ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

7 Culinary Mushrooms

Updated on October 20, 2014
Assorted Mushrooms
Assorted Mushrooms | Source

The standard, white button mushroom has been available in grocery stores for a long time, and it is rare to find a person who has never tried them. Then came the exotic mushrooms.

The oyster mushroom was the first mushroom to hit the market in the mid 80's, after that came the spindly white enoki, the meaty shiitake, the mammoth portobello, and the delicate chanterelle.

Clever cooks quickly learned that replacing the ubiquitous button mushroom with one of its uncommon cousins added instant panache to a meal. Bistros, cafes and trattorias have added these mushroom to their dishes and the celebrated truffle is no longer holding center stage.

The hearty porcini is an unpretentious and versatile mushroom, poviding the earthy foundation for a Tuscan risotto. A tart can be turned into a culinary work of art just by adding the delicate chanterelle. Stuffed portobello's can stand on their own as an appetizer or a vegetarian main course.

Before, these mushroom were mostly available from greengrocers and gourmands. Today, supermarkets sell them in sampler packages, so consumers can taste the different varieties.

Living in a small area, these sampler packages have only recently hit the shelves in our local supermarket. I have loved mushrooms my entire life, but have been wary of trying different ones than the standard button mushroom, that I am used to. So, I decided to pick up a sampler pack and find out more about these mushrooms.

Button Mushroom on a Button Mushroom
Button Mushroom on a Button Mushroom | Source

Button Mushroom

Keeping for one week, these common white mushrooms were originally brown. Today they can be found in both the white variety and the brown variety, depending on what you wish to use them for. Flavorful, versatile and readily available, they will keep for at least one week.

Cleaning - Brush with a mushroom brush or rub gently with a damp paper towel. Can be washed under running water, but do it quickly, because they will soak up the water quickly.

Cooking - Add to dishes at any time you wish. Towards the end if you like them lightly cooked or at the beginning if you want more mushroom flavor. Great for stew, soups, stir-frys, omlettes and just about any other dish you can think of to add mushrooms to. I love them raw in salads.

Cremini Mushrooms
Cremini Mushrooms | Source
Portobello Mushroom
Portobello Mushroom | Source

Cremini Mushrooms aka Portobello Mushrooms

Cremini mushrooms are also known as Champignon de Paris. This brown mushroom has a more intense and ealthy flavor than its cousin, the button mushroom.

Portobello mushrooms are actually oversized cremini mushrooms, and they are versatile and reasonably priced. Grill, it stuff it, roast it or slice it into pastas and ragouts. Has a meaty flavor and chewy texture.

Cleaning - The stems are quite tough, these are usually removed and can be discarded or saved for soup stock. Then the gills are removed by gently scaping the inside of the mushroom with a spoon. The mushroom are then wiped down with a damp paper towel and are ready to use.

Cooking - Grill it, stuff it, roast it or slice it into pastas and ragouts, this mushroom has a meaty flavor and chewy texture. Can be used in any recipe that calls for mushrooms.

Oyster Mushroom
Oyster Mushroom | Source
Oyster Mushroom
Oyster Mushroom | Source

Oyster Mushroom

Oyster mushrooms are one of the easiest to grow. This lobed, delicately flavored mushroom ranges in color from cream to grey-brown. Provides an enriched background flavor to a dish.

Cleaning - The stems are tough, so these are usually discarded after being cut off. The most common method of cleaning them is just wiping with a paper towel. They are quite moist, so if you wish to rinse under water, try to do it quickly and gently shake off excess as soon as you are done. They can also be gently pressed between paper towels to remove any excess liquid.

Cooking - Oyster mushrooms come dried and fresh. Dried mushrooms can just be added to the dish, they will rehydrate themselves in the sauce. Also great for stir-fried dishes, they are best when added at the last stage of cooking to get the best flavor. Simply tear these mushrooms in desired pieces and add to your wok. These mushrooms are wonderful if you heat them briefly in butter or olive oil, and then add them to a light cream sauce. Pour this sauce over fillets of sole or chicken breats. If you are able to find large oyster mushrooms (some are more than 1 inch thick), these are wonderful dipped into slightly beaten eggs, rolled in bread crumbs and fried lightly in butter.

Enoki Mushrooms
Enoki Mushrooms | Source

The Japaneses Enokitake

Resembling a bean sprout, this mushroom is found mostly in Japan, growing on tree trunks, roots and branches. They also grow wild in North America in the fall and winter. With an aroma that is slightly fruity and mild in taste, these little mushrooms were made famous in Asia, where they feature prominently in many Asian dishes. Also called Enoki and sometimes Velvet Shank.

