14 Types of Mushrooms and their Uses

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With so many types of mushrooms, the possibilities (and recipes) are endless. High in fiber and vitamins, mushrooms are also fat- and cholesterol-free. They’re popular around the world due to their versatility as well as their meat-like heft and texture — and these days, we generally don’t have to travel further than the produce aisle to explore them all. Here, we take a look at the flavor profiles and characteristics of the most popular mushroom varieties.

1. White Button Mushroom / order magic mushrooms online Berlin.

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Alternate names: able mushroom, cultivated mushroom, button, champignon (de Paris)

Characteristics: The most common and mildest-tasting mushroom around. Ninety percent of the mushrooms we eat are this variety. Less intensely flavored than many of its more exotic kin, it can be eaten either raw or cooked, and works well in soups and salads, and on pizzas.

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Black Barley With Mushroom Broth

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2. Crimino Mushroom (Crimini, pl.)

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Alternate names: Cremini, baby bellas, golden Italian mushrooms, Roman, classic brown, Italian brown, brown mushrooms

Characteristics: A crimino is a young portobello. Although the crimino is darker, firmer and more flavorful than its cousin the white button mushroom, the two can be used interchangeably. Increasingly, retailers hoping to capitalize on the popularity of the portabellos are selling crimini mushrooms as “baby bellas.”

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Turkey Breast Roulade with Crimini, Porcini, and Pancetta


3. Portabello Mushroom

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Alternate Names: Portobella, field mushroom, open cap mushroom

Characteristics: Common in Italian cooking, dense, rich portobellos lend depth to sauces and pastas and make a great meat substitute. When portabellos are young and small, they’re called criminis. If you want a bun-substitute, you can even use the mushroom’s flat cap. Mushrooms of this variety are as wide as the palm of your hand, and their meaty texture stands up to grilling and stuffing (or both!).

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Grilled Portabellas with Soppressata Stuffing


4. Shiitake Mushroom

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Alternate Names: Shitake, black forest, black winter, brown oak, Chinese black, black mushroom, oriental black, forest mushroom, golden oak, Donko.

Characteristics: In Japanese, shiitake means “oak fungus,” which describes where the mushrooms can be found in the wild. These days, however, most shiitakes are cultivated. They’re best identified by their umbrella-shaped brown caps, which curl under ever so slightly. Fresh shiitakes have a light woodsy flavor and aroma, while their dried counterparts are more intense.

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Beef, Shiitake, and Snow Pea Stir-Fry


5. Maitake Mushroom

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Alternate Names: Hen of the Wood, sheepshead mushroom, ram’s head, kumotake, dancing mushroom

Characteristics: From afar, this mushroom can look like a head of cabbage. Cultivated, as well as found in the woods, these mushrooms are often sold in clusters with their soft, feathery caps overlapping. This mushroom has an earthy aroma and a gamy flavor, and is native to both the northwestern United States and Japan. They grow wild east of the Mississippi River in August and September.

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Seared Maitake Mushrooms


6. Oyster Mushroom

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Alternate Names: Tree oyster, angel’s wings, pleurotte en huître, abalone mushroom, shimeji

Characteristics: Although these 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. Like their namesakes, they’re whitish in color and fan-shaped, and possess a delicate odor and flavor. Oyster mushrooms are found in many Japanese and Chinese dishes such as soups and stir-fries.

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Grilled Oyster Mushrooms


7. Enoki Mushroom

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Alternate Names: Enokitake, enokidake, futu, winter mushrooms, winter fungus

Characteristics:__ The edible variety of these mushrooms feature small, shiny white caps attached to thin stems and possess a distinctive crunch. They’re good raw. In the wild, they grow on Chinese Hackberry trees, ash trees, mulberry trees, and persimmon trees.

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Black Cod with Mushrooms and Sansho Pepper


8. Beech Mushroom

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Alternate Names: Buna shimeji, beech brown mushroom, clamshell mushroom

Characteristics: Cooked, these crunchy brown-capped clusters are crunchy with a sweet nuttiness. Raw, however, they taste bitter.

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Wonton Soup with Mushroom-Zucchini “Meatballs”


9. King Trumpet Mushroom

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Alternate Names: King oyster, trumpet royale, ali’i oyster, boletus of the steppes, king brown mushroom, French horn mushroom, king brown mushroom

It’s all about the thick, meaty stem on this jumbo mushroom

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Pasta With Mushrooms and Prosciutto


10. Black Trumpet Mushroom

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Alternate Names: Horn of plenty, black chanterelle, trumpet of the dead

This wavy fungi is a late-summer find in the Midwest and East and grows all winter in the West. Black trumpets have a rich, smoky flavor and notes of a black truffle mushroom when dried.

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Gia’s Mushrooms and Egg


11. Chanterelle Mushroom

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Alternate names: Golden, yellow, chanterelle, egg mushroom, girolle, pfifferling

Characteristics: Trumpet-like, with a depression in the center of its cap, the chanterelle is one of the most popular wild mushrooms. (Because they’re notoriously difficult to cultivate, chanterelles are usually foraged in the wild.) Golden-hued, fleshy and firm, they’re described as having an apricot-like scent. They’re common in many European cuisines, including French and Austrian, and are also native to the United States. They are particularly abundant in the West and Pacific Northwest from September into the cold months.

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Tender Chanterelle Salad


12. Hedgehog Mushroom

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Alternate Names: Sweet tooth, wood hedgehog

Characteristics: With a sweet smell and taste, it makes sense that this mushroom is also called the “sweet tooth” (unless the mushroom is older — then it can take on a bitter flavor). Crunchy, nutty and meaty, this mushroom tastes very similar to a chanterelle. This hardy mushroom grows in the winter on the West Coast.

