As the Limit of Heat, also Chushu (one of the Chinese Solar terms), has arrived, Chongqing still broils in the hot and humid air. Occasionally, thunderstorms hit the city, bringing an unpleasant feeling. Though uncomfortable, such weather gifts the Pengshui mountain area a surprise. The moisture in the soil evaporates when the sun-heat rises after a whole night of torrential thunderstorm, and the site is distributed with a field-like smell. At the same time, the Dajiao mushrooms (also known as Zen Tan mushrooms) start to grow wildly at the foot of the oaks that continue to exude mist. It is time for the villagers to grope into the mountain. With pack baskets on their back and bamboo baskets in their hands, they go one after another, creating a “season of the harvest” for mushrooms.
Usually tawny or white, the mushroom has a strong flavor but cannot be cultivated artificially. Its characteristic fragrance and tender texture can be used to make soup with a dark and shiny appearance. No matter fried, braised, or stewed, the mushroom is always tasty and refreshing. But once picked up, the mushroom must be sliced and sun-dried as soon as possible for more extended shelf life. Otherwise, it will decay rapidly in just a few days. The sun-dried mushroom can be kept in the house, where it gives off a fragrant aroma; besides, this fragrance would last long if it is stored under proper conditions.
Its rareness makes it different from the daily delicacies. The mushroom grows at an altitude of about 2,000 meters with a growing period of just 2-3 days, and in Chongqing, it can only be found near Pengshui and Wulong. Therefore, this kind of mushroom is precious. As an entirely natural food material growing in the wild, it can be found in Mowei Mountain, Huangjiaba, Puzi, Gaogu, and other villages and towns in Pengshui. The harvesting period of grown mushrooms is short, about 2-3 days only. Fortunately, it can be picked up several times in different mountain areas during June and August, but luck decides whether you can taste its fresh flavor when visiting Pengshui.
Rich in protein and vitamin, the mushroom has high nutritional value. It is a nourishing food that brings benefits, such as reducing blood pressure, strengthening the spleen, improving appearance, regulating metabolism, clearing internal heat, and preventing gynecological diseases, for those lucky enough to consume it.