Archive for May, 2012

Mushroom growers handbook 1 -preface


I have started doing a review of the Mushroom growers handbook with particular focus of helping people in Zimbabwe to start mushroom growing businesses, enhance current growersand also to help the whole populace to have knowledge of mushrooms. This handbook is a must have for all growers,and all thinking of growing mushrooms. The book is not so scientific its written in a way that everyone can understand.

i will upload all chapters together with a review, this will take time but it is my hope that it will benefit you in your endevours to grow mushrooms.

you can also follow us on or on

Mushroom growers handbook-oystermushroom cultivation -Preface

Four people died after eating poisonous mushrooms in zvishavane,Zimbabwe.


The herald of 21 February reported of how four people from one family died after eating poisonous mushrooms. What a sad thing to happen. I have in the past wrote on poisonous mushrooms especially in the Zimbabnwean context. Many myths exist in Zimbabwe on poisonous mushroom.

I read the news item with grief and sorrow and as an expert in the mushroom industry I was moved to write about it. My task became easy when I saw comments that followed the news item. Where Zimbabweans spoke their hearts out, despite emotions flaring some managed to bring out facts that we all need to heed to.

Below are some of the comments made, comments are indicated by capital letter c (C) while my response to the comment is indicated by an (R). its my longest blog post but I feel I had to cover this once and for all.

I left out some comments that didn’t have much to do with mushrooms, some quoted the bible in comforting the bereaved family and others blamed politicians for the tragedy. I hope my comments will help all Zimbabweans in a positive way.

As an expert in the mushroom industry in Zimbabwe I do not have bias towards certain mushrooms but the fact is wild mushroom hunting should be for experts by experts I mean those who have received the knowledge from someone and has been gathering mushrooms in the wild for many years? The expertise does not come by studying a degree but is gained in the forests.havingh said that even experts are poisoned.

C1. Experienced mushroom gatherers are sometimes poisoned by eating poisonous species,

R1. I can’t say much but agree to this commentator.

C2. they should have first given it to dogs before eating to see if the dogs survived

R2 This is one of the oldest myths in Zimbabwe and has also been made popular by a story in a primary school book which most Zimbabweans have read including me. This is cruelty to animals and must be discouraged, however the myth has a grain of truth. If you give poisonous mushrooms to a dog it may indeed die. But its also important to realize that the dog may not die immediately or later on or it may never die. Its also true for humans that they may die in a short space of time, later on or never die after eating poisonous mushrooms. Let me also say poisonous mushrooms differ in the level of toxins and also age of the people eating the mushrooms has an effect, quantity eaten is also a factor. In the same manner a dogs age may be a factor, what if the dog vomits and you don’t see it, what if the dog had eaten something that neutralize the poison or will eat something later that neutralizes the poison,I can go on and on but the truth of the matter is in the forests there are poisonouis and non poisonous ones so if you want to eat wild mushrooms you need to positively identify the mushrooms.

C3. howa hunouraya kazhinji hunowanikwa pamagumtrees. (poisonous mushroom are mainly found under gum trees)

R3. This is a popular myth that I have explained and I am never believed by most, I think every Zimbabwean knows this myth. The fact is there are poisonous as well as no poisonous mushrooms. Where a mushroom grows is non consequencial. I am a mushroom grower in Harare,Zimbabwe and everytime I do direct sales I am asked “are you not growing these under gum trees”. The gum tree has nothing to do with changing a mushroom to be poisonous, just identify the mushrooms positively. Having said that my suspicion is there is a poisonous mushroom that has a symbiotic relationship with gum trees. Apparently gum tree sawdust is used to grow mushrooms throughouit the world. Its just a popular myth. A search on google will not give you a result except for this post, that leaves me to conclude that this is a myth that is localized to Zimbabwe. I am not a passionate mushroom hunter but I have several handbooks on mushrooms and I have never come across a warning on not taking mushrooms under gum trees and I know it’s a myth.

C4. why cant the government do some outreach programe to inform people on the types of mushroom that are poisonous and the ones which are not poisonous .this is the second time a family has died with the same predicament.

