Mushrooms

Changed on: 18.01.2017

Mushrooms are traditionally classified as plants biologically speaking. However, meanwhile they are believed to be more closely related to animals. Mushrooms do not form chlorophyll and, thus, rely on organic food (humus).  They do not require light to grow, but need moisture and warmth. These characteristics enable a selective cultivation of some varieties. Edible mushrooms are a relatively small group within the fungi family.

The development of a so-called pillar-fungus or basidiomycota (this family includes most edible species) works as follows: the fungi spores develop into a multitude of long cell filaments, called hyphae. The mass of hyphae form the mycelium, a subterranean, branching network of fungal threads. The hyphae cluster at various parts of the mycelium forming fruit-bearing bodies above the soil, which form new spores in their lamella or tubes.

Mushrooms are traditionally classified as plants biologically speaking. However, meanwhile they are believed to be more closely related to animals. Mushrooms do not form chlorophyll and, thus, rely on organic food (humus).  They do not require light to grow, but need moisture and warmth. These characteristics enable a selective cultivation of some varieties. Edible mushrooms are a relatively small group within the fungi family.

The development of a so-called pillar-fungus or basidiomycota (this family includes most edible species) works as follows: the fungi spores develop into a multitude of long cell filaments, called hyphae. The mass of hyphae form the mycelium, a subterranean, branching network of fungal threads. The hyphae cluster at various parts of the mycelium forming fruit-bearing bodies above the soil, which form new spores in their lamella or tubes.

Sales & Retail

Sales & Retail

Mushrooms are available in fresh, tinned, frozen or dried forms in retail. Fresh mushrooms can be identified by their typical, intense smell and their dry skin. A dark discolouration, pressure sensitivity and a slimy visual appearance are signs for overly ripe or old products.

Fresh mushrooms spoil quickly and must be consumed as soon as possible. Edible mushrooms should not be stored in foil, but placed unpacked, and side by side on a tray in the fridge, if possible. Thus, pristine, healthy, worm-free wild mushrooms can be stored for a few days in the fridge.

Be careful when cooking with dried mushrooms, as they could be contaminated with salmonella. Dishes prepared using dried mushrooms should be heated through properly.

 

 

Picking Mushrooms

Picking Mushrooms

In general, only mushrooms very familiar to the pickers should be picked. There are no reliable general features to enable lay people to differentiate between poisonous and edible mushrooms. Only a precise knowledge of the individual mushroom species can provide information on the degree of toxicity they have. If in doubt, leave the mushroom and do not eat it.

Poisonous Mushrooms

Poisonous mushrooms contain substances in their fruit-bearing bodies that are harmful to health. Serious, fatal poisonings are caused by the green and white death cap (Amanita Phalloides). However, even non-toxic mushrooms can become poisonous as a result of extended periods of storage. In such cases, proteins decay and form toxic substances.

Cultivated Mushrooms

The availability of cultivated mushrooms (cultivated button mushrooms, shiitake, oyster mushroom) does not depend on the season of the year. A raw, cultivated mushroom contains very small amounts of agaritine, a poisonous substance. This substance is easily soluble in water, heat-sensitive and disintegrates at about 60°C. As a result, cooked button mushrooms are harmless. Raw button mushrooms should only be consumed in small quantities or not at all, especially not by children.

Marketable Mushrooms

The Austrian Food Code contains a list in Chapter B 27 – Mushrooms and Mushroom Products that lists the mushrooms that are usually placed on the market as edible mushrooms. Edible mushrooms not named on this list may also be placed on the market, if they meet food safety requirements.

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