I like the idea of eating mushrooms, but never do. I remember as a small child going with my grand mother, through the mountain pine forests of the TYROL in Austria picking mushrooms. She used to keep me entertained with stories of fairy rings, elves and such. What I remember is someone telling me there were bad and good mushrooms and since I have never learned to tell the difference, avoid all mushrooms. That said; Belize has a lot of edible mushrooms and our local expert is Dr. Alessandro Mascia, BMBS, CHEd. Their farm is down in the Southern Toledo District. This quarterly booklet of the AG REPORT in Belize the article is about the Paddy Straw Mushroom. I´d like to see a colored mushroom technical book, on MUSHROOMS OF BELIZE.

In this recent issue of the AG REPORT quarterly, the PADDY STRAW MUSHROOM, is an eating mainstay of the FAR EAST. Particularly, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Taiwan and China. Yet the mushroom grows here in Belize wild, also. The scientific name is VOLVAREILA VOLVACEA.

Not at all sure, where there would be a commercial market for export for such a mushroom. Hints were given how to grow it. It is a very good secondary crop, for rice farmers, as they have the necessary straw. Chocolate waste also comes up as a good place to grow the mushroom. The cap of this mushroom is smoky brown. This mushroom is harvested when the cap is still egg shaped. Before the universal veil breaks. Now to me this is currently gibberish, but sounds technically interesting. Apparently at this point in time in the growth of this mushroom, this is when the flavor and commercial market potential is best. For nutrition this mushroom is rich in vitamis B and C and contains an assortment of amino acids. Usually, it is sliced thin in Asian countries and stir fried in a WOK, as a condiment to put in soups Apparently there are tricks for cooks using this wild mushroom here in Belize. You can inject SOY sauce with a syringe into the EGG portion of the mushroom, and bake it in a foil inside an oven at 375 Farenheight for 30 to 45 minutes. Apparently it has a beautiful strong flavor.
Unfortunately, the old portable light metal kerosene burner stoves, that used to be sold in the hardware stores of Belize, are no longer imported and at our house, we are unable to do any oven type cooking, because we use a two burner BUTANE gas stove and can´t find a small portable oven to set on top. I love pies, but without an oven, we are stuck with more simple meals.

Western Belize Happenings