MOVE over kale, a new superfood is set to claim the spotlight: mushrooms. Named as ingredient of the year by the New York Times, edible fungi are being hailed by food experts and health gurus as the culinary must-have for 2022.

How did the humble mushroom become hip?

It has been a steady creep. There were early rumblings around this time two years ago when Tesco reported that sales of brown oyster cluster and king oyster mushrooms had rocketed by almost 240 per cent, partly credited to their meat-like texture.

Mushrooms are the new meat?

It is certainly looking that way. As more people seek to adopt a plant-based diet for ethical and environmental reasons, mushrooms are much in demand because they provide the meatiness that some newbie vegans crave.

HeraldScotland: Mushrooms are being hailed as the superfood for 2022. Picture: Alamy/PAMushrooms are being hailed as the superfood for 2022. Picture: Alamy/PA

What about the health benefits?

Mushrooms proffer a boon of wellbeing components, packed with everything from vitamins B and D to antioxidants and the latest buzzword: adaptogens.

What the heck are "adaptogens"?

It is believed that certain types of mushrooms may help reduce the effects of stress. Examples include reishi, which some studies have shown function as adaptogens by lowering cortisol levels to potentially alleviate chronic stress and fatigue.

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Hang on …

I see where you're going. Although not "magic mushrooms" in the traditional sense, we would recommend thorough research into the promised benefits and any contraindications before dabbling.

Anything else?

The soaring popularity of mushrooms is not only down to us filling our supermarket trolleys with Porcini and Shiitake to use in omelettes, risottos or toss into stir fries.

The global mushroom market is booming and according to research firm Technavio, sales are expected to grow by $18.78 billion by 2025.

HeraldScotland: Mushrooms are being hailed as the superfood for 2022. Picture: Alamy/PAMushrooms are being hailed as the superfood for 2022. Picture: Alamy/PA

What is being dubbed "mushroom tech" is on the rise with innovations popping up in everything from biodegradable packaging as a replacement for polystyrene to fungi being used to brew alcohol-free craft beer and make alternatives to dairy products.

What about other superfoods?

Well, kale remains a perennial favourite ever since Gwyneth Paltrow gave it her celebrity endorsement circa 2011 (some might argue the Celts were the original proponents of the leafy, cruciferous vegetable around 600 BCE).

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Then there is edamame, which is basically fancy peas. At the end of the world, all that will be left in kitchen cupboards are dusty tins of edamame, languishing behind packets of powdered custard and ancient Spam.

Thank goodness for beetroot. You can't go wrong with beetroot. And now mushrooms. 2022 is looking up.