Fun with fungi
It’s the biggest organism on the planet, essential for plant health and is used to brew beer and make medicines. It’s also delicious on toast. It’s fungi.
While we enjoy the peak season for mushroom foraging in woodlands and field margins, scientists, artists and culinary experts are coming together to give families a flavour of what makes fungi so special.
The first UK Fungus Day is to be celebrated on Sunday 13th October with 30 events including one in Norfolk at the John Innes Centre from 10am to 4pm.
This is a free event for families with hands-on art activities, a story-teller, mushroom-themed-cookery demonstrations with the WI, a fungal foray walk, insights into local mushroom farms and beer tasting for parents and guardians.
“Fungi help deliver water and nutrients to plants and are essential to life as well as being the cause of diseases such as ash dieback and bee infections,” said Dr Jenni Rant from the John Innes Centre who runs the SAW (science, art and writing) Trust.
“In the wood where ash dieback was first discovered, our scientists also identified over 400 beneficial species of fungi.”
The SAW Trust is working with volunteers from the John Innes Centre, The Sainsbury Laboratory, the Institute of Food Research, University of East Anglia and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital to explore the science and biodiversity of fungi. Mushrooms will be supplied by Waveney Mushrooms.
The aim of the event is to raise the profile of fungi and fungal research throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland.
UK Fungus Day is sponsored by The British Mycological Society in partnership with the Society of Biology ‘Biology Week’. It is supported by The National Botanic Garden of Wales, The Association of British Fungus Groups and G’s Fresh Mushrooms.
Mushroom pate/dip by Frances Mobbs of the WI
1 tbsp Yare Valley Rapeseed Oil
1 red onion, halved, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
300g mushrooms, chopped
125g cream cheese, at room temperature
Small bunch chopped fresh parsley
Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and set aside for 10 minutes to cool.
Transfer mixture to the bowl of a food processor. Add cream cheese and parsley and process until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Spread on toast or crackers or dip something in!