Looking for types of mushrooms? Whether your interest in mushrooms lies in commercially grown varieties, wild mushrooms, or perhaps both, mushrooms are among the most fascinating of plant life. Edible mushrooms are packed with antioxidants and lend an earthy flavor to almost any cooked dish. Many mushrooms, though, lack flavor or are poisonous. Some can kill you.
Keep scrolling if you want to get straight to the list, which is right below.
In this article and list, we provide tips for avoiding poisonous mushrooms while foraging, and we highlight some of mushrooms’ health benefits and reasons you should consider adding them to your diet. We also provide a list of some of the most common mushrooms, including edible, inedible, poisonous, and lethal varieties.
Considering that there are 10,000 different recorded species of mushrooms, a 100 percent comprehensive list would be pretty unwieldy. That’s why we’ve narrowed our list down to include the best of the best, targeting both the mushroom species that are widely cultivated and types that can only be found in the wild. Our list includes the most commonly found mushroom species, the best tasting varieties, mushrooms with the most health and medicinal benefits, and the most popular edible varieties as well as poisonous species you’ll want to avoid.
If you’re interested in collecting wild mushrooms, take note: the art of mushroom picking is just that – an art. There are no scientific tests to determine if a mushroom is poisonous. Over the years, we’ve gained anecdotal knowledge about the safety of mushroom types simply by making observations. Safe mushrooms are those which have been eaten by many people with no ill effects; we learn that a mushroom is poisonous because someone has become ill from eating it.
An old saying sums it up: “There are old mushroom hunters and bold mushroom hunters; but there are no old, bold mushroom hunters.” Better to be old than bold, we say. Take an experienced mushroom hunter and a good guidebook with you when mushroom hunting. Some poisonous types mimic edible kinds so careful inspection is absolutely critical.
Aborted Entoloma (Entoloma abortivum). Weirdly named edible mushroom found in North American East and Midwest, near the base of hardwood trees in the fall.
Artist’s Conk / Artist’s Bracket (Ganoderma Applanatum). Common in Maine, and often grows on hardwoods. Inedible, but can be used as a tea or tincture.
Beech: With a firm texture and a mildly sweet, very nutty taste, the distinct flavor of the brown beech mushroom is highly regarded, and it’s considered one of the most gourmet varieties of all the oyster-like mushrooms.
Beefsteak mushroom (Fistulina hepatica). An edible mushroom that is a fleshy, shell fungus that is often around the base of oak trees in the eastern North America in the summer and fall.
Black Trumpet (Craterellus cornucopioides, C. cenerius, C. foetidus). Hard to find, reportedly very good tasting edible mushroom. Shaped like a funnel and look a little bit like a trumpet.
Burnt Matches (Eutypella scoparia). Found in winter on sticks and branches and looks a lot like a pack of burnt paper matches.
Button mushroom. Button or white mushrooms are the most commonly available mushrooms in the grocery store. In the wild, though, their look-alikes are very poisonous.
Cauliflower mushroom: Cauliflower mushrooms taste like fennel or almonds.
Chanterelle (Cantharellus) is considered a gourmet mushroom. It is bright orange or yellow, with a tender texture and intense flavor. Chanterelle grows under hardwood trees, such as oaks, and is harvested in the fall. Look-alikes are poisonous.
Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus): Chicken of the woods or chicken mushroom is an edible mushroom that, unsurprisingly, tastes like chicken. These fungi are most often found in large, fan-like clusters that are sometimes attached to a living or dead tree of some sort, depending on the species. Chicken of the woods mushrooms are usually brightly colored and come in various shades of orange and yellow.
Corn Smut (Ustilago maydis). A fungal pathogen of sweet corn that is known as a delicacy in Mexico called huitlacoche.
Cordyceps (Cordyceps militaris) is an edible mushroom known primarily for its medicinal benefits, and has been studied for both anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects.
Cremini. Sold commercially, these brown mushrooms look like button mushrooms, but they have a deeper flavor.
Elm Oyster (Hypsizygus ulmarius). A mushroom that often grows out of a tree knot where a branch was cut, 8 to 15 feet high. Usually found in winter. Hard to see or retrieve.
Enoki/Enokitake): These little edible mushrooms are easily identifiable due to their slim, pin-like appearance and white color, and they are easily found in most supermarkets. Enoki mushrooms can be enjoyed in various ways—namely pickled or quickly fried—to add a delicate nuttiness and texture to any dish.
