Mushrooms

Edible Mushrooms – The List of Nine

Edible Mushrooms List– Nine Types I Recommend

edible mushrooms list

Several types of mushrooms at a farmers market, You can see the Chanterelles in the back and the Portobella up front, they really stick out!

Edible mushrooms list cover many different varieties, sizes and colors, depending on who made the list. To some mushrooms are absolutely delicious, like getting a prime cut of meat!

To others they are downright disgusting! I guess they are like the sashimi of vegetables, though not really a vegetable; you either love it or hate it!

There are several types of mushrooms, many of them are edible. Some edible mushrooms require that you cook them first to make them safe to eat, so most people stick with common types of mushrooms, just to be safe I suppose.

If you really want to know all the different types of mushroom, go to the link below, it will take you to a very informative Wikipedia page that has a lot of good info that might interest you.

Edible Mushrooms

Here on my blog though I’m going to stick with what I know and like to eat which are more common varieties that I’m confident nothing bad will happen if you eat these types of mushrooms, unless you have an allergy to them, which I hope you don’t.

The Nine Types of Edible Mushrooms List:

  • Chanterelles
  • Cremini
  • Morels
  • Portobello
  • Enoki
  • Shiitake
  • Oyster
  • Button
  • Porcini
mushrooms

More farmers market mushrooms, as you can see they are not cheap! The seller here sold out of mushrooms by noon, which basically is an everyday occurrence.

The following are descriptions of each type of mushroom from the edible mushrooms list above which are also most likely the ones you will be able to find at your local grocery store. You can also grow these types of mushroom. The morel is the exception, they are very difficult to cultivate, so you won’t find any info on my site on how to grow them. In my opinion you are better off spending your time looking for wild morels than trying to grow them.

Chanterelles

A better name for the chanterelles might be the flower mushroom, not only in appearance but in the slight floral note they offer. You will like the fact that these mushrooms last longer in the refrigerator, so there will be less waste. Their striking color is a variable shade of a deep golden yellow they have a peppery/fruity flavor combine that with the delicate texture and how easily they pair with entrees and you’ll be pleased with this mushroom!

 

Cremini

Is really just a mature white button mushroom but because of their appearance are sold as baby portobello mushrooms. They are mild in flavor and have basically the same shape and are slightly bigger though the color, compared to the white button mushroom, is the real difference. Creminis are brown and white button mushroom are of course white.

Morels

This mushroom maybe the ugliest mushroom but more than makes up for it with its excellent flavor and super savory deliciousness! These will start to grow in the spring in forested areas and sell for $35 a pound raw and I’ve seen prices in the $100’s for dried morels. Whether that’s the truth I couldn’t tell you, but I can tell you that if you sauté these in butter you’ll understand why they are highly sought after, ugly or not!

Portobello

Is a really fancy name for really big white button mushroom, because that’s what it is, a matured white button mushroom. Very mild in flavor and an excellent meaty texture that may rival a steak and are excellent when grilled! In fact it is a great substitute for meat in certain dishes which I think this is especially true for vegetarians or vegans.

Enoki

Native to Japan they have a very small cap with a long slender stem. They give the impression that they are bean sprouts. If bean sprouts tasted as good it might not be quite as much of an insult! But bean sprouts don’t hold a candle to the flavor these mushrooms offer. These can be found fresh, canned or in Asian dishes for which they are commonly used. These are really good in soup because they hold up well and are also great in salads because they are crisp and fit in well with the rest of the veggies.

Shiitake

These are one of the most well-known mushrooms because of their meaty and savory texture and taste and because of its prominence in Asian cooking and cuisine. Shiitake mushrooms are just as delicious fresh or added to dishes, soups or sauces dried. Though originally from Asia, these mushrooms have really caught on in the U.S. where a lot of backyard farmers have added them to their crop.

Oyster

A strange name for a mushroom, yet so descriptive for how this fungi appears. The oyster mushroom doesn’t really taste much like an actual oyster rather they have a sweet and somewhat delicate taste, which at the right time of year can even have a slight anise flavor. These might be the easiest mushroom to cultivate which grow quickly, have good yields and are easily scaled up if you are looking to turn your hobby into a business.

Button

The button mushrooms or white mushroom is the most common mushroom. Harvested early on in its life cycle it has an earthy flavor that is subtle and mild. These mushrooms are available year around, which is what makes them so common.
button mushrooms

Porcini

This mushroom is light brown and is a lot like the portobello, it’s meaty and is a common ingredient in Italian cooking. They range in size from very small at about 1 inch to 10 inches in diameter! They have a creamy and somewhat nutty flavor and are delicious fresh or dried- If kept dry they have an infinite shelf life. This is really the truth for any mushroom that I aware of, that they will keep indefinitely when dried if they are kept dry.

Maitake

Or you may know this mushroom as the hen of the woods. Maitake translated from Japanese means “dancing mushrooms”. They are delicate and flowery and are packed with flavor. These unique mushrooms are rich, earthy and delicious. Like many mushrooms they grow at the base of hardwood trees, but prefer oak in particular. They are very popular for use in Japanese and western cooking and they’re great for soups and stir-fries.

