Vegie on View – Mushrooms

Mushrooms for kids
Fungi are fascinating for kids
This week’s ‘Vegie’ on View are mushrooms however they aren’t really a vegie at all – they are a type of fungus. These fascinating fungi are perfect for kids – they don’t require a garden, they grow in the dark and can even be grown in cupboards! Here are some other fun facts about the humble mushroom:

  1. Mushrooms like to grow in damp, dark environments and often appear to ‘pop’ up overnight
  2. They grow from spores not seeds. These spores come from inside the cap of the mushroom
  3. They do not have leaves to synthesise energy and rely on decaying organic matter (e.g. compost and manure) to help them grow
  4. White mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) are the most commonly grown and eaten mushroom in the world. Other popular mushroom varieties include Swiss Brown, Shitake and Oyster
  5. Shitake mushrooms are very popular in Japan, China and South Korea
  6. Oyster mushrooms are very popular in China
  7. Mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years
  8. Mushrooms are very high in B vitamins particularly vitamin B2 and B3. They are also a good source of protein and fibre
  9. Mushrooms can be an acquired taste for some kids. Add them to pizzas or pasta recipes as a way to encourage children to eat them. They also taste delicious in scrambled eggs and salads
  10. Mushrooms have been eaten by humans for a very very long time. Records show that the Romans ate them and Egyptian Pharaohs declared that they could only be eaten by royalty
  11. Some wild mushrooms can be poisonous so never pick and eat them unless you can identify exactly what they are

Mushrooms are great for kids to grow all year round, are fantastic for children who may not have access to an outdoor garden and are a perfect way to demonstrate the wonders of fungi!