Mushrooms are one of the most fascinating beings in nature. They are a versatile culinary ingredient, a great source of nutrients, and an important member of many ecosystems. No matter how you feel about these fungi, there is no denying their interesting qualities and uses, especially in the vegan world. Here are six fun facts you didn’t know about mushrooms to pique your curiosity and encourage you to give them a try!
Mushrooms Are More Closely Related to Us Than Plants
Although mushrooms grow out of the ground, they are genetically closer to animals than plants. Their cell makeup has more similarities to animals, as they don’t undergo photosynthesis and they absorb organic nutrients for energy. Don’t worry—they are still vegan-friendly!
Portobello Mushrooms Contain More Potassium Than Bananas
When you think of bananas, you probably think of potassium. However, these yellow fruits aren’t the greatest source of potassium that nature produces! Portobello mushrooms, a meaty and thick species of fungi, contain more potassium than bananas. Consider cooking with these mushrooms to fulfill your daily intake of this important nutrient.
Some Mushrooms Glow in the Dark
While this seems too good to be true, some species of mushrooms are bioluminescent, meaning they glow in the dark. This bizarre natural trait brings an interesting beauty to wilderness and woodsy ecosystems. Bioluminescent fungi include bitter oysters, honey mushrooms, lilac bonnets, and eternal light mushrooms!
Trees Communicate With Each Other Using Mushrooms
When mushrooms are present in forested areas, they create underground root-like passages called the mycorrhizal network that trees use to communicate with other trees. The mycorrhizal network is essentially a mini tunnel system that fungi make in which trees can pass vitamins and nutrients to each other.
You Can Use Mushrooms To Make Leather
Mushroom leather is a vegan favorite, as designers can now use fungi to create organic and environmentally friendly fashion! Oyster mushrooms are the most common mushroom species for making alternative leather, as they produce a strong and durable result for purses, wallets, and shoes.
Mushrooms Produce and Absorb Vitamin D
Fungal consumption offers an abundant natural source of vitamin D. This is an incredibly unique property, as no other produce item contains this nutrient naturally. Additionally, exposure to UV light increases mushrooms’ vitamin D content significantly since they produce vitamin D like humans do. So to get more of this nutrient on your plate, place your mushrooms in the sun after bringing them home from the store!
Impress your friends and family with some of these fun facts you didn’t know about mushrooms. With this newfound knowledge, you are one step closer to being a mycology expert. And for more fun vegan facts, news, and recommendations, stay connected to SoFlo Vegans!