Photographer: Max Straeten
MaxStraeten, (2014), m [ONLINE]. Available at: http://mrg.bz/4063e5 [Accessed 9 August 2016].
The fungi kingdom make up many different types of fungi, some species are poisonous or harmful to consume and some species actually provide us staple food. The fungi kingdom includes mushrooms and other fungi such as yeasts, molds and truffles that we use as food sources. Mushrooms, molds and truffles are all multicellular fungi, meaning that they produce small spores to reproduce. Yeasts are single-cell fungi that reproduce without spores asexually through asymmetric division called budding.
Pas, (2012), q [ONLINE]. Available at: http://mrg.bz/462b87 [Accessed 9 August 2016].
The most familiar types of fungus used for food are mushrooms, they are readily find in food stores and easily gained in nature if you know how to identify the edible mushrooms. The most common edible mushrooms cultivated for human consumption includes the shiitake mushroom, mostly used in China and Japan, as well as the button mushrooms which later matures into portabella mushrooms, cultivated or imported to most countries. Often grouped with vegetables, mushrooms provide many of the nutritional characteristics often found in meat, beans or grains, they provide important nutrients such as vitamin D and lack substances we tend to over use in other food sources such as fat, gluten and sodium.
Not all fungus classified as yeasts are edible, in fact some are associated with nasty infections, but the edible yeasts are amazing bakers and expert bartenders. Bread is recognized as a staple food and it is prepared by mixing flour, water and yeast. Yeast is the component that makes bread rise to give bread its fluffy texture. Bread has been made since the dawn of agriculture and according to the University of Hawaii at Manoa, yeast was first used 5,000 years ago by the Egyptians. The Egyptians first used it to rise bread and later discovered they could make beer from yeast as well.
Some types fungus such as mold are used in the production of cheese for flavoring. For example some cheeses such as Roquefort cheese are produced by allowing green-blue veins of mold to grow inside of the cheese resulting in a distinctive odor, color and flavor.
Truffles a type of fungus sometimes resemble clumps of dirt but they are a subterranean group of edible fungus. Truffles are rare organisms so they are considered as a delicacy in cuisine and can be quite pricey. People train pigs and dogs to sniff out truffles because both animals can smell truffles from great distances.
Other food sources such as soy sauce, Tempeh, Miso, and tofu also gets produces by making use of edible fungi.
Seemann, (2011), ab [ONLINE]. Available at: http://mrg.bz/199e8a [Accessed 9 August 2016]