Monday, 1 September 2008

Giant mushroom is the world’s largest living organism.

The world’s largest fungus covers 2,200 acres or the same as 1,665 football pitches and is in America, in the Malheur national forest in Oregon.

American scientists discovered the giant fungus after trees began to die in the forest, and began testing mushroom samples from various locations in the national park. They discovered that all the samples where part of one organism.

Officially known as Armillaria ostoyae or the honey mushroom, the fungus lives three feet underground and the only visible signs are small mushrooms on the surface.

Experts estimate that the giant mushroom is at least 2,400 years old, but could be as old as 7,200 years.

The largest fungus in Europe is in a Swiss National Forest, near the eastern town of Ofenpass.

Spanning 86 acres, the mostly underground fungus is believed to be 1,000 years old and is once again a Honey mushroom.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Mushroom forces plane to make emergency landing

A Ryanair flight from Budapest to Dublin had to make an emergency landing in Germany after mushroom soup in a passenger’s bag spilled out and leaked onto another passenger. The passenger suffered a severe allergic reaction to the mushroom soup causing him to experience swelling and breathing difficulties.

The pilot and air crew made the decision that the man needed immediate medical treatment and the Boeing 737 was forced to divert to Frankfurt Hahn Airport where the man received medical treatment.

The plane was delayed for two hours before being allowed to continue its journey to Dublin.

The owner of the mushroom soup has not been identified and is yet to come forward.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Unearthing gold

A tree surgeon struck the garden equivalent of gold when he dug up truffles in a garden in Plymouth. Chris Hunt a 47 year old gardener and tree surgeon was working on the garden of Elaine Keith-Hill when he unearthed the delicacy.

Mr Hunt was clearing undergrowth around mature beech and oak trees at Mrs Keith-Hill's property when he unearthed the truffles.

Truffles are normally found in France and Italy and are gathered between November and May, using specially-trained dogs or boars who locate the fungi by smell. They grow around tree roots - normally oak - by providing and taking vital nutrients from the roots.

In total Chris found 10 truffles weighing about 2 kilos and thought to be worth about £1,000, the honest gardener handed them over to the gardens owner who is now considering selling them.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Giant puffball

A giant puffball mushroom has been found growing in the garden of a bar in Woonsocket, America. The giant mushroom measuring 1.3 feet tall and 10 inches wide was found by the bar owners son, growing underneath an oak tree.

The bars owner Judy Pelletier said “She was shocked by the size of the mushroom specially considering that this is the first mushroom she has every seen growing in her garden.”

The mushroom is proving something of a hit with patrons and visitors alike who are flocking to the small bar to see the mushroom.

All members of the puffball mushroom family are edible but the bars owner has no plans to eat the mushroom commenting “I will probably throw it out after everyone has looked at it.”

Puffball mushrooms grow to an average of 4 to 28 inches in diameter and can reach diameters of nearly four feet. They can be found growing in meadows and forests in late summer and autumn.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Foraging for wild mushrooms

I get a lot of e-mails from people new to mushroom foraging asking for advice on how to go about it. So I thought it was about time I put something up on the blog. So here we go.

Wild mushrooms grow throughout the year, but autumn offers the most abundant and varied seasonal eating. From late summer until the first frost, you can gather the likes of penny buns, chanterelles, field mushrooms and dozens of other varieties.

It is only a minority of mushrooms that are good to eat, and there are several varieties that are potentially deadly. Some of the most deadly to be found in the UK are among the Amanita genus with names like “death cap” and “destroying angel” and these can easily be confused for edible varieties.

When collecting fungi, avoid using plastic bags; the lack of air will accelerate the decomposition process and make the mushrooms mushy. Use a basket instead.
Never eat any fungus that you are not absolutely certain has been identified correctly.

When trying any fungus for the first time, only eat it in small amounts to make sure the body can cope with it.

Use a good field guide, but don't rely absolutely on pictures in books - differences between fungi can be difficult to spot. Go out with an experienced guide.

Keep a small fresh portion of any mushroom you eat in the fridge. That way, if there is a reaction, you can easily identify the source.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Australia could produce 10 times as many truffles

Australian truffle production could grow by as much as 10 times its current level by 2013, but market development and further research will be needed to ensure the industry has a long-term future.

Truffles are unique underground mushrooms that grow on the roots of trees which either naturally host the fungi or have been inoculated with truffle spores..
Despite being a relatively new crop to Australia, truffles are one of the most highly sought after and valued foods in the world, with Australian truffles currently selling for between $2000 and $3000 per kg. Despite being highly sought after by many chefs, it is not used often due to the considerable cost of purchase.

The cost is so high due to the difficulties with creating the right environment for the truffles to grow.

The most ever paid for a truffle is $330,000 by a casino owner from Macau for a 1.5kg white truffle last year, which Works out to $220,000 per kg.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Death Angels claim another life

A 61 year old woman has died after eating poisonous wild mushrooms nicknamed death angels that she found growing near a highway rest stop just outside New York City.

Westchester County's health department says Zoila Tapia found the pure-white mushrooms on July 6, in a wooded area along Interstate 684 in Bedford, a town about half an hour north of Manhattan.

The 61-year-old White Plains resident was hospitalised after eating the mushrooms and died 4 days later. The mushrooms are among the prettiest but deadliest in the world.

Westchester County Medical Examiner Dr. Millard Hyland said that by the time Tapia sought medical help, her kidney and liver functions were compromised and her chances for survival were quickly declining.