Mushrooms are not like your typical garden plant. Different conditions are required to successfully grow mushrooms. While plants use photosynthesis to develop, mushrooms receive their source of energy from the growth medium.
Another difference found in the production of mushrooms is they reproduce asexually by spore and sexually by way of underground growth. One of the challenges in growing mushrooms is the potential of airborne microorganism contamination.
The active culture of a growing mushroom is referred to as Mycelium. The mycelium or culture is put on a substrate for seeding. This process is referred to as inoculation. Another type of inoculation is spores. Spores are not as developed as mycelium. Spores should only be handled in a lab setting under a laminar flow cabinet.
Various substrates are used for growing various types of mushrooms. Some substrate options include sawdust and logs. Cultivation of different types of mushrooms has specific details about how to achieve success in cultivation.
Atmospheric conditions are essential to successfully growing mushrooms. Continuous monitoring and adjustments to maintain the recommended atmospheric condition are vital in mushroom production.
Different Types of Mushrooms
Most people know only the popular button or portobello mushrooms they see in the grocery store. But there are many other types of mushrooms to explore. Some mushrooms are edible and have flavors ranging from sweet to nuts, while others even taste lobster.
Other varieties can be used for their medicinal benefits to increase your immune system, reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, and may even be useful for treating cancer and other serious diseases.
In this article, we will show 22of the most popular varieties of mushrooms, how to use them, and we will show you the main categories in which they fall. And before you start cooking, be sure to take a look at our guide on how to cook mushrooms — the right way.
20 Main Mushrooms Types and Their Uses
1. White Button Mushrooms
Growth Button Mushrooms are also called baby mushrooms or white mushrooms. Button mushrooms are by far the most common type of mushroom that is almost guaranteed to be found in grocery stores. They are cut into slices and used as a topping in pizzas, in spaghetti sauces, and most other dishes that use mushrooms.
2. Cremini Mushrooms
Cremini Mushrooms Cremini, also known as crimini mushrooms, are part of the same species as buds (Agaricus bisporus), but they are a brown variation with a slightly deeper taste. All mushroom buds were brown until 1926 when a mushroom farmer in Pennsylvania found a group of white buds growing on their beds, which he cloned and began selling as a new variety.
3. Hedgehog Mushrooms
Hedgehog mushrooms or sweet-toothed mushrooms take their commons name from the gills under their hat. They hang, forming sharp shapes that resemble a hedgehog. Hedgehog is quite safe to harvest because there are no toxic lookalikes. They have a sweet hazelnut taste and offer a crispy texture so well cooked. They can be stir-fried, pickled, or stewed in milk or broth.
4. Chicken Of The Woods Mushrooms
Chicken Bone The Woods Chicken Mushrooms The Woods is more scientifically called Laetiporus meaning “with shiny pores”. This mushroom grows in clusters on the side of the trees and is of beautiful orange color. Usually deep orange in the middle with a lighter orange color around the edges. As expected, it gets its commons name because many people think it tastes like chicken. In fact, you can cook it in the same way that you would prepare chicken. This makes it an excellent substitute for meat for vegetarians.
5. Black Trumpet Mushrooms
Black trumpets Mushrooms are sometimes called black chanterelles like truffles. They are not a very attractive mushroom to look at, but their taste is very sought after. People describe the taste as rich and smoky. When left to dry, its taste acquires even notes of black truffle. There are no toxic lookalikes, so they are good for beginners to identify. Although they may be quite difficult to find.
6. Wood Blewit Mushrooms
Blewit Wood mushrooms are considered edible, although they can cause allergic reactions in some people. Especially when consumed raw, although they can cause reactions even when cooking. So it is better to start eating small amounts. They can be found wild, and they are also grown, for example, in the UK, France, and the Netherlands. Blewits can be eaten stir-fried in butter or cream sauce, as an omelet filling recipe, or in a stew.
7. Mushrooms Morels
Morels are among the most sought-after wild mushrooms. They are not grown or sold in stores. In fact, families often have secret “morel spots” where they know they grow these mushrooms that they save for themselves, going every year to harvest these delicious mushrooms. Blackberries have a hazelnut and earthy taste. They have a fleshy texture but they are still tender. There are toxic “real homes” and “fake hives”, so if you are going to look for them, it is important to know the difference.
8. Enoki Mushrooms
Often enoki mushrooms can be detected in the supermarket. These mushrooms are most commonly used in Asian cuisine. They come in large clusters of small mushrooms with very long stems and small tops. They go very well in soups, especially ramen.
