Hummers, mushrooms and quinoa

The pretty Hummer
The poet John Keats wrote:

What is more gentle than a wind in summer?
What is more soothing than the pretty hummer
That stays one moment in an open flower,
And buzzes cheerily from bower to bower?

It’s fairly certain he wasn’t referring to the Hummer, General Motor’s gargantuan gas guzzler. Environmentalists though were celebrating this week at the imminent demise of the car everyone loves to hate. GM have announced that they have been unable to find a buyer for the brand, and the vehicle, which began life in the US-army, may soon be a museum curiosity from the Age of Excess.

Shimeji mushrooms
Fans of the mushroom section would have noticed the quiet arrival of two varieties of unusual mushrooms. Shimeji mushrooms are rarely seen as they are difficult to cultivate. Native to east Asia, they grow slowly, have a longer than usual shelf-life, and a somewhat bitter taste raw, but become sweeter when cooked.

They haven’t been well-studied, but there is evidence of their effectiveness in inhibiting tumours, similar to their shiitake relatives. We have white shimeji, brown shimeji, shiitake and king oyster mushrooms available this week.

Most people have come across quinoa (pronounced keen-wa), the little balls of protein power. A superb protein, containing significant amounts of all essential amino acids, unlike some proteins quinoa is gluten-free and easy to digest.

But did you know that, just as maize isn’t only yellow, or carrots orange, quinoa has many different varieties (over 1800) and colours too. Until quite recently, red quinoa was almost extinct, but thanks to its rapid spread through health food stores worldwide, it’s now widely known and cultivated.

There’s very little difference nutritionally between red and white quinoa, with the red apparently being fractionally ahead in some nutrient levels. It’s got a slightly firmer texture after cooking, and a slightly nuttier flavour. Even better, it’s available this week at an amazing introductory price – R32 for 500g.

To order, head on over to

Have a great week,
Ian and the Ethical Co-op team