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Wild Mushroom Risotto


13. Morel Mushroom

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Alternate Names: morchella

Characteristics: A fleeting springtime treat in the Midwest and West. You can’t mistake its conical, spongy look and woodsy flavor.

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Roasted Prawns with Morels and Morel Butter


14. Porcino Mushroom (Porcini, Pl.)

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Alternate names: Cèpe, bolete, king bolete, borowik, Polish mushroom, Steinpilz, stensopp, penny bun

Characteristics: Slightly reddish-brown in color, porcini are one of the most prized wild mushrooms, sought out for their smooth texture and aromatic, woodsy flavor. They’re popular in Italy, as well as in France, where they’re called cèpes. Fresh porcinis aren’t as easy to locate in the United States, but dried ones are easily reconstituted by soaking in hot water. Prized in Italy, these have a brief summer season in the East and pop up in the spring and fall on the West Coast.

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Wild Mushroom Noodle Soup.

mushroom, the conspicuous umbrella-shaped fruiting body (sporophore) of certain fungi, typically of the order Agaricales in the phylum Basidiomycota but also of some other groups. Popularly, the term mushroom is used to identify the edible sporophores; the term toadstool is often reserved for inedible or poisonous sporophores. There is, however, no scientific distinction between the two names, and either can be properly applied to any fleshy fungus fruiting structure. In a very restricted sense, mushroom indicates the common edible fungus of fields and meadows (Agaricus campestris). A very closely related speciesA. bisporus, is the mushroom grown commercially and seen in markets.

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Umbrella-shaped sporophores are found chiefly in the agaric family (Agaricaceae), members of which bear thin, bladelike gills on the undersurface of the cap from which the spores are shed. The sporophore of an agaric consists of a cap (pileus) and a stalk (stipe). The sporophore emerges from an extensive underground network of threadlike strands (mycelium). An example of an agaric is the honey mushroom (Armillaria mellea). Mushroom mycelia may live hundreds of years or die in a few months, depending on the available food supply. As long as nourishment is available and temperature and moisture are suitable, a mycelium will produce a new crop of sporophores each year during its fruiting season.

Fruiting bodies of some mushrooms occur in arcs or rings called fairy rings. The mycelium starts from a spore falling in a favourable spot and producing strands (hyphae) that grow out in all directions, eventually forming a circular mat of underground hyphal threads. Fruiting bodies, produced near the edge of this mat, may widen the ring for hundreds of years.

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A few mushrooms belong to the order Boletales, which bear pores in an easily detachable layer on the underside of the cap. The agarics and boletes include most of the forms known as mushrooms. Other groups of fungi, however, are considered to be mushrooms, at least by laymen. Among these are the hydnums or hedgehog mushrooms, which have teeth, spines, or warts on the undersurface of the cap (e.g., Dentinum repandumHydnum imbricatum) or at the ends of branches (e.g., H. coralloidesHericium caput-ursi). The polypores, shelf fungi, or bracket fungi (order Polyporales) have tubes under the cap as in the boletes, but they are not in an easily separable layer. Polypores usually grow on living or dead trees, sometimes as destructive pests. Many of them renew growth each year and thus produce annual growth layers by which their age can be estimated. Examples include the dryad’s saddle (Polyporus squamosus), the beefsteak fungus (Fistulina hepatica), the sulfur fungus (P. sulphureus), the artist’s fungus (Ganoderma applanatum, or Fomes applanatus), and species of the genus Trametes. The clavarias, or club fungi (e.g., ClavariaRamaria), are shrublike, clublike, or coral-like in growth habit. One club fungus, the cauliflower fungus (Sparassis crispa), has flattened clustered branches that lie close together, giving the appearance of the vegetable cauliflower. The cantharelloid fungi (Cantharellus and its relatives) are club-, cone-, or trumpet-shaped mushroomlike forms with an expanded top bearing coarsely folded ridges along the underside and descending along the stalk. Examples include the highly prized edible chanterelle (C. cibarius) and the horn-of-plenty mushroom (Craterellus cornucopioides). Puffballs (family Lycoperdaceae), stinkhorns, earthstars (a kind of puffball), and bird’s nest fungi are usually treated with the mushrooms. The morels (MorchellaVerpa) and false morels or lorchels (GyromitraHelvella) of the phylum Ascomycota are popularly included with the true mushrooms because of their shape and fleshy structure; they resemble a deeply folded or pitted conelike sponge at the top of a hollow stem. Some are among the most highly prized edible fungi (e.g., Morchella esculenta). Another group of ascomycetes includes the cup fungi, with a cuplike or dishlike fruiting structure, sometimes highly coloured.

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Other unusual forms, not closely related to the true mushrooms but often included with them, are the jelly fungi (Tremella species), the ear fungus or Jew’s ear (Auricularia auriculara-judae), and the edible truffle.

Mushrooms are free of cholesterol and contain small amounts of essential amino acids and B vitamins. However, their chief worth is as a specialty food of delicate, subtle flavour and agreeable texture. By fresh weight, the common commercially grown mushroom is more than 90 percent water, less than 3 percent protein, less than 5 percent carbohydrate, less than 1 percent fat, and about 1 percent mineral salts and vitamins.

Poisoning by wild mushrooms is common and may be fatal or produce merely mild gastrointestinal disturbance or slight allergic reaction. It is important that every mushroom intended for eating be accurately identified (see mushroom poisoning).

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