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FUNGUS

The world's largest and oldest living organism is a 38 acre fungus believed to be somewhere between 1,500 and 10,000 years old.  It is located in an Iron County, Michigan forest near the Wisconsin border. Its is a species of Armillaria bulbosa, and the above ground mushrooms it produces are commonly called 'honey mushrooms.'   Armillaria bulbosa is a very common species, and can be found in hardwood forests in North America, Europe and Japan.  A 'Humungus Fungus' festival is held each year in nearby Crystall Falls, Michigan.

Noble rot refers to the parasitic fungus (mold), Botrytis cinerea,  that develops on grapes under certain conditions. The mold forms on the skin of the grapes causing the grapes to shrivel, reducing moisture content and thereby concentrating the sugar and flavor of the grapes. French Sauternes, German Beerenauslese and Hungarian Tokay are produced from such grapes.

Corn smut is a black, bulbous fungus which causes corn kernels to swell to many times their size. The Aztecs considered it a delicacy, and it is still prized in Mexican cuisine. Also known as Mexican truffle, huitlacoche, cuitlacoche, and maize mushroom. It can be found in gourmet markets fresh, canned and frozen. It has a sweet, smoky flavor.

Ergot (Claviceps purpea) is a fungus that affects rye and sometimes other grains. Ergot contains lysergic acid, the active principle of the psychedelic drug LSD.

Mushrooms are a fungus found all over the world and have been a very honored food in many cultures. Ancient Egyptians considered mushrooms to be food for the royals. The French adored the fungus and began harvesting them in caves during the seventeenth century. These famous fungi didn't reach popularity in the United States until the late 1800s."

 

 

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