Pick, Grow or Buy?

morel mushrooms

Fresh picked Morel mushrooms. These are a real treat and only available in the spring where I live. Fried in butter they are pretty hard to beat as a side with a good steak!

If you know what you are looking for you may be able to find the mushrooms listed above growing locally depending on where you live. Picking wild mushrooms makes me a little nervous because if you pick the wrong one it can be seriously bad! In Michigan where I am from the state offers classes and certification for wild mushroom identification. One, that is how serious it is and two, if I were going to pick wild mushrooms I would want to be certified by the state to know that I am picking mushrooms that are safe to eat.

It is easy enough to buy any of these mushrooms and know that they are safe to eat. It is also easy to grow your own mushrooms and know that they are safe to eat. In the United States mushroom growers are seriously lacking and it is one of the most underserved business segments in that regard. So what am I saying? If you are looking for a business opportunity there one pounding on your door right now and it looks an awful lot like a mushroom!

 

Growing Edible Mushrooms

cultivated edible mushrooms

Button mushrooms ready for me to harvest. These are another easy mushroom to grow, you just need to provide the right growing conditions and you are in business.

To grow a mushroom doesn’t require that you like to eat them, however. Why would you grow any type of mushroom if you don’t like to eat them? Mushrooms are used medicinally as well as cultivated for food. It’s great if you do enjoy eating mushrooms and decide to grow them, but don’t let that stop you if you don’t.

There is probably more than one answer the question “Why would you grow any type of mushroom if you don’t like to eat them?” But from my point of view I can answer that question  in a single word, “money”.

Why do I say that? Am I greedy or pushing a get rich quick scheme? No, not at all! If anything cultivating mushrooms can be tedious work and frustrating at times. On the other side of the coin, once you learn more about what you are doing, it can be a fun hobby, easy to grow with a quick turn around and some varieties fetch a very handsome price!

What Does it Take to Grow Mushrooms?

So what does it take to cultivate the edible mushroom? Some believe it must be done in a sterile or as sterile of an environment as possible. While I don’t think it is absolutely critical to the point that you will never grow a mushroom, I do believe using a sterile environment increases your chances for success greatly.

First you want to choose a type of mushroom that is easy to cultivate. If you don’t know where to start looking or what to look for, let me just tell you that the oyster mushroom is probably as easy as it gets.

My first cultivated mushroom was in fact an oyster mushroom. It was a mushroom “farm” in a box and it was as easy as opening the box and watering them. Some will suggest you start with that kind of kit to get your feet wet before you go full throttle. I agree with that line of thinking, since like anything, if you do not know what you are doing you can end up wasting a lot of time and money with not much to show for it.

The Basics

What do you need to know about cultivating the edible mushroom for profit?

Like all mushrooms the cycle starts with spores. In nature a mushroom will release millions of its spores into the air with a very small percentage actually germinating and going on to mature into mushrooms. When you cultivate any type of mushroom you will start by doing so in a controlled environment, which if done right, will greatly increase the success of the mycelium.

Mycelium makes up the body of a typical fungus. It may be microscopic in size until it develops into a visible mushroom.

Here is a summary of some of the basic items you will work with:

  • Substrate – typically straw, wood chips, grain or even a log depending on the type of mushroom. Many times the substrate will need to be sterilized, but not always.
  • Spore syringes or plugs for inoculating your substrate or log. At some point you’ll make your own but to ease the learning curve you may want to buy the first few sets.
  • Pint sized jars with lids and rings.
  • Pressure cooker to sterilize your substrate and jars.
  • Fruiting chamber.
  • Bees wax or cheese wax.
mushrooms that are edible

Once you start growing mushrooms and scale up your capacity don’t be surprised if your harvest looks like this too.

This list, of course, is not inclusive of everything you will need. As you will find out if you watch some videos about how to grow mushrooms that they give you a lot of good information, but you may start asking yourself some questions and that is because there is more to know.

A good idea is to buy a good book on growing edible mushrooms that takes you through it step by step, listing what you will need and what you can use that you already have and should use but don’t have and will need to buy. The more knowledge you have on the matter the better. And you will see as you learn how to cultivate mushrooms that some tactics work better for you than others.

Are all varieties of edible mushrooms cultivatable?

No, some will only grow in their natural habitat. Take the morel mushroom as an example.

Dried morel mushrooms fetch something like $400 a pound but I want to make sure you understand not all fungus is created equally. Morels are difficult to cultivate because they require a very specific set of growing conditions and even then you may not get a harvest.

Shiitake mushrooms are also very valuable but are not as difficult to cultivate and get a harvest. It is more work to get a viable stream of shiitake mushroom because they grow on logs, and not any log mind you, and grow outdoors.

Whether you are considering growing fungus for profit or for your own personal consumption the oyster mushroom is where I would start. They are easy to grow and you will learn a lot growing them. Consider them the undergraduate course for cultivating the edible mushroom.

 

 

 

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