The oyster mushroom is a great ingredient to cook with this time of year, not least because it aids the immune system (having been used in Chinese medicine for over 3000 years!), but also because of its rich vitamin, mineral and protein content. Its antibacterial properties come from benzaldehyde, a compound which has been shown to reduce bacteria levels in the body and which gives the oyster mushroom its distinctive odour.

Oyster mushrooms are very easy to cultivate and are regarded as environmentally useful for their ability to clean up polluted soil and break down toxins in the earth. They are also low in sodium and therefore a great ingredient for those with high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. There is even ongoing research into oyster mushrooms’ ability to combat cancer and help people quit smoking!

Perhaps most importantly, they are utterly delicious and easy to cook with. Try adding them to a stir fry, to your scrambled eggs on toast or to an immune boosting soup.