Quornered?

Since I discovered the range of Quorn products and promoted them on my blog a few months ago (see here) I have been eating them regularly. Yet… to my great embarrassment my friends were often asking me -as I was proudly boasting that I was having a burger (after nearly 6 months of vegetarianism I don’t seem to grow tired of the joke) “Okay Agathe,  but what is this made of?”

Uncovering Nature's secrets

Question to which I would answer a very shy: “Fungus!, it’s a type of protein, hum… a sort of mushroom…” And would cut short the conversation “Wanna try it?”

Most of the time they are nice enough to satisfy themselves with this feeble explanation. But sometimes I find myself having to answer to their growing – almost overwhelming curiosity, and explain how the production of Quorn is more sustainable than that of meat. I guess that’s what you get for writing a blog on ecological lifestyles. So now once and for all I will deliver you all the information that I have at hand!

  • Quorn is a product made from mycoprotein. This vegetable protein was found in the 60s in the soil of a small town in Buckinghamshire, England and it is indeed a fungus, but it’s far from being a mushroom! Scientists and nutritionists at Marlow Foods took years to find out how to mass-produce this protein because its properties are very interesting. Mycopretein looks like bread dough and is composed of very fine fibers, like meat, which explains why it has the same consistency, but it doesn’t contain any fat of the animal kind, and no cholesterol!
  • The production of Quorn goes through a process of fermentation, like yogurt. The mycoprotein is processed in large vats where oxygen is injected under the form of a glucose syrup. When this ‘broth’ is ready, it is dried in large centrifuges and ready to be harvested. That’s when it reaches its dough-like appearance… and mushroomy smell.
  • The production of Quorn seems to be more sustainable than the production of meat, although studies still need to be peer-reviewed. Marlow foods, the manufacturers of Quorn products in England have commissioned a study to the De Montfort University’s Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development. Results tend to demonstrate that Quorn requires one-third less of energy than meat production and leave a carbon footprint 5 times smaller than beef for instance.

I understand that people may be taken aback by the strange story of Quorn, but looking at its incredible nutritive properties and its prospectively low carbon footprint, one may want to reconsider its approach to this bizarre fungus and see in it as possibly the protein of the future! Besides it’s very good. And I am not biased :).

Have you tried Quorn yourself? If so, tell us about your own experience or favourite recipes in the comments!

source: Wired and Food manufacture

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