The use of mushrooms in consumer cooking schools appears to have paid off for the mushroom industry.

The Mushroom Council, San Jose, Calif., reports that 140 consumer cooking schools across the U.S. in 2010 conducted in partnership with Taste of Home paid dividend in attitudes about mushrooms.

At the cooking schools, consumer cooking enthusiasts witnessed a 10-minute demonstration of the mushroom clafouti recipe, provided by the council.

Participants who responded to a follow up survey indicated an increased interest in using mushrooms in the past year, according to a news release from the council.

Of the 761 attendees who responded to an email survey, the findings revealed a 23% increase in people who were using mushrooms instead of other vegetables. For 2010, 45% said they used mushrooms instead of other vegetables, up from 22% in 2009.

What’s more, nearly 43% of those who responded to the survey said they have already made or will make the mushroom clafouti recipe, up from 34% in 2009. In a question about food prices, 69% of consumers indicated they were concerned about food prices, down from 78% in 2009.

The council said that statistics from FreshLook Marketing show mushrooms were the 15th rated commodity in the fresh produce department for 52 weeks ending July 18, bringing in the $800 million. That was up 5% from year ago levels, and ranked mushrooms ahead of broccoli, cucumbers, celery, squash and asparagus. Mushrooms accounted for 2.1% of produce sales, up from 2% last year.

(Note on corrections: This story originally cited an incorrect statistic for the 2009 consumer survey about the use of the mushroom clafouti recipe.)