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Bhaderwahi Wild Mushroom ( Thuntoo )

Morels and benefits.

by Ashok Raina
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Bhaderwah is famous for its natural beauty, beans ( rajma ), and many other things. Amongst these, Bhaderwahi Gucchi ( Morels ) is also very famous. The elite delicacy, which cannot be grown or cultivated. It naturally grows in the forested areas of Jammu & Kashmir, especially in District Doda. It is used in manufacturing various medicines and is an elite dish in European countries. Its nutritional value is unmatched.

Nutritional Value

It is rich in potassium, vitamins, copper, and many vitamins belonging to the vitamin B family. Vitamin D is also present in it in plenty. It is a good source of antioxidants which help in removing free radicals from our body.

Preventive Uses

The antioxidants in gucchi/morels help prevent diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Its consumption helps in removing free oxygen species that harm the body.

Method Of Collection

It is collected by the local people from the forested areas. The local people or farmers handpick it. They use traditional techniques to collect it, clean it, slice it, and finally dry it before preserving it to maintain its natural flavor and aroma.

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Cost Of Dried Mushroom

The dried wild mushroom of Bhaderwah is the costliest mushroom in the world. It costs nearly Rs 35,000 per kilogram.

Culinary Uses Of Morels

Because of its flavor and aroma, it is used in various cuisines for preparing various dishes like chicken, beef, fish, etc. It can also be simply fried and eaten with sauces.

Methods Of Preserving It

First of all, it is plucked technically, then washed with lukewarm water, then sliced, and kept in a deep freezer till needed. Some people prefer to dry it using the sun drying method and then store it in air-tight containers. Don’t forget to soak it in hot water for at least 30 minutes before cooking its dried form.

Nutritional/Medicinal Benefits

1. It is rich in potassium, vitamins, and copper.

2. Vitamin D is found in plenty.

3. It has various forms of vitamins belonging to the family of vitamin B.

4. It is rich in antioxidants.

5. It is useful in preventing heart diseases.

6. Antioxidants present in it help in removing reactive oxygen/free radicals from our blood.

About Its Production

It is mainly found in the conifer forests across temperate regions. Report of scientists and environmentalists have been warning about the decline in the production of this natural wonder.

Reasons For Its Decline

Scientists believe that unscientific plucking is the main reason behind the decline in the production of this natural gift of God.

Use In Kitchen

People who have tasted the unique taste of morels use it according to their taste. The people who are crazy about it, demand even a spoonful of this commodity in their plates. It can be cooked with any vegetarian or non-vegetarian food to enhance the taste of the dish.

Source Of Income

Over the years it has been a good source of income for the people living in the villages of Jammu & Kashmir. The state forest department also earns royalty over it by leasing out the forest ranges to private contractors.

Risk Factor

It needs a lot of experience to distinguish gucchi from other wild poisonous types. Some types of gucchi may prove dangerous to your health.

Exported Item

Most of the gucchi collected by the people is exported to the European countries. People who collect gucchi very rarely taste it. They prefer to sell it instead of tasting it. They don’t dare to lose money for the sake of taste only. Consuming it is considered an excellent and elite food item in elite societies.

Need Of The Hour

The need of the hour is to document and refine the traditional plucking methods for the gucchi collectors so that our coming generations may also taste it.

FAQ’S

Is there any way of growing gucchi commercially?

Gucchi/wild mushrooms/morels can’t be grown commercially. It grows naturally in the forested areas of Jammu and Kashmir. It requires certain environmental conditions which we can’t provide artificially to grow it.

Why gucchi is so costly?

As gucchi can’t be grown because it needs specific ecological conditions. Its scarcity contributes to its high price. It needs a lot of hard work to collect and preserve it. Low production, high demand, and its medicinal benefits also make it costly.

What is the cost of 1 kg gucchi?

It varies every year, depending on the production. On average, it costs nearly Rs 35,000 per Kg.

What is the scientific name of gucchi/morels?

Morchella Esculenta is the scientific name of morels.

Which mushrooms deserve a spot on your plate?

* Maitake

* Oyster

* Enoki

* Beech

* Portobello

* Royal trumpet

* Chanterelle

* Morale

Hope you will enjoy reading this article. Stay connected to read such articles in the future. Till then Bye! God bless you.

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