R4. The government can do something about this, though I think it will be an expensive project that might not even achieve much. However let me say the deaths caused by poisonous mushrooms is so little to warranty such a move. The cost of doing so might be too high, when people will still hunt for wild mushrooms, the above comment that even experienced hunters get poisoned is also important. But that does not stop the government from doing something. I think its equivalent to say government must do something to reduce snake bites, its something that will continue to happen always. Whilst our government is failling in many things let us be careful to blame the government for all things like one comentator accused the president for the deaths. Before I get into politics we are all responsible to educate others on this.

C5. Some people are not caring and supporting their parents to the extent of an old woman eating poisonous mushrooms.

R5. Those who eat wild mushrooms eat for various reasons, I just love mushrooms that’s all even if I had all the food I will go mushrom hunting or go mushroom shopping for the types I don’t grow.

C6. Firstly it is wrong to assume that eating mushrooms is due to poverty. I eat mushrooms a lot because I like them but I would not call myself poor. Secondly this 65 year old women is more experienced in mushroom matters than any person I can think of so this is just a tragedy. Maybe tuzukuru twakatemawo tumwe tuhowa tukawedzera (maybe the grandcildren added some poisonous types)

R6. I can’t say much here this is one of the best comment I saw. Children must not be allowed to go mushroom hunting, however going with them helps preserve the knowledge on mushroom but care must be taken as children love to experiment.

C7. I would like to add these precautionary advice to all who gather and eat mushroom. Stale mushroom is not good for food. Mushroom which grows under gumtrees is a clear NO for eating as it is 100% poisonous Mushroom in water logged areas is a no again for consumption Pick or eat mushroom with known names and which if you give your domestic animal”dog” SPCA forgive me here it can eat without frowning twice. Mushroom which when dusted show dust particles or show foreign clouds emitted from its head is poisonous.

R7. This is comment is loaded with myths and lies from beginning to end. Before I go further some of the poisonous mushrooms are really delicious no wonder people enjoy the meal but later on die. The dog has come again, please save our dogs, a dog is likely to eat any mushroom that has been cooked irrespective its posonous or not. “Frowning dog” that’s a lie.Water logged area that does not change a mushroom in any way. All mushrooms release spores, spores are what the comentator refered to as dust. Spores come out under the gills and that is how mushrooms propagate. Not all mushrooms have gills some don’t like puffballs which release dust when they dry up. The gum tree myths is also refered to in this comment. After all is said the fact remains in the wild there are poisonous and non poisonous mushrooms, all we need do is identify which is which. A non poisonous mushroom remains so even if stale, however one would be discouraged from eating stale food definately.

C8. Poisonous mushrooms are not only found on gumtrees alone but are found on most trees that are not indigenous. Poisonous mushrooms usually exude milky looking substance when pricked or cut. House flies do not stay on them chere makonye uye kiti ne imbwa (cats and dogs) also stay away from them. In your rural areas or around your fields there are anthills or places u know u will fetch mushrooms at particular times of the year. Try to stick to those places. When you are not sure rather do not eat or eat home grown mushrooms or ones from reputable shops. Lastly when tragidies like this do not blame the government, family members or va Mugabe. Vamwe mozourayane muchipumhana uroyi accident i accident inoitikara.Ndapedza.

R8. This one made me laugh its loaded with humorous lies esp from a mushroom scientist’s point of view. For starters mushrooms are found all over the world and poisonous mushrooms are found close to all trees accross the globe.

In Zimbabwe some of the tastiest mushrooms are found under exotic trees like the boletus edulis (dindindi) which is also found under indegenous trees. Flies,insects can be found on any mushroom poisonous/non poisonous and the fact that flies,insects or other animals eat a mushroom does not make it non-poisonous because our digestion systems differ having said that its also true that there are some poisonous mushrooms that flies would not dare.
read herald full story here

Shiitake mushrooms now available in Zimbabwe, a wonderfull gourmet and medicinal mushroom.


