Is there a fungus among-us who doesn’t love when organic material can be turned into another nutritious and tasty food source? There are 2,000 or more kinds of wild mushrooms in Ohio. Some are poisonous, and some are edible and delicious when properly prepared. The production of farm produced mushrooms is on the rise. Community agencies like Brick Gardens support the growth of these tasty sources of B vitamins and Riboflavin.
Dan Katz began growing mushrooms in his home in 2020, during quarantine. He experimented with different substrates, growing methods, equipment, and mushroom varieties. Currently, his grow space is located at the CWC Charter school in Madisonville as a part of the partnership with Brick Gardens. The STEM learning lab allows students to observe the different stages in the growing cycle, experiment, and ask questions. Right now, Dan is currently growing Oyster and Lion's Mane varieties.
According to Ohioline, some edible mushrooms are very similar in appearance to poisonous kinds and may grow in the same habitat. Edible mushrooms are known to be safe to eat because they have been eaten frequently with no ill effects. Poisonous mushrooms are known because someone ate them and became ill or died. There is no test or characteristic to distinguish edible from poisonous mushrooms. This indicates a need to identify with certainty one of several of the proven edible species and pick and eat only those positively identified.
Farmed mushrooms are much easier to identify and safer to eat. Their growing medium and conditions are maintained by professionals. Purchasing your mushrooms from a reputable source is key. Many people also enjoy mushroom hunting, taking a course before engaging in such an activity is important. Learn how to safely hunt for mushrooms from the Ohio Mushroom Society.
Dan reminds us that mushrooms are best stored “in a brown paper bag with a paper towel inside to absorb extra moisture. They will stay fresh for up to a week. Interestingly, mushrooms that are slightly wilted sometimes have a deeper flavor. Never freeze fresh mushrooms, but sautéed mushrooms freeze very well. If I have some, I know I’m not going to use, I give them a quick sauté in butter and pop them in the freezer. Yum!”
· 2 tbsp unsalted butter
· ½ tbsp vegetable or olive oil
· 10 oz mushrooms
· 1 tsp salt
· 2 cloves garlic
· ½ cup chicken or vegetable broth
· 1 cup thickened cream
· ½ cup parmesan cheese
· Herbs and spices to taste
1. Heat oil and melt butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until golden brown.
2. Add garlic and salt. Cook until the garlic is golden in color.
3. Add broth, cream and cheese. Stir then lower heat to medium so the sauce is simmering.
4. Stir occasionally.
5. Add herbs and spices as desired.
6. Serve over chicken, pasta, potatoes, or freeze for later use.