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DufferinShroomer

Asian mushrooms

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When the Chernoyl nuclear disaster happened there were high radiation levels for hundreds of miles around and folks discovered that mushrooms were particularly adept at concentrating radiation in fruiting bodies. My understanding is that wild mushrooms picked in places like Lithuania and Finland can still exhibit dangerous levels of radiation. For those of us who have been known to buy dried asian mushrooms we might want to keep a close eye on what is happening in Japan. I think an area can be declared safe for living but unsafe for eating some of the things that grow in even mildly contaminated soil if they are known to concentrate radiation. I wonder if the Japanese problems will create increased demand for North Amwerican mushrooms.

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Successfully whacked. It's not often that we think about that type of contamination in mushrooms, but it is now a concern as you've said. Lucky for me the only dried mushrooms I eat are the ones I pick.

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I remember that after the disaster in Chernobyl, the tea leaves produced in the north of Turkey were reported to be contaminated in high levels and the exportation of tea had stopped for a long time. However, the politicians did not take the matter much seriously and tried to persuade people that the situation was being exaggerated and that drinking tea was safe. Furthermore, one of the ministers appeared on TV and assured people by drinking a cup of tea that there was no danger at all. About a decade after the event, the number of the people who died of cancer dramatically increased.

It's essential to be cautious for that matter, I say.

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That's a real good point Duff, thanks for bringing that up. I, like Evan, only eat the dried mushrooms I've picked myself and do not buy dried mushrooms but not everyone has that luxury. It's a good reason to get started though!

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I routinely use dried Shiitake, and less often, dried Tree Ear (Auricularia). Thanks for the heads up! Now's a good time to stash away a few year's worth.

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I routinely use dried Shiitake, and less often, dried Tree Ear (Auricularia). Thanks for the heads up! Now's a good time to stash away a few year's worth.

Take this with a grain of salt, since I have not tried to verify it -- The mushroom guy at my local farmer's market told me that pretty much all of the dried gourmet mushrooms you find at places like Whole Foods come from China. I'm talking about Porcini, black trumpet, even morels. I'm not sure if Shitake would even be a problem because they're grown commercially rather than gathered in the wild.

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I have a couple local connections for fresh shitake so it won't be an issue anyway. Here's a smiley from Harmony. :penguin:

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Very good point...

here a little article on nuclear accident and food contamination:

http://elements.healthspace.com/?p=255

http://elements.healthspace.com/?p=540

and a little pamphlet from Finland on how to reduce radioactive cesium in mushrooms:

http://www.evira.fi/uploads/WebShopFiles/1219147520340.pdf

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Jeebus, those articles are scary. Pickled, salted and other mushroom products produced in Poland and the Ukraine are fairly common here. I have always thought "nah, no one would knowingly sell radioactive mushrooms" but at the same time I couldnt bring myself to buy any of the product just in case. When I see articles about radioactive mushrooms being sold in Europe in markets it makes me wonder just how low people will sink to make a buck. China is well known for shipping toxins and calling it food.

Foraging for mushrooms is part of the culture in many countries (Finland included) and it must be a real blow to the people there when they learn the mushrooms can be radioactive. I doubt that I would be content with just boiling mushrooms to remove up to 70% of the cesium. I think that just the thought that 30% of the cesium was still there would ruin dinner. One of the things that gets me a bit nervous is that you can never know the source of some of the ingredients in packaged food. Even something like a can of mushroom gravy might be made with low bid imported mushrooms and you just never know what you are eating.

Thanks Guill for posting the articles.

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Yes, it's nice to be able to forage your own so you don't have to buy any. Although I wasn't doing so well with Spring porcini last year, so I bought a big bag of dried ones from the farmers' market guy. He made me an offer I couldn't turn down; thirty bucks for what turned out to be about 1.25 lbs of dried locally foraged porcini (a gallon sized freezer bag full). I'm still not done eating them.

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