The autumn  or the curious season in which we are currently immersed this 2014

( the veroño ?) Is the ideal time, not exclusive, to enjoy the mushrooms . The fact is that it is precisely at this time when in principle there are a series of optimal conditions for the proliferation of this product with a wide variety of varieties. Thus, mild temperatures not yet especially cold (this year even summery), a growing humidity due to the higher incidence of rainfall (this year little) and a mantle of decaying organic matter from the fallen leaves of the trees propitiates said the multiplication of this kind of curious organisms … that in these conditions grow as what they are, mushrooms.

The truth is that I’m not a special expert in mycology , but read, I’m from Navarre and to a certain extent I carry it in my blood (so that you can get an idea in Navarre, we address affectionate qualifiers towards those from other territories who come to pick mushrooms at our forests, we call them substrates , in reciprocal kindness, for example the people of San Sebastian address us as meaplayas … first of all good neighborhood roll). Well, the fact is that I do not know too much about mushrooms, I know two or three that do not generate any kind of doubts and I like to go out as a family, or alone, in their search and capture when the season arrives. The exits themselves may end well or may end “only” well. I say “only” because the walk through the forest-countryside does not take away from anyone and that today, with that wonderful rhythm of life that characterizes us, the lack of time and stress is already in itself a whole luxury … if you also find edible mushrooms, well, great.

My daughter Adriana who now has 10 years is in school learning the “journalistic style” you know, that of headline, entradilla and development of the news. Here you have his latest work in this sense that illustrates what sometimes happens with the theme of mushrooms.

Caution with mushrooms when they are collected in the field

The fact is that the issue of toxic mushrooms is no nonsense . Every year we witness cases of intoxication at this time due to the ingestion of toxic specimens that sometimes end dramatically with the death of the precipitate or mistaken guest. It is necessary to be prudent and aware of what is being done when going for mushrooms to the mountain and therefore of the risks that are assumed when not done with prudence. For example, in the output reflected in the “news” above we saw mushrooms in cascoporro, but … we did not know if they were edible or not, and that is why they all stayed there . I only took one, of a specific type, so that later in the town someone of confidence would tell me if what I had left on the mountain was edible or not … and they said yes, but that it had little culinary value.

Particularities of mushrooms as a living being

Particularities of mushrooms as a living being

Mushrooms in general have many unique and exclusive characteristics. From the outset they are all framed in the Fungi Kingdom, that is, they are multicellular beings themselves, but neither animals nor vegetables . Being sessile (that is, they are organisms that live fixed to the substrate) a good part of the population includes them within the Kingdom Plantae (vegetable), but it is not like that. They have many biological differences with vegetables but the main one without a doubt is that, having a cell wall like vegetables, it is composed of chitin, instead of cellulose . This is one of the reasons why mushrooms, although they are edible varieties, tend to be unfriendly to digests . Chitin is a carbohydrate that, in addition to fungi, is part of the exoskeleton of insects. As our digestive enzymes are quite inefficient to degrade that chitin (we have little chitinase although its amount seems to be related to the individual’s eating habits and the presence of chitin in the diet) mushrooms are not exactly the food of choice for people with delicate digestions .

Another appreciable difference with plants is the absence of chloroplasts and therefore of chlorophyll at any time of their life cycle … this is better understood knowing that mushrooms, like fungi that are, are heterotrophic organisms , that is, they get so much energy as the materials that require organic compounds from other organisms (unlike plants that are autotrophic organisms since from inorganic substances and solar radiation are able to synthesize their own materials and obtain energy).

Another of its most outstanding characteristics is its life cycle. Mushrooms are reproduced by spores, sexual or not, and the biological cycles of their almost infinite species are full of particularities and amazing creative fantasies within the world of biology (I believe they were done this way to torment the students of this race, attest).

Mushrooms, nutrition and table

Mushrooms, nutrition and table

Beyond the issues of food safety in terms of inedible mushrooms, the world of mushrooms is wonderful. Starting with the gastronomic issues. Depending on the variety the mushrooms lend themselves to practically all the culinary possibilities : griddle, roasted, scrambled, stewed, with rice, pasta, batter … many of them can be dried for later use and of course some of them accept a consumption in raw, without more, if perhaps with some seasoning, type oil and salt. Its peculiar flavor often appreciates the presence of foods that “absorb” those characteristic aromas, I mean as I mentioned rice, pasta, and so on.

In terms of nutritional value highlights its very low energy intake , usually less than 20 kcal / 100g, which will have to take into account its form of preparation . So few calories are due to two basic characteristics : they have a very high relative amount of water a very low proportion of any of the three macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats). In terms of fiber and micronutrients, we say that they usually contain a quantity of fiber to be taken into account (which happens that the standard consumption ration is usually small); on vitamins that provide a discrete amount of those of group B and provitamin D … on minerals, depending on species, mushrooms can be an appreciable source of potassium, phosphorus, iodine … In summary, the nutritional “value” of mushrooms as food is rather scarce, both when it comes to energy, what in our environment could be an element to highlight, as in nutrients, has little of everything and what has more there are often deficiencies in our environment.

In short, it is a doubly interesting product, firstly because of the added value of going to look for each one and, in addition, in the kitchen, they provide a series of characteristics and possibilities that are absolutely genuine … and extremely pleasant for those of us like this product