Cleaning - Enoki mushrooms can be found canned, dried or fresh. If you are using canned mushrooms, drain and add them at the end of cooking. If you are using dried mushrooms, add them about 3/4 way through cooking so they have a chance to rehydrate. When using fresh mushrooms wash these mushroom right before you are going to use them.

Cooking - This mushroom is ideal for adding raw to salads or at the last minute in Japanese-style clear soups.


Choosing Mushrooms

  • Choose mushrooms that are moist and plump, without soft, discolored spots. A fresh mushroom smells like damp earth.
  • Store mushrooms in a paper bag in the refrigerator. Or on a try with a moist paper towel covering them. A plastic bag allows water to condense, creating soggy mushrooms.
  • Trim stem ends just before using. With portobellos, remove the tough stem and save it for stock or soup.
  • Wash mushrooms only when required. Otherwise, clean gently with a mushroom brush, or wipe with a damp cloth.
  • To dry your mushrooms, thinly slice and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Keep in a warm, airy place for two days or until completely dry.
  • Most mushrooms do not need to be rehydrated, just add them to your dish and continue cooking as your normally would.
  • Always store dried mushrooms in an airtight jar, in a dark place.


Do you pick mushrooms to eat?

See results
Truffles | Source

Truffle Mushrooms

Truffles are at the top of the most prized and expensive mushroom. With only a few varieties that are edible, this sought after mushrooms grows underground.

Throughout history, pigs have been trained to find the truffles and dogs have been known to find them too.

Finding fresh truffles is next to impossible in stores, but you can find them frozen and canned. There is also oil and salt that can be used to add their distinctive earthy flavor to your meals.

Cleaning - If you are lucky enough to have fresh truffles, remove any soil from them before eating. They must be washed with water and brushed, as you won't be peeling them. Dry them carefully with a paper towel. Frozen or canned, use according to packaging instructions.

Cooking- Fresh truffles are scraped or grated onto food. Add them to sauces and soups just before eating. They are wonderful with chicken, fish, souffles, omelettes, pasta, and rice. If you store fresh truffles in the refrigerator with eggs or rice, the flavor can penetrate through the eggshell and flavor the rice nicely. They also add a wonderful flavor to cream and cheese sauces. Make your roasted chicken fantastic by inserting thin wedges under the skin. Refrigerate overnight before roasting.

Morel Mushroom
Morel Mushroom | Source

Morel Mushrooms

I have picked morels for years. Although most commonly found the first five years after a forest fire, these delicate, nutty flavored mushrooms also grow under young popular trees.

If you get them dried you may find that they have a more intense, smoky quality. Probably a side effect of coming up in the blackened remains of forest fires.

Groups of people travel across North America, in search of last years forest fires, to make their living picking these mushrooms.

Cleaning - I usually get my morels fresh in the spring. If they are really fresh, just run them under briefly under running water. If they are larger and a little older, soak them for about 10 minutes in salt water to draw out and kill any bugs they may have.

Cooking - Morels are a rare and costly culinary mushroom with a honeycombed cap that absorbs sauces. Add them fresh or dried to soups, stews, stir-fry and cream based sauces. I like them cut up and fried in butter with a little garlic just on their own.

A word of caution: If you are out picking morels in the spring, be wary of the false morel, these are poisonous and can cause stomach upset. They are not good to eat. Most common identification trait is the long stem that they grow from and the irregular shaped heads. Real morels have a short almost non-existent stem.

Shaggy Manes
Shaggy Manes | Source

Shaggy Manes

These mushrooms are found during the fall rains, along the side of a dirt road They are best picked when smaller, with no purple or black color along the bottom of the mushroom. Shaggy on the outside, these are one of my favorite mushrooms. I have looked for, and picked shaggy manes every chance I get throughout my life.

Cleaning - Check your mushroom over and make sure there is no discoloring at the bottom. If there is, simply cut off the area that isn't white. Cleaning shaggy manes is easy, but time consuming. Start at the bottom of the mushroom with a mushroom brush or a toothbrush (my mom used to just use a knife) and brush or scrape upwards towards the top, to remove the outside shaggy layer.

Cooking - Shaggy Manes are wonderful breaded with cracker crumbs and lightly fried in butter and garlic. They are great with steak. When adding to soups and stew, make sure you add them at the end, as they do break down the longer they are cooked.

A word of caution: When picking shaggy manes, do not confuse them with the springtime growing inky mushroom. While good to eat, these smooth surfaced, white mushrooms block your bodies ability to metabolize alcohol, which can be fatal if you drink after eating them.

Watch Shaggy Manes Grow

Thank you for stopping by!
Thank you for stopping by! | Source

Have you tried all of the mushrooms above?

See results

© 2013 Eco-Lhee


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)