Gulmarg- Kashmir,(Scoop News) – Morchella Esculenta (Morel, Kanagaech, Guchi), a species of edible wild mushroom found in dense forest of Jammu and Kashmir continues still to be in great demand even though its supplies are scarce and irregular these days.
Morel, most expensive vegetable, is a food connoisseurs dream particularly around Christmas season. Known for its several herbal qualities, a plate of morel soup costs between US $ 75 and 100 (INR 5000-6600) during festival period.
Proportionately, the prices of the dry morel too had shot up many fold during past one decade, from over INR 4000 to nearly 13,000 per kilogramme at present.
In Kashmir people cook the delicacy with cheese, potatoes and minced mutton etc. Even its dessert is delectable.
It grows in abundance particularly in the wild areas of Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipore, Ganderbal, Anantnag, Shopian, Kishtwar, Rajouri and Poonch districts of north Indian Himalayan state s.n. where forest lessees extract it for commercial purpose by engaging local people for its collection.
Agriculture scientists blame changing weather conditions and unscientific plucking of the mushroom responsible for its diminishing production.
“It (morel) has natural growth and it grows only in the wild that too in clusters”, says Sohan Lal, a retired state agriculture official.
“Morel can’t be produced under controlled conditions like other vegetables viz mushrooms, cabbage, etc”, he added.
Noorbaksh, a collector of guchi in Rajouri area, says the growth of precious vegetable has diminished due to large scale felling of trees in the high altitude areas. s. n exclusive Jungles were converted into barren lands and most probably, the timber carries/ pony trails etc had trampled those areas where it used to grow earlier, he added.
“Earlier I used to go alone and collect it in bulk, today we go in groups and collect a little”, Noorbaksh remarked adding “its scarcity has led to its unprecedented price escalation”.
Health Benefits of Morel mushrooms
The scientific data researchers shared with media suggested that not many foods are natural sources of vitamin D, you get about 100 international units of vitamin D in each cup of morel mushrooms you which is needed for proper immune function as well as for absorbing calcium to form strong bones. Getting plenty of vitamin D in your diet may help lower your risk for osteoporosis, cancer, type-2 diabetes, multiple slcerosis and high blood pressure.
Morel Mushrooms consist of several B-vitamins and health promoting minerals, they added s.n.
The scientific data these researchers shared suggest that superior vitamins and mineral content, low calories and fat content make Morel Mushrooms an ideal food for weight loss.
The data said Morel mushrooms enable the body to fight with various common illnesses and diseases and even help in the treatment of diabetes and maintaining low blood sugar levels in the body.
Morel mushrooms can improve heart conditions due to their high levels of copper, vitamin E, and potassium, the data said.
Morel mushrooms are high in antioxidants, which boosts the immune system and help your body resist diseases and illnesses, the researchers shared.
they said Morel mushrooms can decrease the risk of cancer, especially prostate cancer, due to their high levels of selenium and niacin.
Morels provide a significant amount of iron and phosphorus. Getting enough iron in your diet will help prevent anemia, as iron is essential to form the red blood cells that transport oxygen throughout your body. Phosphorus also helps deliver oxygen and plays a role in forming strong bones and DNA, the data revealed.
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