Story By: Anastasia Tsougka, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
This huge fungi will not leave mush-room on the plate for anything else as it weighs a massive 5.5 kilogrammes.
The giant, edible, lion’s mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) was discovered by two friends in a mountainous area near Kalabaka, in the Thessaly region in central Greece.
It was spotted sprouting from a tree and recognised instantly by the amateur fungi hunters as a lion’s mane, which is also known as ‘monkey head’ and ‘bearded hedgehog’ mushroom, among other names.
The find is rare for that environment and when it was weighed was found to be a hefty 5.5 kilogrammes (12 lbs).
Lion’s mane is very popular as a delicious food, found not only in Europe but also parts of North America and Asia. The taste has been described as similar to seafood.
But rather than saving it for further research, the unnamed friends grilled their discovery and ate most of it, saving a few remains to put in the freezer.
It is not just mushroom pickers who are fans of the lion’s mane. Scientists are currently studying it for its medicinal qualities, in particular its chemical properties that are said to help combat anxiety.
In Asia it is consumed raw or cooked and dried in tea. Many consider it to be good for battling a variety of conditions including dementia and depression and helping to prevent heart disease and ulcers thanks to its bioactive properties.
It is unclear if this mushroom was a record breaker before it was eaten, but Guinness World Records list the longest edible one as having been a 59-centimetre (1-foot-11-inch) specimen of Pleurotus eryngii which was grown by the HOKUTO Corporation in Japan in 2014.