Fly Amanita looks a bit like a yellowish or orange golf ball. This rounded mushroom is covered with white, bumpy warts. It is found in woodland areas and is poisonous.
Giraffe Spots (Peniophora albobadia). Often found on sticks and branches on the ground, in winter. Looks like the coat of a giraffe.
Destroying Angel (Amanita sp.). This highly poisonous mushroom grows in woodlands from summer to fall. It is almost identical to the edible button mushrooms you buy in the grocery store. As the name implies, it is deadly.
Gamba mushroom (Thelephora gambajun). Collected in southwestern China and sold in markets there.
Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea). Aptly named, this huge, white mushroom grows from 8 to 24 inches in diameter. It is an edible mushroom that grows in parks, meadows and woodlands.
Goblet Waxcap or Chanterelle Waxycap (Hygrocybe cantharellus). The name means like a small drinking cup because they are often shaped in a way that collects water. Usually a woodland mushroom.
Green-spored Lepiota. (Chlorophyllum). Found in grassy areas, this white, upright mushroom can grow 8 inches across. It leaves spores that are gray-green in color. Steer clear of this poisonous species.
Hawk Wings (Sarcodon imbricatus). This mushroom grows on the ground and is common in conifer woods across North America including the southern Rocky Mountains. Upright scales and brownish gray color.
Hedgehog (Hydnum repandum, Hydnum umbilicatum). Edible mushroom that sometimes grows as shelves on trees. Flavor similar to a mild chanterelle. Sometimes called Sweet Tooth.
Horn of Plenty (Craterellus cornucopiodes). This horn-shaped mushroom matures from spring to fall, depending on your climate. Edible.
Jack-O-Lantern mushroom (Omphalotus, Clitocybe). These woodland mushrooms resemble sulfur mushrooms, but they’re poisonous. They grow at the base of trees or on decaying roots.
King Oyster: King oyster mushrooms look just like regular oyster mushrooms, only they grow atop a thick white stem. Compared to regular oyster mushrooms, they have a much firmer, meatier texture.
Lactarius or milk mushroom. These brownish-red, flat-topped mushrooms grow in wooded areas. Some are edible; others are not.
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus): The strange-looking lion’s mane mushroom is also known as pompom, hedgehog and bearded-tooth, aside from its scientific name, Hericium erinaceus. This variety is a medicinal, edible mushroom that develops on hardwood trees in autumn and late summer, especially on American beech trees. Lion’s mane is native to Asia, Europe, and America. Also sometimes called monkey head, bear’s head, pom-pom and waterfall fungus.
Lobster Mushrooms (Hypomyces lactifluorum). An orange to orange-red mushroom (the color of a boiled lobster) found on the ground near conifer trees and some other hardwood trees. Sold in wild mushroom markets in the summer and fall, because it cannot be grown and is only collected.
Maitake (Grifola frondosa or hen of the woods): Maitake mushrooms have many names. Aside from maitake and Grifola frondosa, its scientific name, the mushroom is also referred to as sheep’s head, ram’s head, and hen-of-the-wood. Grifola frondosa grow well at the base of many hardwood trees, especially oaks. Maitake mushrooms begin growing in the late summer and continue until early autumn in the northeast United States.
Matsutake mushroom: The matsutake, or pine, mushroom is virtually unknown in the western world, but it is highly prized in the east, especially in China, Korea, and Japan. The matsutake is a rare find in the wild, as it grows only under certain trees and is often covered by leaves and other brush on the forest floor. Humans are not the only species to covet the pine mushroom, as it is often eaten by rabbits, deer, squirrels, and other wildlife before it can be foraged. The matsutake variety has a very distinctive spicy odor and taste.
Meadow mushroom (Agaricus). This small, humble mushroom is found in meadows and woodlands from late summer to fall. It has gills that mature from pink to dark brown.
Morel (Morchella). This delicious, edible mushroom grows in woodland areas in early to late spring. It has a sponge-like appearance. False morels resemble morels, but are poisonous.
Oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus). These mushrooms have a multi-layered appearance and a mild, flavorful taste. They’re available commercially and easy to grow at home. Oyster mushrooms are widespread in several different subtropical and temperate forests throughout the world, but in the Pacific northeast, Pleurotus ostreatus has been replaced by two of its siblings, Pleurotus populinus and Pleurotus Pulmonarius, both of which are also considered oyster mushrooms, even though they are not the common one that is known in culinary circles around the world.