9. Shimeji Mushrooms
Shimeji is another mushroom native to East Asia, but it can also be found in northern Europe. They are also known as white beech mushrooms. They add a rich umami taste to the dishes. However, they have a rather bitter taste when eaten raw, so they should always be cooked. They go very well on fries or with seafood or wild game.
10. Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake Mushrooms are commonly used in Asian cuisine. They are also considered to have medicinal benefits in traditional Asian medicine. Shiitake mushrooms have a fleshy texture very similar to portobellos. They taste more smoky and earthy when cooked. Shiitake mushrooms are the most commonly sold dry.
Knowing When and How To Harvest Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms grow naturally in the wild and can also be successfully cultivated. Knowing when and how to harvest the Shiitake Mushrooms will provide a wonderful addition to your culinary efforts.
The Shiitake mushroom is ready for harvest with the mushroom cap is opened about 50-70%. This is generally about when the veil breaks. The veil is located between the stem and cap. It is during this stage the cap edges remain rolled beneath the cap.
Harvesting Shiitake From Logs
Shiitake mushrooms can be broken from the log upon which they are growing by using twisting and pulling motion. The mushrooms can also be removed by cutting them from the bark of the log. There should only be a small amount of wood remaining on the stem. You can trim the stem base off using scissors or a knife after harvesting.
Harvesting Shiitake From Sawdust
Sawdust-grown shiitake usually have stems that are longer than those going on logs. You will want to trim the stems to prevent the sawdust which clings to the stems from falling into the gills of other mushrooms. Keep the stem length under two-thirds of the size of the cap diameter.
Storage of Mushrfreshly
The freshly picked mushrooms should be placed in a container providing maximum ventilation and cooling. Plastic containers specifically for mushrooms can be purchased. These containers usually accommodate 6-15 pounds of mushrooms.
11. Portobello Mushrooms
Portobellos Mushroom is the last stage in the life of the mushroom button. These mushrooms are much larger than cremini or mushroom pimples and have a more fleshy texture, but still, retain a sweet taste. They have their cap completely open, exposing the dark bowels underneath. Portobellos are large enough to be used as vegetarian burgers or stuffed with other ingredients and are often cooked instead of fried.
12. Oyster Mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus)
If you ate only mushroom pimples, then the appearance of oyster mushrooms may be a little intimidating at first. Do not worry if you do not like seafood. They may look like oysters, but they don’t taste like them. They offer a sweet and sweet taste and make a great transition from portobellos to more adventurous types of mushrooms. Check out our Oyster Mushroom Recipes page for some inspiration. If you are interested in trying to grow mushrooms at home for yourself, oysters are one of the easiest varieties to try.
13. Royal Oyster Mushrooms
Royal oysters Mushroom resemble ordinary oyster mushrooms that grow on a thick white stem. They are a large mushroom, and usually, 4 or 5 come to a tray. They have a very firm fleshy texture compared to ordinary oyster mushrooms.
14. Chanterelle Mushrooms
Chanterelles mushrooms have a distinctive bright yellow color. They have a sweet and spicy taste that goes well with eggs. They last longer in the refrigerator than most other varieties of mushrooms – about 10 days. There are some very similar-looking mushrooms called the cat or the lantern and the false chanterelle. If consumed, these lookalikes can cause diarrhea and severe cramps.
15. Porcini Mushrooms
Also known as porcini mushrooms, are most commonly used in Italian cuisine. They have a distinctive taste that some people compare with sourdough bread, with slightly creamy flavors and nuts. They can be very large, up to 10 inches wide! But most are harvested much smaller, about 1 inch in size. Porcini mushrooms can be purchased fresh or canned, but they are sold more commonly dried. To use dry porcini, you need to soak them in warm water for 10-15 minutes, then they can be cooked as usual.
16. Maitake Mushrooms
Maitake Mushrooms are also called forest chicken. However, they should not be confused with forest chicken mushrooms. Neither with shiitakes, which also have a similar name that sounds. Maitake means “dancing mushroom” in Japanese. These mushrooms are too difficult to eat once they reach a reasonable size. However, they are used for their medicinal properties. Maitake fungi have been shown to increase the immune system. They also have a hypoglycemic effect that can help reduce blood sugar and control diabetes and can also help with hypercholesterolemia. Read the complete guide to Maitake mushrooms to learn what maitake mushrooms are, how to identify them, and how to align them or try to grow them yourself.
The matsutake mushroom, or pine mushroom, is not well known in the West. But it is a very popular mushroom in Chinese, Korean and Japanese cuisine. It has a distinctive spicy smell. Matsutake mushrooms can be difficult to find because they grow under specific trees and are usually hidden by leaves and other brushes on the forest floor. They are also quickly eaten by rabbits, deer, squirrels, and other wild animals if found first.
