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Mushroom Varieties & Cooking Suggestions

Updated on May 13, 2012

White Mushroom (Agaricus bisporous)

Perhaps the most well known of all mushrooms. The three most common varieties include:

Button Mushrooms (champignons)

Physical characteristics:

  • Youngest of the white mushroom variety
  • Tightly closed around the stem,
  • Fine texture

Flavour:

  • Delicate flavour

Cooking suggestions:

  • Raw in salads or dips
  • Incorporated in pasta dishes or stir-fries
  • Crumbed or tempura style

Cup Mushrooms

Physical characteristics:

  • Veil has just begun to open around the stem
  • Firm texture

Flavour:

  • Deeper flavour than button mushrooms

Cooking suggestions:

  • Sautéed
  • Stuffed
  • Grilled
  • Barbequed
  • Add in soups, sauces, casseroles and stir-fries

Flat Mushrooms

Physical characteristics:

  • Most mature of all white mushrooms
  • Darker gills than other white mushrooms

Flavour:

  • Dense, meaty texture

Cooking suggestions:

  • Pan-fried with fresh herbs
  • Grilled
  • Remove stalks and stuff with cheeses, meats or roasted vegetables
  • Don’t waste the stalks - slice them, season with salt, pepper and oil and bake in the oven to create ‘mushroom chips’.
  • Use as a ‘patty’ in hamburgers


Oyster Mushrooms

Physical characteristics:

  • Fluted oyster shell shape and soft texture
  • Available in white, beige, pink or yellow colours; white is the most common variety

Flavour:

  • Delicate and subtle with succulent flesh

Cooking suggestions:

  • Best cooked quickly
  • Rapidly absorbs flavours during cooking
  • Goes well with seafood, chicken, veal and noodles

Shiitake Mushrooms

Physical characteristics:

  • Broad umbrella shaped cap with tan gills

Flavour:

  • Rich, ‘woodsy’, meaty texture, rich aroma

Cooking suggestions:

  • Best used cooked
  • Absorbs flavours well
  • Use in braises, stir-fries, soups, sauces or barbequed
  • Also sold in a dried form – soak in water for 30 minutes to reconstitute. Stems are removed prior to cooking and can be used to flavour stocks or soups
  • Water used for reconstituting dried shiitakes can be used to flavour a dish

Swiss Brown Mushrooms (cremini)

Physical characteristics:

  • Tan to dark brown colour, closely related to the white mushroom
  • Firm flesh

Flavour:

  • Deeper and earthier than white mushrooms

Cooking suggestions:

  • Use in pasta sauces, risotto and casseroles
  • Marinate and add to antipasto platter

Portobello Mushrooms

Physical characteristics:

  • Larger ‘flat’ version of the Swiss Brown mushroom

Flavour:

  • Dense meaty texture
  • Deeper flavour than the Swiss Brown

Cooking suggestions:

  • Grill, roast, barbeque,
  • Use as a ‘patty’ in burgers
  • Stuffed with chesses, meats or vegetables

Enoki Mushrooms

Physical characteristics:

  • Tiny button caps and long thread-like stems
  • Creamy white in colour

Flavour:

  • Mild fruit flavour
  • Crunchy texture when eaten raw

Cooking suggestions:

  • Best eaten raw in salads or sandwiches
  • Can also use in soups, broths, stir-friends
  • When purchasing, make sure it is firm and dry at the stem end. Trim base before using.

Cepe Mushrooms (Polish mushrooms)

Physical characteristics:

Brown capped, bulging belly-like stems. Gathered from the forests of Europe and grown in North America, China and South Africa as well. These mushrooms are sold dried. Porcini is one of the most popular cepe mushrooms.

Flavour:

Nutty, robust flavour

Cooking suggestions:

Best in casseroles or stews

Black Fungus (Wood ear fungus)

Physical characteristics:

  • Frilly moss-like appearance
  • Dark brown colour, somewhat translucent
  • Shiny slippery side and a velvety underside

Flavour:

Almost tasteless, but valued for their crunchy texture

Cooking suggestions:

  • Mainly used to add texture to Asian dishes
  • Add to stir-fries, soups, Vietnamese rice paper rolls
  • Available dried and sometimes fresh from Asian and gourmet food shops. Soak dried fungi for 15-30 minutes to reconstitute and then quickly cook to retain crunch

Recipes:

Stir-fried cucumber, black cloud ear fungus and chilli

Stir-fried bell peppers with black fungus

Pork belly with wood ear fungus


Snow Fungus (white fungus, silver ear)

Physical characteristics:

  • Gelatinous, watery white fruit bodies with thin but erect seaweed-like branching fronds which are often crisp at the edges
  • Pale and yellowish-white colour, almost transparent

Flavour:

Almost tasteless but absorbs liquids well.

Cooking suggestions:

  • Mainly used to add texture to Asian dishes
  • Used in sweet and savoury dishes
  • Add to soups
  • Popular ingredient in Asian desserts
  • Available dried and sometimes fresh from Asian and gourmet food shops. Soak dried fungi for 15-30 minutes to reconstitute and then quickly cook to retain crunch.

Sweet Dishes:

Savoury Dishes:

For More Recipes Ideas

Go to the Cooking Corner at the Mushroom Council, Taste.com.au and Wildmushroom Recipes.

Comments

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    • sabrani44 profile image

      sabrani44 

      6 years ago

      Great hub, it was so informative! Thanks for sharing!!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      7 years ago from the short journey

      Have been thinking that I want to learn more about mushrooms. Thanks much for a great reference hub.

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