Appearing in many forms and shapes, the mushroom without an iota of doubt is not only needed but important for many reasons. Among the several types of the mushrooms is the edible mushroom, which serves a variety of purposes that goes beyond consumption and other domestic needs.
Historically, the consumption of mushrooms also termed mycophagy dates back to time immemorial as archaeologist have associated the presence of mushrooms to archaeological sites that have been estimated to be about 13,000 years old in countries like Chile. Other mentions and documentation of existence of mushrooms in history were in the 3400 BC in Europe at the tomb site of Ötzi, a mummified man and other undocumented locations in China and Russia.
With many species serving different purposes, the edible mushrooms appear with fleshy body parts that are consumable. These consumable body parts may grow either above or below the ground surface and are suitable for consumption if they are free of harmful effects on human and have desired taste.
As a precautionary measure, the suitability and edibility of the mushrooms should be ascertained as many mushrooms are known to cause allergic reaction even when prescribed edible. Also there have been numerous records of individuals who had mistakenly harvested the poisonous mushrooms alongside the edible ones. They sometime appear confusing to many mushroom fans and harvesters.
In terms of cultivation, there are over twenty species known to be cultivated on a commercial scale in about sixty nations; with countries like China, America, Netherlands, France and Poland leading as the highest producers in that order as of the year 2000.
From a dietary perspective, the white mushroom is the most consumed among the varieties of mushrooms and contains 92% water, 3% protein, 0.3% table fat, 3% carbohydrate, high levels of riboflavin, pantothenic, considerable levels of phosphorus and niacin; with slight variations in the nutritional constituents upon cooking or further processing. In addition, vitamins, specifically vitamin D is non-existent in mushrooms and when they are found it is often in negligible amount. However, addition of vitamin D is possible when they are exposed to sunlight or deliberately handled under ultraviolet light, even with harvesting and sorting with dry powder.
Conversely, the mushroom is useful in the field of medicine especially traditional medicine and nations like Korea, Japan and China have adopted and championed the medicinal possibilities of the mushroom and its adoption for traditional medicine. On an industrial scale, there are little reports on the use of mushroom extracts and supplements for treatments in radiation and chemotherapy; however, there are no clinical evidence to the efficacy as research in this regard is growing in leaps. The possibilities of mushrooms could be limitless but I bet you never knew the mushroom had immense benefits that transcends consumption? Think you’re still fit for a quiz on edible mushroom? Then take your time as you join the ride.