Mushroom farming in South Africa focuses mainly on the production of button and brown mushrooms.
Edible, medicinal and wild mushrooms are the three groups of mushrooms that make up the global mushroom industry. While edible mushrooms such as the white button and brown mushrooms are well-known on the modern South African menu, exotic mushrooms such as oyster and shiitake are gaining in popularity.
This series of articles gives an overview of commercial mainstream mushroom production in South Africa, as well as the uses and benefits of edible commercial mushrooms. It also briefly looks at exotic and foraged mushrooms. The medicinal and cultural uses of mushrooms is a vast and interesting field, but it is not covered in this series.
By Marinda Louw
Mushrooms are economical and healthy and its addition to dishes such as omelettes and stews will add flavour and nutritional value to a diet....more
Mushrooms are grown in large indoor facilities where the level of carbon dioxide, humidity and temperature are carefully controlled....more
Good quality compost is integral to the growing cycle of mushrooms and has to have the right ingredients and treated optimally from the beginning....more
Mushrooms are a nutritious food source that can be used as a meat replacement and it has many health and medicinal benefits. In addition, after mushroom production, the used substrate (mushroom compost)...more
The most common way to eat mushrooms is either raw in salads or cooked in butter, oil or ghee.
Mushrooms may also be dried, canned, powdered and be processed into crisps, ready-made sauces and soups....more
Cultivating truffles depends on the technology available to inoculate host trees with spores of the truffle fungus, which occurs under tightly controlled conditions....more
Truffles are the fruiting bodies of underground mycorrhizal fungi found near the roots of specific trees, such as oak, poplar and pine trees....more
There are hundreds of cultivated mushroom strains (more than 50 species) that are internationally available but South African mushroom production only focus on a few strains to supply a relatively conservative consumer base....more