Among the wide variety of plants and organisms on our planet , mushrooms occupy an important place , there are about one hundred thousand species, and they grow literally everywhere. Perhaps, one cannot find such a place on Earth where mushrooms would not find conditions for their development. Mushrooms grow in forests and fields, in gardens and meadows, in mountains and deserts, in soil and in water.
Man began to take an interest in mushrooms from a very long time ago. Mushrooms were divided into edible, conditionally edible and inedible (toadstools), poisonous. There is even a science about mushrooms - mycology - but even it for a long time could not answer the question: what place do mushrooms occupy in the system of the organic world? And only at the end of the 18th century their belonging to spore plants was finally fixed. But are mushrooms really plants? Indeed, unlike plants, they are devoid of chlorophyll, are not able to independently assimilate carbon dioxide from the air and therefore feed on ready-made organic matter. In addition, chitin is part of the cellular tissue of many fungi, which also brings them closer to animals.
Most modern biological scientists distinguish fungi as a separate species that exists alongside plants and animals. Mushrooms are of great importance in nature and for human economic activity.
Many cap mushrooms (there are about 200 species of them) are edible and are a human food product. Mushrooms have been used as food for almost the entire history of mankind. In terms of their chemical composition and protein content, mushrooms are closer to meat than plant products. And in terms of the amount and composition of carbohydrates, minerals, they are nevertheless closer to vegetables and fruits.
The nutritional value of mushrooms is determined by the presence of various organic compounds and mineral salts in them. Mushrooms are rich in various enzymes that help break down fat and fiber. This feature characterizes mushrooms as a necessary and useful additional product in the daily diet. The content of various sugars in mushrooms significantly increases their nutritional value and imparts a pleasant sweetish taste. Mushrooms also contain valuable fats, their digestibility is almost equal to that of animal fats. Essential oils give mushrooms a certain aroma, and resins give a characteristic viscosity (milk mushrooms, some russula). Mushrooms are also rich in valuable trace elements.
Fresh mushrooms can be stored for only a few hours, so they are dried, salted, pickled, and canned for storage.