Fun Facts: Mushrooms

I know a planet where there is a certain red-faced gentleman. He has never smelled a flower. He has never looked at a star. He has never loved any one. He has never done anything in his life but add up figures. And all day he says over and over, just like you: ‘I am busy with matters of consequence!’ And that makes him swell up with pride. But he is not a man – he is a mushroom!

– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

You see, Mr. H. told me that my last post was weak, lacking in content, that I should have gone on to explain more about mushrooms. In my defence I pointed that the mushroom topics I learnt about at university were all thrush related. Athletes feet. And so on… Not very dainty at all. I don’t know how to pick mushrooms from forests either. Therefore I thought I could put together some fun mushroom facts just to keep us all amused and hopefully we’ll all learn something extra along the way.

  1. Mushrooms are very low in calories. It depends on the variety, but most are made of about 90% water and some protein. Even so, they contain more protein than corn, soybeans or peanuts, which makes them adequate as a alternative to meat for vegetarians.
  2. Mushrooms contain some vitamins but they are usually lost during cooking. They contain hardly any salt and lots of potassium, more potassium than in bananas.
  3. Mushrooms are not from the plant kingdom. They are fungi. Their DNA is more similar to humans than to plants. Thats why getting rid of a strong fungal infection can be difficult, the medicines used can attack our own cells too.
  4. Mushrooms have an immune system.
  5. Mushrooms don’t need sunlight to grow. Some varieties grow and glow in the dark thanks to a chemical reaction called bioluminescence. They can even be used as a source of light to find your way through the woods at night, as if they were torches.
  6. Mushroom that are exposed to sunlight can produce vitamin D – like humans do.
  7. In Ancient Egyptian times it was thought that mushrooms were magic because they would appear overnight. Like magic.
  8. Before synthetic dyes existed, mushrooms used to be used to dye wool and other fabrics. Their organic pigments would produce vibrant colours.
  9. Mushrooms produce antibiotics. This might have something to do with their immune system. In fact, penicillin comes from the Penicillium family of fungi.
  10. Some varieties of cheeses have certain fungi added to them to give them their distinctive flavour, texture and colours. For example Roquefort cheese contain Penicillium roqueforti and Camembert cheese and a few others contain Penicillium camemberti.

Thank you for reading!

25 Comments

  1. Darya 2014-11-16 at 20:50

    Loved the previous post, but really enjoyed reading this as well!

    Reply
  2. Sunny 2014-11-16 at 21:21

    Hey Sofia, oh Mr H is unnecessarily harsh, but I do enjoy this post a lot as well! You make mushrooms sound a little creepy. I didn’t know they’re closer to human than they are to plants! I’m pretty sure there is a sci-fi or two on this topic.

    Reply
    1. Sofia 2014-11-17 at 10:31

      Hehe, indeed he is unnecessarily harsh 😉
      I think there have been instances in the past where the press came to know of giant creeping mushrooms and made a big “sci-fi mushrooms are taking over the world” thing of it!

      Reply
  3. Bunny Eats Design 2014-11-17 at 01:50

    Interesting tidbits. We love mushrooms around here, but with the amount of butter we use to cook them, I’m afraid they probably aren’t very healthy.

    I like how they don’t need sunlight to grow. Must remember that in case some catastrophic event happens and for some reason we are without sunlight.

    Reply
    1. Sofia 2014-11-17 at 10:29

      I used olive oil but inspired by you with my next round of mushrooms I’ll use butter!
      Yeah, we should find those glow in the dark mushrooms and grow some just in case 😉

      Reply
  4. littleblissbook 2014-11-17 at 05:30

    Sometimes I can’t get past the point that mushrooms are a fungus, but boy do I love mushroom cooked in ghee and lightly salted. I’ll allow myself to mushrooms maybe a handful of times a year especially during the holidays which looks like are coming up 🙂

    xx Rakhi

    Reply
    1. Sofia 2014-11-18 at 11:21

      Enjoy them Rakhi! xxx

      Reply
  5. Liz 2014-11-17 at 06:15

    good to know 🙂 Love the variety here! Also love mushrooms.

    Reply
    1. Sofia 2014-11-18 at 11:22

      Do you get a good variety there?

      Reply
  6. Mr. G. 2014-11-17 at 09:40

    What a bore this Mr. H. is. 😉

    Reply
  7. Lignum Draco 2014-11-17 at 11:37

    You forgot point 11, they taste delicious.

    Reply
    1. Sofia 2014-11-17 at 13:43

      You’re right, I forgot!

      Reply
  8. Ngan R. 2014-11-18 at 02:13

    Loved this post, Sofia! I enjoy mushrooms a great deal because of their flavor and never looked too deeply into their attributes. Now I know much more about mushrooms!

    Reply
    1. Sofia 2014-11-18 at 11:22

      I don’t now if their attributes are good to know or creepy while eating them 😉 Whatever the case, when well cooked they taste great xx

      Reply
  9. Amanda 2014-11-18 at 17:28

    Beautiful photo. Love the quote. No one can be as critical than those who love you most. I liked your last post. This one was good too 🙂

    Reply
    1. Sofia 2014-11-18 at 22:10

      I’ll remember what you say Amanda, everytime I feel under a microscope and under criticism 🙂

      Reply
  10. Guillermina Stover 2014-11-18 at 17:44

    You are an excellent teacher, Sofia. And I have to agree SOMEWHAT with Mr. H.—he gave you a challenge on improving your last post. Not that it needed improving, but you have now given us a plethora of information on those succulent mushrooms!!! Thanks, Mr. H.!!!!

    Reply
    1. Sofia 2014-11-18 at 22:11

      Oh no, if he reads this he might get big headed 😉

      Reply
  11. Dalo 2013 2014-11-23 at 12:30

    Sofia on mushrooms ~ very nice 🙂
    Nice follow-up post, with a great opening quote!

    Reply
    1. Sofia 2014-11-23 at 19:57

      Haha me on mushroom. Wait for it, I might do a me on pomegranate, I’m still thinking about it…. 😛

      Reply

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