I feel like I enjoy most foods (within reason) and consider myself fairly adventurous in exploring new cuisines. Even foods I once hated as a kid (I’m looking at you, asparagus) have somehow become miraculously tasty as I grew older. But the one thing I never acquired the taste for? Mushrooms. I remember my mom trying to hide bits of mushroom in her spaghetti, but I could sniff it out a mile away. Even today I shudder to see mushrooms on a pizza. Maybe it’s the texture – or just a flat-out distaste – but whatever the reason, mushrooms have a low probability of ever being a part of my diet.
There does seem to be a widespread fascination with mushrooms in general though. Visions of Alice in Wonderland, Super Mario Bros., and Charlie & the Chocolate Factory come to my mind. On a serious note, some people find pleasure in hunting for mushrooms in the wild. I recently learned that certain types of mushrooms can fetch well over $3,000 per pound! Maybe I need a new hobby…
What mainly prompted this blog about mushrooms was the result of a documentary I recently watched -called Fantastic Fungi – that opened my eyes to the wonders of toadstools. Here are a few reasons why:
- Some mushrooms can breakdown harmful pollutants and chemicals. There was an experiment where mycelium spores (the dense, fibrous roots of a mushroom) were put on a diesel and petroleum spill. The spores absorbed the pollution and sprouted oyster mushrooms. Then those mushrooms attracted insects which then brought birds that dropped seeds; therefore, this oil spill became an “oasis of life”.
- Mycelium actually make great building materials. How? Mycelium grows by digesting nutrients from agricultural waste while bonding to the surface of the waste material, acting as a natural self-assembling glue. This makes mushroom materials durable, naturally fire resistant, and easily molded into shape. The best part is that it’s environmentally friendly! Mycelium offers excellent opportunities for upcycling waste into a low-cost, sustainable, and biodegradable material alternative. The Hy-Fi in New York City,which was built with bricks made from mushrooms, is an architectural feat.
- There are mushrooms that can consume plastic. Studies have shown that some varieties of fungi can grow directly on the surface of plastic and contain properties that deteriorate the material. This could certainly help with our massive waste crisis!
- Mushrooms could also be a solution for packaging! A biotech company, Ecovative Design, has made packaging material from mycelium for companies such as Ikea and Dell.
- Lastly, have you heard the recent hype around “magic” mushrooms being a potential mental health treatment? Recent research has suggested that psilocybin, the hallucinogenic compound in mushrooms, may have long-lasting benefits when it comes to reducing anxiety and depression. Trippy.
Here at the Stump Farm, where White Raven Financial is located, mushrooms can be found just about anywhere you look. From the lawn to the trees to the mossy patches in the forest, you’ll be sure to come across some fantastically fun fungi. Although I won’t be tossing any chopped mushrooms into my next salad, the environmental benefits of them are definitely fascinating.
Thanks for reading~