Pig’s Ears (Gomphus clavatus). Sometimes called a violet chanterelle. Grows in conifer forests in the fall, on the ground. Has a vase like shape and wrinkled undersurface.
Porcini / CEP / Penny Bun / Steinpilz / King Bolete (Boletus edulis): Porcini mushrooms may be the most anticipated edible mushroom in the world. They pop up around pine trees just after the first winter rains and develop overnight. Their taste is highly regarded as one of the most delicious of any mushrooms foragers can find. They can be cooked in just about every way, and their flavor is described as distinctly rich, subtly earthy, and exquisitely nutty.
Portabello. This large, beefy mushrooms can grow up to 6 inches across. They taste delicious grilled and are often used as a meat substitute.
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum, Lingzi). Known as a medicinal mushroom with antioxidant properties that is said to enhance immunity.
Russula mushroom (Russula sp.) Russula mushrooms mature from late summer to fall and have a flattened appearance and brittle texture. Russula mushrooms are known for their vivid colors, which can range from red to purple to green to yellow. Some are poisonous, while others are safe to eat.
Shaggy mane (Coprinus) matures in late summer, and is found in grassy areas. This mushroom has an upright form. The edges of the mushroom are fringed and become dark as the mushroom grows. Edible.
Shimeji: These small edible mushrooms can be identified by their long stems and tight concave caps. They should always be eaten cooked, never raw, as they can be difficult to digest unless the mushrooms have spent some time under heat. They perform well treated with just about any type of cooking method, be it high, low, quick, or slow. So feel free to fry them or put them into a braise, and enjoy the shimeji’s subtle earthy goodness.
Shitake mushroom (Lentinula edodes) is an East Asian mushroom that is well known as both a standard edible mushroom, and one that is known for medicinal benefits.
Slippery jack (Suillus, Boletus). These large, meaty mushrooms are light to dark brown. Found under pine needles, they are edible.
Smooth white Lepiota. This edible mushroom has a tall, slender stem and is pure white. It grows in woodland areas from summer to fall.
Snow fungus (Tremella fuciformis): Snow fungus is also called wood ear because of the way it looks on the decaying logs on which it grows. The snow fungus mushroom is white, almost translucent, and appears to be trembling. It grows throughout Asia and in warmer climates around the world. High quality snow fungus mushrooms have a pale, yellowish-white hue and a mucilage-like texture. Used for more than 2000 years by Chinese and Japanese herbalists, the snow fungus is believed to treat dry coughs and heart palpitations, and it has been used to increase body fluid levels when people are dehydrated.
Straw Mushrooms (Volvariella volvacea): Straw mushrooms get their name from the rice straw that they grow on. Also known as “paddy straw mushrooms,” they grow naturally in the hot, steamy climate of southeast Asia. Though straw mushrooms are practically unheard of and rarely consumed in the United States, they are very popular around the world, ranking third in consumption of all mushrooms worldwide, right behind Agaricus bisporus (the common field mushroom that is often seen in stores) and Lentinus edodes (the medically beloved shitake mushroom). In China, straw mushrooms have been a part of the culinary traditions for over two thousand years and counting.
Sulfur or Chicken mushroom (Laetiporus). These yellow or orange mushrooms have a layered appearance and resemble oyster mushrooms. They mature from summer to fall, and are safe to eat if growing on wood.
Sweet Coral Clubs (Clavariadelphus cornucopiodes). These edible mushrooms are often found under conifer trees (like spruce or fir) in the late summer through the fall.
Termite mushrooms (Termitomyces). A mushroom that is cultivated by termites, found in East Africa, India and eastern Asia and sold in Asian markets. A gilled mushroom.
Truffles: Truffles are very rare and very well loved, which is why they are the world’s most expensive food. The truffle mushroom is hard to find, but this variety is regarded as one of the tastiest mushrooms in the world. These elusive fungi hide out underground and have to be procured by highly trained dogs with a very finely developed sense of smell. Truffles are the subterranean fruiting body of a fungus, and they lack any outward stem or cap that would emerge from the ground that would make them easier to spot with the naked eye. Truffles are knobby and somewhat ugly in appearance, but their rich, nutty, earthy flavor is loved by foodies around the world.
