The premise of the HBO series The Last of Us is that a fungus of the parasitic Codyceps genus infects humans and turns them into zombies. Just a few days ago we posted about how we don’t need to worry about Cordyceps in real life. But maybe Cordyceps should worry about us.
There are about 750 identified species in the Cordyceps genus, and it only stands to reason that people would eat at least some of them. Some species known as “caterpillar fungus” are grown as crops, although a very difficult crop, in Asia. These mushrooms are used in traditional medicine. Modern mycologists are developing farms to grow the species Cordyceps militaris without having to go through that whole zombie insect phase. They sell Cordyceps in a dried form for a flavor enhancer in soups, salads, and other dishes. Some folks even eat them by themselves! Read about the edible forms of this fungus at Atlas Obscura, where they have recipes for Cordyceps Tea and Miso & Cordyceps Ramen.
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