All through September, National Mushroom Month celebrates the wide variety of mushrooms available. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also takes advantage of the opportunity to educate people on the versatility mushrooms offer, including health benefits. As a result, mushrooms are gaining more and more appreciation as we learn more about them.
To fully celebrate the heritage of mushrooms, we must first learn about the Mushroom Capital of the World. Located just outside Philadelphia, PA, you will find a small town known as Kennett Square. Surprisingly, this small Pennsylvanian town produces over a million pounds of mushrooms a day. Each year Kennett Square holds the annual Mushroom Festival starting with a parade. Visitors also enjoy tours of mushroom farms or visit vendors to buy food and other goods.
Scientifically, mushrooms belong to the fungi kingdom. Fungi grow from carbon and energy from dead plants and animals. Interestingly, this has helped scientists to conclude mushroom DNA is similar to humans rather than plants, as previously thought. Through the study of mushrooms, scientists learn more about fungi, especially identifying whether they are single-cell organisms or multi cellular organisms.
Mushrooms contain a ton of nutrients. Because of this, mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamins. Eating mushrooms is a great way to naturally get copper, fiber, potassium, protein, selenium, vitamin B, and zinc into your body. As scientists continue to study mushrooms, there is hope to discover possible medicinal uses. These discoveries only add to the many benefits of mushrooms.
Mushrooms are either edible and non-edible. We find edible mushrooms in cuisine throughout the world. Almost all mushrooms available at the store are cultivated and not wild. These types of mushrooms are available year-round. The most common cultivated mushroom are the white button, flavorful cremini, earthy portobello, shiitake, and delicate oyster.
Non-edible mushrooms are often found in the wild, though many also grow in yards and lawns. However, it can be difficult to determine whether a mushroom is safe to eat or poisonous. For example, mushrooms that have red on the cap or stem are known to be poisonous. You should also avoid eating mushrooms with white gills, a skirt, or a ring on the stem. Because wild mushrooms are hard to identify, we suggest leaving the identification of wild mushrooms to professional mushroom hunters or forgers. Eating poisonous mushrooms can and will make you very sick and possibly kill you. So, when in doubt, don’t eat it!
NATIONAL MUSHROOM MONTH HISTORY
Mushroom history dates back to ancient Egypt. Hieroglyphics found in tombs indicate mushrooms were considered a plant of immortality and only enjoyed by the elites of society.
The U.S. Mushroom Council created National Mushroom Month as part of the Mushroom Promotion, Research & Consumer Information Act of 1990. President George H.W. Bush signed the Act into law on November 28, 1990. However, National Mushroom Month did not take effect until 1993. The gap allowed mushroom growers to vote on a referendum relating to a checkoff program for mushrooms.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalMushroomMonth
Mushrooms are a versatile food item you can use in just about anything. So whether you put them on pizza or in soup or an omelet, you have the opportunity to decide how to celebrate mushrooms in any tasty dishes!
Use #NationalMushroomMonth in social media correspondence.