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"Exploring the Fascinating World of Mushrooms: A Guide to Types, Benefits, and Culinary Uses"


Prized for their versatility and meat-like heft and texture, mushrooms are popular worldwide—and they come in many forms. Different types of mushrooms for cooking include basic buttons, meaty king oysters, and elusive honeycomb-like morels. Below, we’re diving into the various edible mushroom varieties, from the most common mushrooms (i.e., the ones you’ll find on a slice from the local pizza shop) to the wild fungi you might spot at the farmers market.


What to look for when buying mushrooms

Edible mushrooms vary tremendously in size, shape and color, and can be available both fresh and dried, depending on the variety. Look for fresh mushrooms without slimy, moldy or black spots. Some dirt is okay (just wash before eating). For varieties with gills — the feathery material on the underside of the cap — the more open the gills, the older the mushroom. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as older mushrooms can be more flavorful.


Eating mushrooms


Storing

Fresh mushrooms don’t hold up incredibly well to storage, generally speaking. Most can be kept in the crisper drawer — ideally, in a paper bag — for three to four days, tops, before they begin to shrivel or get slimy. Dried mushrooms can be sealed and stored in a dry place for a year or more.


Cooking

The great debate: Should you rinse your mushrooms or not? While the general advice is to wipe mushrooms with a damp paper towel to avoid water-logging, some chefs say it’s okay to give them a quick rinse if you do so right before cooking.

Mushrooms can be cooked any way your heart desires — fried, braised, roasted, grilled, steamed, sautéed or even raw. They pair well with dairy (especially cheese and sour cream), meats, eggs, other vegetables and fresh herbs. They are yummy tossed onto pizzas, sliced into salads, mixed into risottos and sautéed as a side dish. Eastern Europe is famous for its mushroom dishes, like this Russian mushroom-barley soup, and foraging is an important part of the cultural heritage. A variety of mushrooms play a big part in Chinese cuisine, too, where they pair well with broccoli or bok choy. Mushrooms also make an appearance in many traditional French dishes, like mushroom duxelles.

Dried mushrooms must be reconstituted before you use them, and will have a much more concentrated taste than fresh mushrooms. They are great braised or added to dishes like risotto; save their soaking liquid to add in some extra flavor.


Preserving

To preserve mushrooms to cook with later, it’s fairly simple to freeze or oven-dry them. You can also try salting and fermenting mushrooms or making mushroom pickles.


Nutrition

While different mushroom varieties have slightly different nutritional compositions, most are quite high in riboflavin (Vitamin B2) and niacin (Vitamin B3), and also contain some minerals, like copper, selenium, phosphorus and potassium. They even have a bit of protein.

Mushrooms have been used medicinally by cultures all over the world. Shiitakes may be beneficial to the immune system and help lower cholesterol; button mushrooms contain antioxidants; psilocybin, the active compound in hallucinogenic mushrooms, may help alleviate depression.



Prized for their versatility and meat-like heft and texture, mushrooms are popular worldwide—and they come in many forms. Different types of mushrooms for cooking include basic buttons, meaty king oysters, and elusive honeycomb-like morels. Below, we’re diving into the various edible mushroom varieties, from the most common mushrooms (i.e., the ones you’ll find on a slice from the local pizza shop) to the wild fungi you might spot at the farmers market.


Button Mushroom

Button mushrooms are the most common type of mushroom you’ll find at the grocery store—in fact, an estimated 90% of the mushrooms we eat in the US are of the button variety. Less intensely flavored than many of their kin, button mushrooms (scientific name, Agaricus bisporus) are the mildest-tasting mushroom around. They can be eaten raw or cooked, working well in soups or salads, and on pizzas. They’re also great stuffed or sautéed.


Chanterelle Mushroom

With a trumpet-like shape and a depression in the center of its cap, the chanterelle is another popular species of mushroom. Golden-hued, fleshy, and firm, they’re known for their apricot-like scent. Because they’re notoriously difficult to cultivate, foragers typically hunt for chanterelles in the wild. Note that a nonedible lookalike known as the false chanterelle (scientific name, Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca) grows throughout North America. Always forage with a trusted expert and root out the edible variety.


King Oyster Mushroom

Also known as a king trumpet mushroom, trumpet royale, ali’i oyster, king brown mushroom, and French horn mushroom, the king oyster mushroom goes by many names. This royal addition to the world of fungi is known for its thick stem, which has a meaty texture and earthy flavor. No matter what you call them, you can slice these jumbo mushrooms into planks to make open-faced mushroom sandwiches, skewer them for yakitori, or shred and steam them to make a saucy side.


Morel Mushroom

A fleeting springtime treat in the Midwest and Western US, morel mushrooms grow only once yearly, typically around April or May. Also known as Morchella, the morel’s conical, spongy look and woodsy, nutty flavor are unmistakable. Morels are also commonly sold dried. Reconstitute the dried mushrooms to make a robust broth, then add the rehydrated mushrooms and their liquid to risottostock, or soup.


Oyster Mushroom

Like their namesake bivalves, oyster mushrooms are whitish in color and fan-shaped; they have a delicate aroma and flavor. Although they can be found in the wild growing on the sides of trees, the ones you’ll find in the store or on a menu are most likely cultivated mushrooms. They add heft to stews and are found in many East Asian dishes. Try them in pulled mushroom tacos and Instant Pot Japchae, or use them in a vegan riff on fish sauce.


RECIPES



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That's all for today folks, enjoy your week! Remember, if you are looking for more recipes, online programs or chef tools, have a look around the site! Cheers, and enjoy the eclipse today...safely!

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