Omajova mushroom

Ark of taste
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Omajova (Termitomyces shimperi) is the plural name given to seasonal mushrooms that grow on termite nests following the rainy season.
About 1800 species of termites are known, but only 100 approximately grow fungus. Termites grow 20 species belonging to the Termitomyces genus: Termitomyces shimperi is the largest, and it is not cultivated by humans.

Omajova are found in the African continent, primarily in northern Namibia. They only appear on tall termite mounds where the average rainfall is above 350 mm.

Supposedly, older women who were experienced with this mushroom watched for cracks to appear in nearby termite nests in the early rain period. They then covered the cracks with leaves and branches to hide the site from others. This mushroom is highly valued in Namibian culture, and symbolizes growth and prosperity.

Since other insects feed on it, omajova needs to be harvested and consumed quickly. Because of their large size (the caps may reach 20 cm in diameter) it can be fried like a steak, and the stems can be cut into pieces to be used in soups and risottos. Its taste is unique, similar to veal, and its texture is firm flesh. Omajova are not sold commercially although they are sometimes sold locally on roadsides in the rainy season.

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Nominated by:Dr Lueesse