*This post is sponsored by REWE.
Have you ever thought about where mushrooms come from? I recently had the pleasure to visit a local mushroom producer from REWE*, and he showed me the whole process of modern mushroom production.
First things first, the mushrooms that you find in the supermarket have never seen a forest in their lifetime. It’s an industrial process that allows mushroom producer to meet the demand of the consumers. Only few of us still have the time or the knowledge to pick mushrooms on the forest, hence, mushroom producers like Dohme in Lower Saxony enable us to eat mushrooms whenever we want to.
REWE Regional Ambassador – a matter of my heart
Eating locally grown food is a matter of my heart. I’m not saying that I’m perfect – heaven forbid – but since I work with and like to eat food a lot, I want to know where my food comes from. That’s why I love the REWE campaign that aims to make our locally grown food more transparent. You might have seen the portraits of local farmers in your REWE market, or you may have noticed the yellow REWE Regional logo that labels all locally grown products. I think it’s a great initiative that I absolutely support.
As a REWE ambassador, I get to visit local farmers this year and learn how they grow their crop. Even though I grew up on the countryside, these visits are always so interesting to me, because there is so much that I do not know about local agriculture. Last time I visited a strawberry farm, and this time, I learned all about the production of mushrooms.
The four phases of mushroom production
Growing mushrooms is not as easy as it may seem. A lot has to do with the right temperature, the right resources and lots of space. The first phase of mushroom production is the mixture of water, hay, and horse dung. Together they undergo a process that creates heat and steam, and eventually turns into a substrate that is rich in nutrients, a breeding ground for mushrooms. In the big halls that you see on the picture, the mixture has to be moved from left to right constantly to ensure the best results. In the second phase, the breeding ground has to be freed from unwanted bacteria. This happens with heat, similar to pasteurization. During the third phase, the mushroom spores are seeded so they can grow through the breeding ground. The whole process takes roughly 8 weeks before the mushrooms can be harvested. At Dohme, this happens by human hand – every single mushroom!
Mushroom production and sustainability
Before visiting the mushroom production, I was sceptical about industrial agriculture and sustainability. Though I am not an expert at sustainable agriculture, I leaned that the mushroom production is more sustainable than I thought. First of all, Dohme uses no chemicals for their work. Mushrooms only grow on dead organic material of horse dung, water and hay, which makes a substrate that resembles forest grounds – no chemicals necessary. They also use bio gas for heating and cooling, and photovoltaic for parts of their energy needs. Dohme is also working on new packagings for the mushrooms to eliminate plastic use. It may not be perfectly sustainable yet, but it’s definitely a beginning.
Mushrooms and their amazing health benefits
The healing powers of mushrooms have been known to our ancestors for hundreds of years. Especially in the Chinese medicine, it is common to use mushrooms for treating illnesses. Even if you do not use mushrooms for medical purposes, they contain lots of nutrients such as proteins, and also micronutrients such as potassium, and even iron. Yet another reason to enjoy mushrooms on a regular basis, don’t you think?
I hope that I was able to give you a quick overview of how mushrooms are grown and harvested. It’s so interesting to learn about how our food ends up on our table, don’t you agree? By the way, I wanted to end this post with a quick “did you know…?”. Did you know that you shouldn’t wash mushrooms? If you want, you can brush them lightly, but washing them will decrease their flavor. Now you know how to properly prepare mushrooms.
If you live in Germany and grocery shop at REWE, then you will now know where your mushrooms come from. It’ll make for a good story at the dinner table, believe me.
Of course I also brought you a new and super easy recipe along with all this information about mushrooms. It’s such an easy weekday dish, and it’s just waiting for you to give it a try.
- 1 cup of millet
- 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
- 500g of mushrooms
- 1-2 tablespoons of Ghee or coconut oil
- ½ cup of frozen peas
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 small piece of fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons of cashew butter
- 2 tablespoons of tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of raw honey
- ½ lemon
- Half a bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
- Cover the millet with water, add the vinegar and let soak for 6 hours. If you don't have 6 hours, then soak it for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Drain the millet, add 600ml of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, place the lid on the pot and let it simmer for about 12 - 14 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for another 10 minutes with the lid on.
- Slice the mushrooms. Finely shop the garlic and ginger. Heat the Ghee in a saucepan and sauté the garlic and ginger until golden brown and fragrant. Add the mushrooms and cook until they start to lose their water. Now add the frozen peas and cook for about 2 more minutes until the peas are done.
- Finally, add the millet and all ingredients for the sauce and mix well. Let it simmer over medium heat for another 2 minutes or so until it's warm enough to eat.
- Season with tamari and/or lemon juice and sprinkle with chopped the parsley.
*This post is sponsored by REWE. All opinions are my own, always. Thank you for supporting the brands that support my daily recipe testing sessions.