Mushrooms are a type of fungi that existed on the planet since the beginning. Even before trees sprung up on Earth, giant mushrooms that reached 24 feet in height and three feet in width covered the ancient landscape. There are about 10,000 named species in North America, which make up just a third or a fifth of all existing mushrooms.
In terms of percentages of all the mushroom that’s out there, half are inedible but harmless, a quarter is edible but not incredible, 20 percent will make you sick, four percent will be tasty to excellent, and one percent can kill you.
All over the world, mushrooms have been consumed as food or used for medicinal purposes. It is said that the Egyptian pharaohs loved their mushrooms so much that they declared it food for the royalty and banned the commoners from eating them.
The upper classes in ancient Greece and Rome, on the other hand, used mushrooms in their cuisines. The Romans also employed tasters to make sure that the mushroom is not poisonous.
Table of Contents
- 1. Beech Mushrooms
- 2. Black Trumpet Mushrooms
- 3. Button Mushrooms
- 4. Chanterelle Mushrooms
- 5. Cremini Mushrooms
- 6. Enoki Mushrooms
- 7. Hedgehog Mushrooms
- 8. Hen of the Woods Mushrooms
- 9. King Trumpet Mushrooms
- 10. Morel Mushrooms
- 11. Oyster Mushrooms
- 12. Porcini Mushrooms
- 13. Portobello Mushrooms
- 14. Shiitake Mushrooms
1. Beech Mushrooms
Also called Clamshell mushrooms, these mushrooms have caps that are brown and a crunchy, but sweet and nutty flavor. However, this only applies when they are cooked, which is the best way to eat them. If they are eaten raw, you will notice a bitter taste that you’re not likely to be fond of.
2. Black Trumpet Mushrooms
Black Trumpet mushrooms usually bloom in the East and Midwest late in the summer, but it grows all winter long in the West. Also known as the Horn of Plenty mushroom or the Trumpet of the Dead mushroom, they have a smoky, rich flavor and when dried, they are similar to the Black Truffle mushroom.
3. Button Mushrooms
If you go to the supermarket and buy mushrooms, chances are good that you’re buying basic button mushrooms. Also called white mushrooms, they are always harvested when they’re very young, and they have a delicate, but earthy flavor. Moreover, since they are available all year long, they are very easy mushrooms to find. If you’re looking for something to bake or stuff, try the older button mushrooms, which have a mild flavor and a firm texture.
4. Chanterelle Mushrooms
If you cook with Chanterelle mushrooms, you should use them in a dry sauté because they have such a high water content that they will soon be cooking in the water anyway. Chanterelle mushrooms can be almost any color, but they are usually a golden brown. They smell and taste a little fruity and peppery, and they are perfect as a topping for entrees. Compared to many other types of mushrooms, they last a very long time if kept in the refrigerator – up to 10 days. Delicate in texture and flavor, they also go great with eggs.
5. Cremini Mushrooms
These are also sometimes called baby portobellos, and they look similar to the white button mushroom except for their size, which is slightly larger. The Cremini mushrooms are also a light shade of brown, instead of white. They have a mild flavor, and they can be used in place of white button mushrooms if that’s what your recipe calls for.
6. Enoki Mushrooms
Enoki mushrooms look a little like bean sprouts with their small caps, white color, and long stems. Popular in Asian dishes, you can buy these mushrooms either canned or fresh, and there is a lot of flavor to them. They are a crispy type of mushroom, so they go great in many salads and soups. Native to Japan, once you try Enoki mushrooms you are guaranteed to come back for more.
7. Hedgehog Mushrooms
Also known as the Sweet Tooth mushroom, this mushroom smells and tastes sweet, unless it is an older mushroom, in which case it may taste a little bitter. The Hedgehog mushroom tastes a lot like the Chanterelle mushroom and grows hardily in the winter months on the West Coast. It also has a meaty, nutty, and crunchy taste.
8. Hen of the Woods Mushrooms
In Japan, these mushrooms are also called maitake mushrooms, and they have a lot of flavors packed into them. Found growing at the base of oak trees, Hen of the Woods mushrooms are used in both Japanese and Western dishes, and they are rich, earthy, and look similar to a flower. Perfect for stir-fry dishes and many types of soup, the mushrooms hold their shape well when cooked, making them a very attractive addition to many of your dishes.
9. King Trumpet Mushrooms
Sometimes called the King Brown mushroom or the French Horn mushroom, these are very thick and meaty mushrooms, and they are also quite large in size.
10. Morel Mushrooms
Morel mushrooms are rather unattractive, but they are delicious mushrooms that come alive with flavor when you eat them. They are rather chewy and look similar to a honeycomb. They are also quite savory and are especially delicious when you sauté them in butter. Morel mushrooms can be very expensive, and once you try them you’ll understand why.
11. Oyster Mushrooms
Oyster mushrooms look dissimilar to most other types of mushrooms, but there is no need to be intimidated by them. They have a delicate, sweet flavor and are very affordable as well. The reason they are called Oyster mushrooms is that of their appearance, and they have an almost anise-like taste at certain times of the year. Simple to cook with, the Oyster mushroom can be used in a variety of dishes. They also come in colors such as grey, brown, and even a reddish color, and the younger they are, the more flavorful they are.
12. Porcini Mushrooms
Porcini mushrooms are very meaty and flavorful, and they are often found in numerous Italian dishes. Much like sourdough, Porcini mushrooms have a flavor and taste that is creamy and nutty, and they are light brown in color. They are also sold either canned, dried, or fresh, but the dried mushrooms need to be soaked in hot water for at least 15 minutes before you cook them. In addition, Porcini mushrooms can get up to 10 inches across, so they get quite large at times.
13. Portobello Mushrooms
When white button mushrooms fully mature, their caps grow outwards and they are called Portobello mushrooms. With its mild flavor and somewhat meaty texture, you can even use these types of mushrooms as a substitute for meat in many dishes. Some people consider them one of the tastiest mushrooms in existence, and they are especially yummy when you grill them.
14. Shiitake Mushrooms
Growing mostly in areas such as Korea, China, and Japan, these mushrooms are naturally very commonly found in a variety of Asian dishes. Like Portobello mushrooms, Shiitake mushrooms are chewy and meaty, and they are frequently included to enhance various sauces and soups. They have a lot of flavor to them, and they can often be found in powder form, which you can look for if you can’t find them fresh.