Amazing Mushrooms: Spice, Snack and Supplement - Moksi

Amazing Mushrooms: Spice, Snack and Supplement

Mushrooms are interesting things. While often thought of as a type of plant, mushrooms are part of their own kingdom – Fungi – which differs from plants and animals. What we often think of as a mushroom in the culinary sense is the ‘fruiting bodies’ of the organism.

While not all mushrooms are edible, those sold as food not only taste good but also have many health benefits. Firstly, mushrooms are low-calorie foods, meaning that you can eat loads of them without having to worry about any weight gain. Additionally, they are packed full of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Other benefits depend on the type of mushroom as well as the method of growing it.

There are multiple ways of harvesting mushrooms. The simplest is to go out and gather wild mushrooms where they grow. However, actively cultivating and growing edible mushrooms – known as Fungiculture – has been happening for many years. For example, shiitake mushrooms have been cultivated in China for the last 800 years.

Because they are not plants, mushrooms require quite a different environment to grow in and be cultivated in large quantities. They grow best in high humidity – 95 to 100% – and are usually grown on a ‘substrate.’ The substrate is usually made of sterilised grains such as rye or millet. This substrate is the home for the central part of the mushroom – the root-like mycelium.

Mushrooms can yield very different health benefits and tastes depending on the substrate. For example, mushrooms raised with exposure to ultraviolet light are packed full of Vitamin D – an essential component in bone and immune system health.

Wild Mushrooms

Eating just any mushroom you find growing in the wild is not advisable. Fortunately, through hundreds of years of consumption, many people have deduced which varieties of wild mushrooms are suitable and healthy to eat.

Mushroom spice is unique to give your food a distinctive, earthy taste and many health benefits. This Wild Mushroom Spice is proudly locally sourced from the Garden Route in South Africa:   

Wild Mushroom Spice
Wild Mushroom Spice by SharLeBel

Speaking of South Africa, one of our favourite national pastimes – that of braaing – can also be assisted by mushroom spice’s unique taste and benefits. Check out this Mushroom Braai Spice:

Mushroom Braai Spice
Mushroom Braai Spice by SharLaBel

Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms, grown and eaten for centuries in East Asia, have some of the highest healthy amounts of natural copper. Copper keeps bones, blood vessels and your immune system strong and healthy. They also reduce cholesterol levels in the blood and are a source of vitamin D, B6 and Iron.

Although we often think mushrooms need to be cooked and served as a side dish, you can eat dried mushrooms whole just as they are. This can serve as a tasty and nutritious snack. 

Check out these Dried Mushrooms, available as mixed mushrooms or just Shiitake:

Dried Mushrooms
Dried Mushrooms by SharLaBel

Dried shiitake can be soaked or fried and added to other dishes as a healthy flavouring, contributing to a deep, savoury, umami taste.

When pickled, Shiitake can also be eaten individually as a snack. This bottle of Pickled Shiitake Mushrooms is additionally flavoured with bay leaves, rosemary, chilli and peppercorns:

Pickled Shiitake Mushrooms in Oil
Pickled Shiitake Mushrooms in Oil by SharLeBel

Shiitake mushrooms can also form the basis of many other spreads and consumables. Take a look at this delicious Shiitake Mushroom Salsa, available in both plain and spicy:

Shiitake Mushroom Salsa for everyday use! Ready-to-eat. Available in Plain and a Mild Chilli.
Mushroom Salsa by SharLeBel


The delicious Dukkah is an Egyptian and Middle Eastern spice usually made using a mixture of herbs, nuts and spices and used as a dip for bread or sprinkled onto vegetables. This unique Mushroom Dukkah re-imagines this spice with the healthy twist of adding shiitake mushrooms:

Mushroom Dukkah
Mushroom Dukkah by SharLeBel

Shiitake is also an excellent meat substitute when creating one of South Africa’s most popular snacks: biltong. Whether you want a healthier snack, are looking for a vegetarian option or are just trying to reduce your meat consumption by taking part in Meatless Mondays, you will want to check out this shiitake Mushroom Biltong, available in both Plain and Chilli:

Mushroom Biltong in Chili or Plain
Mushroom Biltong by SharLeBel

Whether being used as a flavourful spice, a side dish, or even just consumed as a tasty snack, shiitake and other edible mushrooms are something to explore for their many benefits to both taste and health.

For more handmade consumables, please visit the Moksi Consumables category.