Also known as sponge mushroom, guchchi belongs to the Morella fungus family. It has a rigid conical body cone with a sponge cap. It is usually grown on logs of decayed wood and leaves, stumps, or humous soil. At a low height it is usually black in color. As it grows, guchchi turns brown to brackish or white color. Considered as a delicacy, it is in great demand in many parts all over the world.
During the season of snow followed by hail and thunderstorms is an ideal time for guchchi to grow. Unlike other varieties, guchchi is cooked in a way that makes it so delicious retaining its nutrient content. The guchchi is strung into small garlands and hung over the hearth for a week. They are dried up because of the smoke and heat. The height at which the guchchi are strung determines the taste. If they are too low, they get too smoky and if too high, they are likely to rot.
Black morel mushrooms are a delicacy and not easily available but in case you get your hands on them turn it into an aromatic pulao. Do not add too many masalas and enjoy the flavors of the guchchi.
Guchhi’s are rich in minerals, have a high iron content and are a great source of Vitamin D.
It is low fat, and high in antioxidants. It contains fibre, which absorbs bile acids in the body and prevents the formation of cholestrol. It is known to improve liver function as well.
The nutrients contained in sponge mushrooms help maintain a steady blood-glucose level throughout the day, this in turn helps in reducing binge eating and unnecessary snacking.
Precaution: Morel mushrooms should never be ingested raw, as it can cause poisoning. Once cooked, the mushrooms lose their toxicity.
Did you know?
India is the leading producer of Guchchi.
Guchchi is usually found at a height above 5000 ft.
The amount of guchchi collected is reduced to half upon drying.