Mushrooms are predicted be the ingredient of the year for 2022

A New York times article has predicted mushrooms will be the ingredient of the year for 2022.


When I was young fungi growing was prolific here.

Our local potato grower, William Hunter also grew mushrooms and they formed a major part of the rest of the family’s diet. Apparently I was a very fussy eater until a school trip to France when I was twelve. On my return I embraced every ingredient and became a lover of mushrooms.

As well as having some very successful large fungi growers here there is an expanding movement of smaller producers. The Incredible Edible project in Cloughmills, a community garden, grows oyster mushrooms in the spent coffee grounds from a local café. Not only is the product delicious but it provides an income for the garden and is totally sustainable.

In Belfast, the Hearty Growers are urban farmers based in the Portview Trade Centre on the Newtownards road. Husband and wife team, Terence and Judit Vaz started to grow mushrooms when the pandemic hit last year and they were furloughed from their main jobs. They grow a variety of oyster mushrooms, including very funky pink ones, and kits to have a go yourself. This is now their full time business and they supply top restaurants, butchers and greengrocers. You can order from them direct or check out their website for a list of suppliers.

As well as being tasty, mushrooms are a nutritional powerhouse. They’re fat free, low in sodium, a good source of vitamins D and B and they’re rich in selenium, a mineral that helps the immune system function properly.

Beef bone broth is another on trend ingredient. In the first recipe shin of beef is cooked with aromatics like ginger and star anise and the cooking liquor used as a base. Japanese Udon noodles are readily available in supermarkets and are lovely in this recipe with the addition of mushrooms and broccoli – the perfect healthy start to 2022.

For a more decadent alternative the other recipe is for a classic Steak Diane. This is the dish that converted my young self from mushroom hater to lover. Thin steaks are flashed in butter and then coated with a sauce of brandy flamed mushrooms with mustard and cream. To continue the celebration of mushrooms I’ve added a recipe for a creamy mushroom gratin with spinach and a crispy hazelnut and crumb topping. The Yin and Yang of mushroom recipes – the choice is yours.

Happy New Year.