17. Reishi Mushrooms
Mushrooms Reishi or Lingzhi mushroom is often considered the gold standard when it comes to medicinal mushrooms. It is a polypore, which means that it is a hard cork fungus that grows on the side of the trees and is difficult to eat. It is quite rare in nature, but fortunately, now it is grown on logs of hardwood or sawdust on a commercial scale. Not all the effects of reishi fungi have been scientifically proven, but some alleged uses include treating fatigue, lowering cholesterol, improving the immune system (sometimes even claimed to be able to fight HIV and AIDS), lowering blood pressure and inflammation, and treatment of symptoms of the urinary tract.
18. Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Lion Mane The lion’s mane grows in furry pieces on the side of trees and may seem somewhat like formations hanging inside the caves. The lion’s mane is intended to increase concentration and mood, maintain brain health, support the immune system, and reduce inflammation in the body. Unlike most medicinal mushrooms, lion mane is really edible. It has a fibrous meat texture and a sweet and salty taste that compares to lobster or crab meat.
19. Gigantic Mushrooms
Gigantic mushrooms can grow up to large sizes. Up to 20 kg or 44 lbs of weight! However, they are collected even if they are small and immature for culinary use. Once the flesh of a balloon turns yellow or brown, it began to create spores that can cause stomach upset. Slap balls can be confused with immature versions of toxic mushrooms, and they need to be cut to check before eating. Balls of edible balls have a solid white interior, while other mushrooms will be yellowish inside or will have the silhouette of a cork-type mushroom. If they are allowed to grow to full size, swollen mushrooms will burst, sending billions of spores into the air.
20. Magic Mushrooms
Magic mushrooms are wild or cultivated mushrooms containing psilocybin, a psychoactive compound, and a natural hallucinogen. Psilocybin ”psilocybe” is considered one of the best-known psychedelic, according to Mental Health Services and Substance Abuse Administrations1. Psilocybin is classified as a List I drug, which means that it has a high risk of abuse and has no currently accepted its medical use in treatment in the United States. The UK.
Although some cultures have been able to use the hallucinogenic properties of some fungi for centuries, psilocybin was first isolated in 1958 by Dr. Albert Hofmann, who also discovered lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). Magic mushrooms are often prepared by drying and eaten by mixing food or drinks, although some people eat freshly picked magic mushrooms.
Also known as Magical mushrooms are also known as shrooms, mushrooms, blue mezhies, golden tops, freedom caps, philosopher stones, liberties, Amani, and agaric. Drug class: Psilocybin is classified as a hallucinogen. Common side effects: Magic fungi cause nausea, yawning, relaxation or drowsiness, introspective experience, nervousness, paranoia, panic, hallucinations, and psychosis.
21. Cauliflower Mushrooms
Cauliflower mushrooms are open mushrooms composed of clusters of leaf-shaped flying branches that emerge from a solid base. Mushrooms vary considerably in size, with an average of 10-30 centimeters in diameter, and can be found in many different profiled shapes. The curved and flexible surface varies in ivory color, from pale yellow to white, depending on maturity, and is smooth and waxy with small pores on one side that release spores. Cauliflower mushrooms have a fragile consistency, semi-firm, and chewable with a strong aroma of musk and earth. Once cooked, they have a neutral, earthy, and subtly walnut taste with hints of fennel and almond.
The Mystic Mushroom
Mushrooms are a fruit that comes from even a larger being. Fungi is the classification names given to mushrooms which are not plants or animals. The mushroom body thrives on living tree roots and dead trees.
The size of the mushroom varies by species from only a few millimeters to surprisingly several inches. Mushrooms absorb water and will grow astonishingly quickly when large amounts of water have been absorbed. The fruit appears almost overnight.
Both animals and humans eat from the fruits of the mushroom body. There is an abundance of types of mushrooms with species of more than two thousand. Most of these mushrooms are poisonous with only 2.5 to 5% of the mushrooms being edible. Another unique feature of these poisonous mushrooms is that they often take on the appearance of edible mushrooms. This can prove to be fatal for the careless hunter and lover of mushrooms.
The toxic components of the mushroom become elusive. Some of the mushrooms have enough toxins to cause sudden death to the person eating them. Yet other types of mushrooms build up toxins within a person over time. These mushrooms if eaten may not be associated with any problems until one fatal day when the toxins of the last mushroom accumulate to a deadly proportion in the persons’ body.
Chinese medicine has used mushrooms essentially for years. Mushrooms are known to contain, vitamins B, C, and D. Mushrooms are recognized as lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Some have indicated that mushrooms may prevent cancer.
