Did you know there are about 14,000 known varieties of mushrooms? That's a lot of fungus amongus. I read recently that the itt-bitty spores of mushrooms are the hardest naturally-made substance on Earth. They are very durable. In fact, there are actually scientists who think mushroom spores are capable of space travel and that some fungi found on Earth may have originally came from outer space! (I think that if you believe this, you just might be from outer space yourself.)
Americans are relatively light mushroom eaters. On average, we consume 4 lbs./person/year. However ASIAN-Americans eat an average of 9 lbs./person/year. In Asia itself, the Chinese consume an average of 22 lbs./person/year, and in Japan it is a whopping 29 lbs./person/year.
Mushroom farming is picking up speed in the U.S., and wild mushroom foraging is becoming a very popular hobby. See this website if you are interested in foraging. Some people have a business of harvesting wild mushrooms from remote areas they keep secret, then selling those mushrooms to upscale restaurants for large sums of money. Who knew?
We saw many mushroom varieties in Peru that we had either never seen before or seen only in pictures. We didn't have the courage to try eating any of them. It's probably a good thing. Here are a few:
The colors and shapes were wonderful--much more variety than the ones we get in our lawn in California. We were wishing Andrew, our budding mycologist, had been with us to help identify them.
So that's it--the highlights of our Great Peruvian Adventure. It's only taken about two months to process it all on this blog, but now that I'm done, I'm wondering:
WHERE ARE WE GOING NEXT, BOB????