Turkey Tail. Considered to be a medicinal mushroom by some, and used in FDA trials to boost immunity for cancer patients during treatment.
Wine Cap: The crisp, slightly nutty flavor of wine cap mushrooms are great for sautéing, grilling, braising, and even pickling. These newly popular mushrooms feature a white stalk and a port-wine-colored cap. Aside from being a highly appreciated edible fungi, wine cap mushrooms have also gained a reputation for being a friend to gardeners for multiple reasons. The mushrooms are valued for being a great natural soil builder, a natural weed suppressor, and an attractive landscape ornamental for cultivators. They can be grown as an annual on straw or can be cultivated as a short-lived perennial if they’re planted on a denser wooden material, like wood chips.
Wood blewit mushrooms: Wood blewits are considered edible, though they do cause allergic reactions in some of the people that eat them. The allergic reactions are more dramatic when the mushrooms are consumed raw, although they do cause some symptoms even when eaten cooked. These mushrooms are cultivated in the United Kingdom, France, and the Netherlands, and they can also be found in the wild. Culinarily, this variety is commonly sautéed in butter or a cream sauce, used as an omelette filling, or tossed into a soup or stew.
Wood ear: The fruiting bodies of the wood ear mushroom are brown to dark brown with a gelatinous or slippery texture, which can be made up of smooth, wavy edges or multiple folds and wrinkles with a small amount of veining. They are small to medium in size, usually just three to eight centimeters in diameter, and appear curved and wavy with an ear-like or cup-like shape. As the fungi matures, the gill-less and stemless mushroom begins to darken, and the spores range in color from cream to white, then to yellow. When they are cooked, the wood ear mushroom becomes firm, crunchy, and very tasty with a subtle musty flavor.
Important Advice About Avoiding Poisonous Mushrooms
If you’re interested in collecting wild mushrooms, take note: the art of mushroom picking is just that—an art. There are no scientific tests to determine whether or not a mushroom is poisonous. Over the years, humans have gained anecdotal knowledge about the safety of various mushroom types simply by making observations based on experience. Safe mushrooms are those that have been eaten by many people without ill effects. In other words, we learn that a mushroom is poisonous because someone has become ill from eating it (or many people have).
Unfortunately, there isn’t a universal guideline that applies to all mushroom varieties that will help you figure out which are poisonous and which are not. You can’t even depend on mushrooms that you see an animal eat, as some species of fungi are toxic to humans and not toxic to wildlife. The only way to know for sure whether or not a mushroom is poisonous is to correctly identify its variety and be certain of that variety’s toxicity or safety. There are, however, three helpful rules of thumb that can be helpful to novice mushroom hunters because they are true the majority of the time and will help keep you from ingesting toxic mushrooms.
- Avoid mushrooms that have: white gills (gills are the ridged part right under the mushroom’s cap), stems with a ring or skirt around them, and those with a base that bulges or looks like a sack (commonly called a volva). These safety measures will help you avoid mushrooms of the Amanita variety, which are so poisonous that ingesting just one can be lethal.
- Avoid mushrooms with any red coloring on any part while you are new to foraging. Although there are some mushrooms with red coloring that are edible, it is best to avoid red altogether at first because many red varieties are highly toxic.
- The third rule may be the most important rule for inexperienced foragers to follow: Do not consume a mushroom unless you are absolutely sure that you have correctly identified its species and you are positive that the species is not poisonous. Keep in mind that there are often lookalikes in the mushroom kingdom, and many edible varieties look very similar to toxic ones. If you are just starting out with foraging and don’t know how to properly identify wild mushrooms that well, it is always a good idea to go on expeditions with an experienced hobbyist or members of a mushroom club who can help guide you and keep you from ingesting mushrooms that are poisonous or even life-threatening.
An old saying sums it up: There are old mushroom hunters and bold mushroom hunters, but there are no old bold mushroom hunters. It’s better to be old than bold, we say. Take an experienced mushroom hunter with you when mushroom hunting, or at the least, a comprehensive guidebook. Some poisonous mushroom types mimic edible kinds almost exactly, so be careful—a thorough inspection is absolutely critical for your safety.