The mushroom is a mystical addition to your cultivation and culinary delight.
Important Facts about Mushroom Substrates
A lot of different substances can be used for mushroom substrates. Substrates are the material that mushrooms are grown on. Peaches grow on peach trees and mushrooms grow on a substrate.
The type of substrate used will depend upon the type of mushroom you are growing.
There are many more types of substrates used in mushroom cultivation that will be covered in this article.
Substrates are a basic essential for mushroom growth. A better understanding of substrates will allow more success in growing mushrooms.
Some of the most common types of substrates include:
Oat, Rye, and wheat straw are also known as cereal straw serve as a good substrate for growing mushrooms. It is cheap and readily available. It is also good for several mushroom types. Cereal straw is one of the most versatile substrates available. There are some disadvantages of using straw including the need to treat the straw with heat pasteurization before using to remove the microbes which could inhibit mushroom growth.
Logs can be successfully used as a mushroom substrate. It is important to select the type of wood, which the mushroom you will be growing, grows on in the wild. Common woods for log substrates include:
Hardwoods of a thicker type like oak take a long time before mushroom production. One of the advantages of using logs is that mushrooms can be produced for several years on the same log.
Enriched sawdust is another substrate that can effectively be used to grow mushrooms. Since sawdust does come from wood the same factors that should be considered in selecting a type of log should be applied to selecting a type of sawdust. Sawdust by itself may not be rich enough to grow mushrooms but enriching sawdust with a supplement of nitrogen can be an effective substrate. More mushrooms will be yielded with enriched sawdust rather than just sawdust. One of the drawbacks of using sawdust is that it has to be sterilized much like straw to remove the microscopic competitors.
A lot of mushroom growing kits use sawdust blocks but these blocks come prepared for your ease of use.
Selecting An Exotic Mushroom For Cultivation
Anyone can grow mushrooms of the exotic type. Today there are commercial kits available to get you started in the process of growing mushrooms.
When deciding which type of exotic mushroom you want to cultivate several things should be considered.
- You will need to look at the space you have available for mushroom cultivation. Larger quantities of mushrooms can be grown outdoors as compared to indoor space. Small spaces on a porch, den, or a corner in the kitchen can be used for indoor cultivation.
- Exotic mushrooms require shade.
- Consider your taste and texture preference. Each exotic mushroom has its unique texture and flavor. Select the type you like best.
- Consider the price for the different mushroom growing kits.
Kits are a great way for the beginner to get started with mushroom cultivation. The process is well outlined and the kit usually has all the materials needed for mushroom cultivation.
After you have gained confidence in obtaining a harvest of mushrooms from your purchased kit you can look at other types of mushrooms cultivations. Many people continue to use cultivation kits because of their ease of use and success.
If you are not sure which type of mushroom you would like to cultivate you can make a selection and then try another type later. You maybe like most mushroom lovers and find that you enjoy cultivating and eating several different types of mushrooms.
Don’t hesitate you can enjoy cultivating mushrooms today and enjoy the fruits of your labor in just a few short weeks. The added flavor and texture of your homegrown exotic mushrooms to your favorite dishes is sure to be rewarding.
Fall Is The Perfect Season For Mushrooms
Throughout the world, mushrooms are a delightful addition to any mushroom harvest-time meal. Fall harvest which is coming soon is associated with some very specific smells both in the field and in the kitchen.
Several varieties of mushrooms are in season during the fall time. These wonderful, rich, and flavorful varieties make for a perfect complement or addition to other harvest vegetables. For a unique flavor and eye-appealing dish add a few of your favorite mushrooms to any harvest dish to awaken your family and guests’ taste buds.
Mushrooms make a delicious warm soup that is just the right addition to any meal on a cool fall evening. The earthy smell of the mushrooms enhances the harvest flavors and smells that are indicative of the fall season. Those who enjoy gardening should consider mushroom cultivation as a complement to their other gardening passions.
Try this mushroom recipe out for flavor as the weather gets cool this fall.
- Fall Harvest Soup
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 squash
- ½ onion
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup fresh mushrooms
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Dash pepper
- Garlic if desired.
Peel and dice the sweet potato, squash, onion. Place prepared vegetables in a large pot. Add chicken broth, salt, cinnamon, pepper. Add water to 2 inches above other ingredients. Cook over medium-high heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender. Adding water if needed. The potatoes, squash, and mushrooms should cook down to make a rich flavorful soup.
Mushrooms can be dried and used in dishes throughout the year for a little robust flavor in general and holiday recipes. Mushroom kits are a simple way to start mushroom cultivation.