Why you must buy the mushrooms in pink punnets

SAMFA Pink Punnets Campaign Pick n Pay

By Renate Engelbrecht

Tuesday, Oct 04

It’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and that means that SAMFA’s Power of Pink campaign has just kicked off in full swing. What are these pink punnets about? Well, the campaign – which has been running for well over ten years – comes with a simple objective: Donating to the NGO, Reach for Recovery in support of their Ditto Project.

With mushrooms being one of the healthiest foods to have in your home, it’s only natural that the South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association would be involved in this campaign. In the end, healthy food is happy food. A recent study conducted at the University of Kent and the University of Reading recently found that an overall balanced and healthy lifestyle is the best defense against developing diseases like breast cancer. Additionally, being kind, giving, generous and supportive to those in need has also been found to improve your own health and mood. Pretty much what the Power of Pink campaign offers annually.

“You are always surprised and elated by the good vibes you feel when you know that you are directly supporting an unknown sister, mother, aunt or daughter,” says SAMFA’s Chairperson, Ross Richardson. “Every woman deserves to feel whole, to feel well and to feel cared for. Fresh mushrooms powered up in pink punnets are the ultimate win-win recipe for well lived and uplifted lives! They are symbols of healthy, delicious food and a do-good opportunity that has a proven record of changing lives.”

If you shop at Pick ’n Pay, you might have spotted the pink punnets already, but now you know the meaning behind them.

Here’s a win-win recipe for you to try out too:

Baked Mushroom Bowls with Swiss Chard Mash

Serves 4

Baked Mushroom Bowls with Swiss Chard Mash
Baked Mushroom Bowls with Swiss Chard Mash. Image: SAMFA


For the mash:

6 large baking potatoes

6 Tbsp butter

125ml / ½ cup full cream milk, kept warm

1 medium white onion, diced

1 bunch / 200g swiss chard, roughly chopped

For the mushrooms (from pink punnets):

500g mixed cultivated mushrooms

2 Tbsp butter, melted

1 Tbsp lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, grated

± 6 sprigs of fresh thyme

½ tsp chilli flakes

Olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Micro herbs or baby greens, for serving


For the mash:

Peel potatoes and cut into large cubes.

Transfer to a pot of cold water and rinse until the water runs clear.

Cover potatoes with clean cold water and season generously with salt.

Bring to a simmer.

Cook until potatoes are completely tender.

Drain in a colander and let steam dry for a minute.

Use a potato ricer, food mill or hand held masher to mash the potatoes in their pot.

Add the butter and fold in using a spatula.

Pour in the hot milk and fold it into the potatoes.

Season to taste.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the swiss chard.

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion until soft.

Add the swiss chard and sauté until barely wilted.


Fold the swiss chard through the mashed potatoes and keep warm.

For the mushrooms (from pink punnets):

Preheat oven to 200˚C, fan on.

Place the mushrooms in a large bowl.

It is great to use a mix of mushrooms but keep the sizes similar for cooking.

Keep small portabellinis whole and slice large browns into quarters etc…

Drizzle the mushrooms with the melted butter.

Add the lemon juice, garlic, thyme and chilli. Toss to coat well.

Transfer to a large  rimmed baking sheet and spread into a single layer.

Roast for 10-15 minutes or until mushrooms release liquid and are golden brown.

Carefully pour off the excess mushroom liquid to keep them from going soggy.

(You can keep this for a delicious broth or stock or drizzle over the dish as a sauce)

Serve the roasted mushrooms on a bed of the swiss chard mash.

Top with some fresh herbs or baby greens and serve.

R1 from each pink punnet bought at Pick ‘n Pay will go toward the Ditto Project, which provides breast prostheses to cancer survivors who can’t afford them. The campaign will be running for the whole of October.

For more mushroom-inspired recipes, click here.


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