When the warm season slowly comes to an end and the first leaves turn autumnal, the mushroom friends are back in the woods. From August to October, the mushroom season is in full swing. Collecting mushrooms is not only fun, it's also healthy because of the movement in the fresh air. In order to make sure that the mushrooms taste good at the end of the day, you should be careful when looking - because some mushrooms are highly poisonous.
Mushrooms as food
Mushrooms are healthy. They consist of about 90% water and are therefore extremely low in calories (below 20 kcal per 100 g). They also contain a large amount of vital vitamins and minerals. First and foremost are the B vitamins, which are important for nerves and muscles, and vitamin D, which is good for bone formation.
In addition, valuable fiber is added: they fill you up for a long time and also promote digestion. Furthermore, there is high quality protein in Mushrooms for building muscle.
Fungi were previously assigned to the plants, but today occupy an independent, equivalent rank next to plants and animals. The actual mushroom plant lives underground, hidden in the substrate. It consists of a fine branched thread network - the mycelium - which is located directly under the earth's surface, in tree stumps and in trees.
What we call mushrooms are the fruits of subterranean microorganisms, and like the larger plants, they also ripen in autumn. Every year, when the warm days are over, it is time - the "mushroom search" begins. Each fungal year is different, as the occurrence of each species varies from year to year and even the growth places can change.
Of the over 5,000 known Central European species, only about 150 are identified as toadstools. The green tuber-tree mushroom (Amanita phalloides) is the most dangerous mushroom and responsible for 90% of the poisonings with death sequence. Already 60 grams of fresh mushroom are deadly for an adult. Symptoms of fungal poisoning can be quite different. Some show up after hours, others only after days. Frequent vomiting, diarrhea, fever or severe abdominal pain.
Important: In case of poisoning it is essential to see a doctor immediately!
The mushroom picker
A mushroom picker needs a basket, a knife and a good knowledge of the tasty forest dwellers:
- Best to collect young and solid meat mushrooms. Do not take soaked mushrooms as they are not very durable.
- Picking mushrooms is best done by turning them out of the ground with a slight bend. Only fungi growing on wood are cut off.
- When collecting the mushrooms, the leaf layer and moss cover should not be whirled up or destroyed, so that the mushroom plant is not damaged.
- Mushrooms are best cleaned at the site, then they stay appetizing!
For mushrooms that are intended for consumption, you have to be one hundred percent sure of the kind. If there is even the slightest doubt, keep the mushroom separately and have it determined by mushroom connoisseurs. Not to be advised by strangers, who allegedly know all the mushrooms. This advice can end fatally.
How charged are fungi with pollutants?
Wild mushrooms from the forest can contain heavy metals and / or radioactive radiation. Especially mushrooms near industrial areas or busy roads often contain heavy metals such as lead, mercury or cadmium. Too much cadmium and lead damage the liver and kidneys, mercury affects the nervous system. For healthy people, however, wild mushrooms are tolerated in moderation but harmless.
To be on the safe side, the German Nutrition Society recommends eating no more than 200 to 250 g of wild mushrooms per week. Toddlers, pregnant women and nursing mothers should completely delete them from their diet. In contrast, cultivated mushrooms can be safely consumed because they have the advantage over wild mushrooms of not being exposed to pollutants or radioactive radiation during production. Cultivated mushrooms are usually grown in enclosed areas on special substrates. The burden of heavy metals and other pollutants is therefore extremely low.
Is it allowed to warm mushrooms?
The advice not to reheat mushrooms is in principle outdated. It comes from a time when there were no refrigerators and mushrooms were quickly spoiled. Today you can heat remnants of mushrooms a second time without worry if they were stored in the fridge as soon as possible after the first meal. However, rewarming changes the protein structures in the mushrooms. This can lead to indigestion in sensitive people.