I have good news for all Zimbabweans, Mushtella is introducing two medicinal mushrooms for your enjoyment as food as well as boosting your immune system. Today I will talk about shiitake mushroom.

This mushroom has been used for centuries as medicine in China however research has been done on the mushroom and more research continues to be done throughout the world.

This is not only good for consumers but also to growers who can now add variety to their existing types and get high prices on this medicinal mushroom. Besides being medicinal this mushroom is also excelent in its nutritional value. More on its nutritional benefits in future posts. Shiitake is very popular in Traditional Chineese Medicine (TCM), where you can have it fresh,dried,powdered and the invention of modern technology has led to the extraction of the medicinal material and is made into capsules and other forms of medicine.

Addition of shiitake to a daily diet is highly recommended to mantain good nutrition, to boost the immune system and to prevent various diseases. Some of the known medicinal benefits are :

*cholestorol reducer
*liver-protective action
*kidney tonic
*immune enhancer
*blood sugar moderator
*blood pressure
These benefits are from recent research and its traditional use as TCM

For more information on shiitake mushrooms follow the links below

link 1, link 2

The information presented herein by Mushtella is intended for educational purposes. These statements are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

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Food revolution day: The role of mushrooms in ones health and its cholesterol reducing properties.


As I join others in the world on this day: Food revolution day. I would like to call upon all Zimbabweans to pay atention to what they eat. I would also like to encourage people to know their health status all the time last but not least physical activity is crucial to ones health.

As a mushroom farmer I am happy to play my role in building a health society in my small way.

Mushrooms are rich in the non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) chitin and beta-gluten. Recent research demonstrates that these NSP, or dietary fibre, can help to reduce blood cholesterol and protect against heart disease.

Let’s fight obesity and we will reduce diseases associated with it, mushrooms do not have fat and yet they are rich in protein,vitamins and minerals.

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Simple ways to cook mushrooms as relish with Sadza (Zimbabwe’s staple)


I have many people asking how they can cook mushrooms. And sometimes clients say they are not buying mushrooms till they buy rice and my question to them is what has rice to do with the mushrooms. I am now working on recipes but I wil keep them simple.

One can have mushrooms and sadza,rice or any staple food. You can have mushrooms at breakfast or just mushrooms alone.

Mushroom & Sadza:

I am not going to give recipes now but just tips on how to cook your mushrooms so you can enjoy them with sadza. There are several types of mushrooms and the way we prepare them must differ too. We are a specialty mushroom company and as such I will focus on specialty mushrooms. I haven’t experimented with button as a relish for sadza but I will work on it and come back to you.

Oyster mushroom: this is one specialty mushroom that you can easily get in Zimbabwe. Before cooking don’t wash them as they will absorb too mush water. Mushrooms have enough water such that you may not need to add water during cooking.

Oyster Mushrooms are so versatile and you can have them as you do vegies to your meat or they can be just as the main relish. Prepare in any way you prepare your other relishes only that don’t overcook them. They will loose flavour. Oyster mushrooms does well in stir fry. Don’t add too many ingredients or you will loose the flavour.

oyster mushrooms also does well with peanut butter. Just prepare as you prepare other peanut butter dishes. Some who have cooked wild mushrooms ask how to cook the cultivated ones,if you have cooked wild mushrooms then you can also cook the cultivated ones.

There are some exotic recipes on our website
more recipes

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Poisonous mushrooms: “is this not grown under gum trees”?


This is a subject that keeps coming everytime I am doing direct sales, lectures or simply disclosing that I am into mushrooms. I have covered the subject in different articles but it deserves more attention till people understand the subject.

One of the most frequently asked questions is “is this not grown under gum trees”? This is based on a popular myth in Zimbabwe that mushrooms growing under gum trees is automaticaly poisonous.

Visit my website for infomation I compiled years back by following this link: mushtella website

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Mushroom recipes collection: specialty mushrooms


We have a number of recipes that you may want to try on our website: mushtella recipes

I hope you will like them. I will be posting more recipes soon.

