicken broth
– 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
– 1 finely chopped leek
– 1.5 cups arborio rice
– ½ cup dry white wine
– ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Melt 3 tbsp butter in a large over a medium heat and add the mushrooms, cooking gently until they are soft.
2. Melt the remaining butter with olive oil in another pan and add the leek, cooking on a low heat. Sprinkle with salt, and sauté until tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
3. Add rice and increase heat to medium. Stir until edges of rice begin to look translucent.
4. Add the white wine and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Begin adding the warm chicken stock a bit at a time, stirring until almost all the broth is absorbed.
5. Stir in the sautéed mushrooms and continue adding broth and stirring until the rice is tender but still firm to bite and risotto is creamy (the whole process should take around 30 minutes).
6. Stir in most of the Parmesan cheese, reserving some to add on the top of the risotto just before serving.