Mushrooms are a type of fungi that are produced and can be seen typically above the soil or above the ground and most of the time above its source of food. There are many different types of mushrooms that is used as food and some are used for medicinal purposes. However, not all mushrooms are edible since some mushrooms are poisonous or are hallucinogenic in nature. In this article, let us talk about some of the popular edible mushrooms that you can find in grocery stores and how they distinct from one another.
Different Types Of Mushrooms
Button Mushrooms (Agaricus Bisporus)
Button Mushrooms are also called Baby Mushrooms or White mushroom because they are small mushrooms with a round top. Button Mushrooms are the most common and widely popular edible mushroom that can be easily found in grocery stores.
Button Mushrooms were harvested when they were still young. Button Mushrooms tend to be delicate but definitely has an earthy flavor.
Button Mushrooms are used mostly as toppings on pizza, a great addition to pasta dishes and paste sauce and other delicious meals as well.
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Cremini Mushrooms (Agaricus Bisporus)
Cremini mushrooms are also called Crimini mushrooms or baby Portobello. They re somewhat similar with white mushroom but is slighter bigger in size. Also, its color is brown and not white.
Cremini mushrooms has a mild flavor and can be used as an alternative to white mushroom.
While white mushroom and Cremini mushrooms that grows on earlier stage under the same variety, the Portobello mushrooms is considered to be on its final and full grown stage wherein its caps grows outwards thereby exposing the dark gills located underneath the mushroom.
Although Portobello mushrooms have this meaty texture, its mild flavor is still retained. Since it has a meaty texture, it is often used as great meat substitute.
As the name suggests, Oyster Mushrooms typically looks like oysters as they are shaped like one but does not exactly tastes like oysters.
Oyster mushroom is another edible mushroom that has a mild and sweet flavor. It can be used in different kinds of mushroom recipes.
King Oyster Mushrooms
King Oyster mushrooms are also known as King trumpet mushrooms or often called French horn mushroom. They may look like Oyster mushrooms but considered to be the largest kind in the Oyster mushroom family.
King trumpet mushrooms have a firm meaty texture as compared to Oyster mushrooms mentioned above.
King oyster mushrooms are known to be good for both the heart and the body’s immune system. Most Vegetarians preferred this types of mushrooms for their dish.
Chanterelle Mushrooms has a sweet and at the same time has a peppery flavor. In storing these types of mushrooms in the refrigerator, it can last longer of about 10 days.
Because these mushrooms have high water content, it is best to use these mushrooms when dry. It will still be cooked in its water after sauté. Keep in mind there are other Chanterelle mushroom variety such as Jack o Lantern and false Chanterelle that may look like Chanterelle mushrooms, take extra careful as these can cause diarrhea.
Most of the time, its color is golden brown however there are other colors available as well.
Porcini Mushrooms are also known as Cep mushrooms. These types of mushrooms are used mostly in Italian cooking.
Porcini Mushrooms has a distinctive nutty and creamy taste, which has a similar taste that of Sourdough. Its color is light brown.
These types of mushrooms can grow into a large size up to 10 inches width, however the smaller ones are the ones mostly harvested for cooking.
Porcini mushrooms are available in either canned or can be bought fresh but most people prefer to purchase the dried ones.
Hedgehog Mushrooms are also known as Sweet Tooth Mushrooms.
They taste like Chanterelle mushrooms, wherein it taste sweet and smells sweet as well. Make sure to use the youngers ones, as older Hedgehog mushroom have a bitter taste.
Can be cooked in different cooking options such as sautéed, simmered or pickled.
Chicken Of The Woods Mushrooms
Chicken Of The Woods Mushrooms or also called Laetiporus (with bright pores).
Another edible mushrooms that are contains potassium, Vitamin C, Fiber, and Vitamin A. Also believed to have an antibiotic properties.
They usually grow on the side of a tree. They are typically orange colored mushrooms that tend to have a deeper orange color in the middle and a lighter shade of orange on its edges.
Used by vegetarians as meat alternative that are craving “chicken” dish.
Black Trumpet Mushrooms
Black Trumpet Mushroom is also called Black Chanterelles, Horn of Plenty mushroom, Trumpet of the Dead Mushroom or sometimes referred to as King brown mushroom.
Although not the most attractive mushroom, they have a smoky and rich flavor. Dried versions of these type of mushroom taste similar that of Black Truffle mushroom.
Black Trumpet Mushroom is one of the perfect mushrooms for beginners since there are no poisonous mushrooms that looks like it.
Wood Blewit Mushrooms
Wood Blewit Mushrooms are great edible mushrooms however there have been reports wherein some developed some sort of allergic reactions to the mushroom when eaten raw, but there are also some reports to have experienced the same when cooked. Therefore it is advisable to try eating small amounts of these mushrooms first to check whether are allergic to it or not.
They are best eaten when sautéed in butter or added to cream sauce.
Morel Mushrooms are somehow unattractive to look at, they are edible with great taste and are delicious mushrooms especially when sautéed in butter. Morel Mushrooms have a nutty but earthy flavor and meaty flavor as well.
Keep in mind that there are real and edible ones, and there are fakes ones that can be poisonous, make sure to know how to differentiate which is which.
Enoki Mushrooms or also known as Enokitake Mushrooms are thin mushroom that similarly looks like bean sprouts. They appear to be white in color with long stems and small caps.
Enoki mushrooms are the most common type that can be easily seen displayed in the grocery stores and can be bought either fresh or canned. Most of the time, they grow in clumps
Enoki mushrooms are used mostly in Asian cuisine and are usually added to dishes such as ramen and salads.
Beech Mushrooms are also known as Shimeji mushrooms or Clamshell mushrooms. These are edible Mushrooms that typically grows on beech trees.
