Tuesday, 20 November 2012


Magic of mushrooms

The other day I looked out into the garden to find it had been transformed into a fairy grotto over night. Rings of mushrooms had grown covering the lawn and there was a trail in the woods near the house.

It still amazes me that they just appear and then disappear so mysteriously. When I first saw them last year I got very excited hoping they would be edible and that I could make risotto and omelettes with them, however after some research I didn’t feel so confident. The conclusions weren’t clear, there were warnings of possible stomach upsets, and worse so I just admired them from afar and bought some safe ones.

Mushrooms in the wood

Historically mushrooms have always been seen as having healing powers, being credited with boosting the immune system.

More recent research by Douglas Schar, DipPhyt, MCPP, MNIMH, director of the Institute of Herbal Medicine in Washington, DC.


has proved that mushrooms increase the production and activity of white blood cells, which is great when you have an infection. Something that is close to my heart at the moment as Teen V is still suffering from Glandular Fever and totally lacking in energy.

On a recent trip to Paris I couldn’t help noticing the wide range of different mushrooms on display in the market. While we have a few varieties of the same thing they have a real diverse range of mushrooms readily available.

Mushrooms in a French Market.

Cepe's in French market

Not only do the shops have a broader range of varieties available but the local pharmacies have charts with all the varieties in the region and can tell you if they are edible or not. Something we could learn from.

This summer I heard a terrible story of a family gathering and eating mushrooms that they weren’t sure about, each person assuming that one of the others in the group was the expert and they were all critically ill as a result.

 It’s fine if you know that they’re safe but if there is a glimmer of doubt, leave them alone.


The best immune boosters seem to be shiitake, maitake and reishi mushrooms.

With that in mind I have been adding them discreetly to everything; the pasta sauce, the pizzas and the nut roast at the weekend.

Mushrooms in English market

So whatever you are cooking, if you want to beat the winter bugs, add a ¼ of an ounce of mushrooms and keep healthy.

Large Field mushrooms

 Let’s hope they work their magic.

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