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Mushrooms are a health and nutritious food for everyone: micronutrients in mushrooms


Mushrooms are such a wonderful food they are low in calories, are virtually fat free, cholesterol free, have very low levels of sugar and salt; they provide a valuable source of dietary fibre, as well as several vitamins and minerals.

This post is just aimed at micro-nutrients, I will deal with macro nutrients in some other post. Micronutrients are what are commonly referred to as “vitamins and minerals.” micronutrients are different from the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate and fat), and micronutrients are called “micro”-nutrients because your body needs only very small quantities of them for survival. However, if your body doesn’t get the small quantities of micronutrients that it needs, serious health problems can result. Micronutrients are vital to the proper functioning of all of your body’s systems.

I will just highlight some of the micronutrients that mushrooms have:-

Vitamin D: Mushrooms are one of the few natural sources of vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones and teeth.

Vitamin B1 – Thiamin: Thiamin controls the release of energy from carbohydrate, which is needed for the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system.

Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin: Mushrooms are high in Riboflavin, a B- vitamin that helps to maintain healthy red blood cells and promotes good vision and healthy skin.

Vitamin B3 – Niacin: Niacin, another B-vitamin found in mushrooms, helps to control the release of energy from protein, fat and carbohydrate, which keeps the body’s digestive and nervous systems in good shape.

Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic Acid: Plays a number of essential metabolic roles in the human body, including providing assistance with the production of hormones.

Vitamin B9 – Folate: Mushrooms
are a rich source of Folate, which is essential for the formation of red and white blood cells in bone marrow. Folate is an important factor in healthy growth and development: pregnant women are encouraged to increase their Folate to assist with growth.

Vitamin H – Biotin: Is essential in the metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates and is just another
B-vitamin found in mushrooms.

Collectively, the B-vitamins contained in mushrooms may help to relieve stress, depression and fatigue?

Sodium: Mushrooms contain virtually no salt.

Potassium: This important mineral aids in the maintenance of normal fluid and mineral balance, which helps to control blood pressure. Mushrooms contain more potassium than most other fruit and vegetables:

Calcium: As well as being the most abundant mineral in the human body, calcium provides the structure for our teeth and bones and is needed for muscle contraction. 100g of mushrooms contains 2mg of calcium.

Iron: Mushrooms are a source of iron, which is essential to most life forms and normal human physiology.

Zinc: Found in almost every cell of your body, zinc stimulates the activity of approximately 100 enzymes and amongst other things, supports a healthy immune system.

Magnesium: Essential to good health, magnesium helps to maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system and keeps bones strong; 100g of raw mushrooms contain 9mg of magnesium.

Selenium: This mineral works as an antioxidant, protecting body cells from damage that might lead to heart disease and some cancers. Mushrooms are one of the richest, natural sources of selenium.

Ergothioneine: This is another, naturally occurring, antioxidant which is found in mushrooms.

Your comments are always welcome or you can follow me on twitter @mushtella

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Want to loose weight: eat mushrooms


There are many things you can do to loose weight but they all come down to two main things: how many calories are you taking and how many are you loosing. You can loose weght by simply reducing your calorie intake or you can mantain the calorie intake and simply burn more calories than you are taking.

Diet plays a crucial role in weight loss while physical activity remains as relavant. Mushrooms are low in calories and have virtually zero fat. Mushrooms are important to human healthy as was found in many studies done to understand how mushrooms can be helpfull to those who want to lose weight.

Follow the link below for more details on wy mushrooms will help you loose weight.

Unsung Heroes of conservation: reusing, recycling and reducing through mushroom growing in Zimbabwe.


Here a lady gathering sawdust at a sawmill in glenview. Sawdust is used for mushroom growing not only in Zimbabwe but the world over.

Mushroom growers play an important role in Zimbabwe by playing their role in the greening of Zimbabwe in their own small way.
I will highlight some of the ways in future posts, but as in the photo mushroom heavily rely on agricultural waste and other waste material like sawdust. Growers play a role not only of disposing off that waste but turning waste into food.

After growing the spent substrate/compost does not become waste but is used as manure for crops and vegetables.

For more of this follow me on facebook mushtella or twitter @mushtella

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