Mushrooms are a much loved dish on the dining table. Not all types of mushrooms are edible and some of them are highly poisonous. Edible mushrooms are rich with nutrients and medicinal powers. It also has high fiber content. Kerala cuisine has not given a great place for mushrooms, but it is a common item in the food of tribal people.
Common mushroom varieties cultivated in Kerala are oyster mushroom, shiitake mushroom, enokitake mushroom, maitake mushroom etc. Among them, oyster mushrooms are most suitable for the climate in Kerala.
About 30 percent of the total mushrooms cultivated in the world are oyster mushrooms. There are four varieties of oyster mushrooms – grey, white, pink and golden.
Major grey oyster mushroom varieties:
Among them, sajor-caju is widely cultivated in India. Since it is rather dull in color, it has less demand in market but can be farmed for household uses.
Djamor variety also give good profit as it produces about 2 kg mushrooms on a single bed. It is featured with light grey color and fleshy and hard cap.
Ostreatus can be cultivated in places like Wayanad, Ooty and Idukki that has cold weather. It is more popular in European countries. Tuber-regium and eryngii are other mushroom varieties farmed in Europe.
Mushrooms for farming
Hay, sawdust, plantain fiber and coconut husk are used as the medium for mushroom cultivation. The mushrooms that are cultivated in Kerala on an industrial scale are Co2 (Hipsizygus ulmarius), Florida, and Pleurotus opuntiae.
Co2 was developed by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. It belongs to white mushroom category. It is white when young and becomes large, thick and heavy when fully grows. So, it is the favorite of mushroom farmers.
Florida is a white mushroom and is best for cultivating on an industrial scale. White color, softness, fleshiness, large size and weight are its major features. It grows well in both hay bed and sawdust bed. About 1 kg can be harvested from hay bed and 2 kg from sawdust bed.
Though mushrooms are nutritious and delicious at the same time, we have to be extra careful while choosing the different varieties of mushrooms as some poisonous types can even kill us if consumed.