They appear to be small and thin with brown round caps, and they usually grow in clusters.
They have a crunchy texture, but rather sweet and nutty flavor when these mushrooms are cooked. Cooking the mushroom is relatively the best way to consume. While eating raw can also be good, you may want to reconsider eating it cooked as it has a bitter taste when eaten raw.
Shiitake Mushrooms is the most common type of edible mushroom used mostly in Asian dishes such as Korean, Chinese and Japanese Cuisine. Shiitake Mushrooms have a meaty and savory flavor (Similar to Portobello Mushroom) and are used mostly to add in ramen and stir fries.
Maitake mushrooms are also known as Hen of the woods. Maitake in Japan means “Dancing Mushroom” They are probably called as such because of they appear to be feathery and mostly grown in clusters. These light brown colored mushrooms typically grows at the base of the tree.
They has a strong peppery flavor that is why it best to served it when cooked rather than raw. Mostly sautéed or roasted and can be a great addition to stir fries, noodles or ramen and pizza as well.
Reishi Mushrooms are also known sa Reishi or Lingzhi mushroom. Considered to be a medicinal mushrooms with health benefits.
It is considered to be a Polypore that typically grows on the side of a tree. They are cork-like mushrooms that are hard to eat.
Health benefits include lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure, reduces inflammation, boost immune system and can also treat urinary tract infections as well.
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms are white mushrooms that appears to have a hair-like texture, hence the name. It is also similar to Hedgehog mushrooms. Typically grows in clumps on the side of the tree.
They are tender, meaty and juicy. They also taste like crab meat or seafood, as claimed by others who have tried eating these mushrooms.
Can be eaten sautéed and added to stir fry. Can also be used as meat alternative for vegans.
Matsutake Mushroom is also known as Pine Mushroom. Popular mushroom used mostly in Chinese, Japanese and Korean Cuisine. Although Matsutake mushrooms are hard to find since they grow mostly under the tree, not just on any tree but on specific trees. Growing under the those trees and hidden behind the leaves as well.
Most of the time, they are eaten by animals in the forest such as rabbits, squirrel and deer.
Matsutake mushrooms are expensive mainly because they are hard and rare to find. The price of a single Matsutake mushroom can go up as low as a hundred dollars to a high price of a thousand dollars per kilogram.
Giant Puffball Mushrooms
Giant Puffball Mushrooms scientifically known as Calvatia Gigantea, are puff ball mushrooms typically found in files, meadows and forests usually in late summer and autumn season.
As the name presents, these are giant mushrooms that grows in bigger sizes and weighs about 20kg. But when used for cooking, they are usually harvested when they are still small.
When getting hold of these mushroom at their largest size, the best thing to do when preparing to cook it is to cut the mushroom in half. You can see that its insides are spongey, pure white that appears to be thick.
They tend to deteriorate fast, therefore it is best to immediately consume them after harvesting.
Different Mushroom Categories
There are over a thousand types of mushrooms all over the globe. but they are all gathered into wide-range of categories: Cultivated Mushrooms, Wild Mushrooms, Medicinal Mushrooms, Psychoactive, Poisonous and useful mushrooms.
These are the types of mushrooms that are commercially grown. Different methods and processes are used to produce these category of mushrooms to be available in the market for purchase. Examples of Cultivated mushrooms are Cremini mushrooms, Portobello mushrooms, Oyster mushroom and Enoki mushrooms.
These are mushrooms harvest from nature. Most of the time, these types of mushrooms grow in live roots on certain and specific trees therefore considered to be rare and hard to harvest ample amounts for agriculture. Examples of popular wild mushrooms includes Truffles, Chanterelle and Morel mushroom.
There are what they call “Fake Wild mushrooms” or Poisonous mushroom out there, make sure to take extra careful and make sure to know the differences especially in appearances as poisonous ones may look alike the real ones.
It is well known to everyone that there are mushrooms that provides and gives health and medicinal benefits when consumed such as Shiitake mushrooms and Maitake mushrooms. Although there are some mushrooms that are made into capsules and tea as they tend to taste bitter when cooked.
These mushrooms are commonly called Magic Mushrooms. They contain Psilocybin which is a psychoactive ingredient that provides Psychotropic effects in the body.
However, these types of mushrooms are not found to be illegal in some countries. Make sure to check the law in your local area before purchasing these mushrooms.
Since there are a thousand different varieties of mushrooms in the world, there are also a lot of Poisonous mushrooms that may look exactly alike with the real ones. It is advisable to understand and know the differences especially in terms of appearances to be able to identify the poisonous kind and the real ones.
An example of which are the Amanita Bisporigera or also called Destroying Angel looks exactly like those edible ones such as Button mushrooms, Puffballs and the like.
Poisonous mushrooms when eaten can be detrimental to one’s health and condition. It can cause serious damage to the liver and kidneys and can be irreversible.
Other than being edible, there are other types of mushrooms that are used for other purposes as well. An example of which are the Amanita Muscaria. These are mushrooms used as fly traps. To attract flies, these mushrooms are soaked in milk. When the flies eat the mushrooms and drink the milk causing them to die.
Aside from using as fly traps, there are also useful mushrooms used for in cleaning the environment as a bioremediation, a process that basically detoxifies contaminants in the soil.
How to Store mushrooms
To extend the shelf life of a mushroom, you may need to place and store the mushroom in a paper bag. Place the paper bag inside the refrigeration, on its main portion but not on the drawer. Paper bag are used so that mushrooms can breathe, that way it stays fresh for a longer period of time.
Before using the mushroom, make sure to wash them. Not soaking them, but just washing them to remove excess dirt.
The most common edible mushroom are mentioned in this guide. There are, however other kinds but these are the most popular mushrooms you can find. We do hope that this guide has helped you understand the different varieties and as well as how to distinguish each type.