Why Everyone Should Eat Mushrooms
As an ingredient in many diverse and exotic dishes, mushrooms have grown in popularity in the world of culinary arts. However, mushrooms are not for everyone, and it’s sometimes said that they are an acquired taste. Some people love mushrooms right from the first bite, as their meaty texture and flavors that range from nutty to earthy have an appeal that is perfect for lots of different palates and appetites.
However, the sometimes slimy texture and odd appearance of many of the different types of mushroom out there can easily turn some people off before they even notice the flavor. Therefore, it’s not a huge surprise to learn that many people just don’t like eating mushrooms. In fact, it seems that people either love them or hate them.
It’s likely that many people who dislike mushrooms have probably only tried one or two varieties of them before deciding that mushrooms just weren’t their cup of tea. Also, the texture and taste of a mushroom can vary greatly when it’s been prepared in different ways, even with one single variety. If someone has only ever tried raw mushrooms, they may be surprised to learn the differences in flavor with mushrooms that are grilled, sauteed, stuffed, or even fried. The typical American diet is often somewhat limited to a few favorite traditional meals, and mushrooms have not always been a staple of the western culinary culture. However, mushrooms are so popular in Asian countries that they are sold by street vendors the way Americans sell corn dogs.
While some people may think that all mushrooms are nearly identical, there are mushrooms in existence that taste like just about anything that you might imagine. In fact, there is a whole world of mushrooms out there, and trying just one or two of the rarer and more interesting varieties might just change a mushroom hater’s opinion forever. People who have only ever had button mushrooms simmered in their spaghetti sauce or tossed raw into a garden salad are in for a treat when they decide to broaden their culinary horizons. The lion’s mane mushroom, for example, tastes like seafood, similar to crab, shrimp, or lobster.
Aside from the cornucopia of flavors and textures that mushrooms can offer, they have been used medicinally throughout history to boost the immune system, fight off diseases and infections, and treat all kinds of health issues. As modern scientists learn more about the benefits of mushrooms, new discoveries continue to be made that prove mushrooms are more than just a tasty treat. Scientists are now discovering what natural healers have known for ages. Mushrooms are not only an important source of nutrients—they also can stimulate the immune system, play a role in treating cancer, reduce blood glucose and high cholesterol in people with diabetes, and even fight against the HIV virus. Researchers at Penn State University also determined that mushrooms are the best source of two antioxidants that fight aging and could even reduce risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, with porcinis containing the most antioxidants of all varieties.
The Healing Power of Mushrooms
Even the most common mushroom in diets across the globe, the white button mushroom, has been linked in recent studies to possible prevention of breast cancer and prostate cancer. Button mushrooms are also one of the few foods that are a natural source of vitamin D and are rich in antioxidants that reduce inflammation and boost health.
One of the most common mushrooms in Asia, the shiitake mushroom, however, has been attracting global attention because of a polysaccharide the shiitakes contain called lentinan that was shown in a 2008 study to increase survival in cancer patients, kill off tumors, and lower the chance of tumors returning. Shiitakes also contain a compound (Active Hexose Correlated Compound) that is the second most popular alternative medicine used to fight cancer in Japan.
Patients with advanced gastric cancer who take chemotherapy treatment along with compounds present in shiitakes survived longer than with chemo alone, according to a study published in 2013 in the journal Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry. The AHCC in shiitake mushrooms was also shown to eradicate HPV (human papillomavirus) in a pilot study on 10 women in 2014, the first of its kind on humans. Shiitakes are also antifungal and antibacterial, and a shiitake/oyster mushroom extract was proven in a small-scale study to fight against 85 percent of the organisms it was tested on, including fully half the yeasts and molds the extract was tested against, making it comparable to an antibiotic treatment.
Like shiitake, the maitake mushroom, also called hen of the woods, has an age-old reputation for being helpful in treating people with cancer. According to researchers at New York Medical Center, maitake extract combined with small doses of interferons shrank cancerous tumors by 75 percent. Maitake and shiitake mushrooms are also linked to boosting the immune system, and providing a rich source of nutrients, such as B vitamins.
It’s exciting to consider what uses for mushrooms scientists may come up with next as research continues. We know for sure that they have lots of health benefits for the immune system, digestion, and heart health. Mushrooms also contain hard-to-find vitamin D, pack lots of fiber, and are low in fat. They also contain the nutrients copper, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, and selenium, as well as tons of beneficial compounds and antioxidants. When you make mushrooms part of your diet, your body is sure to thank you. It’s no wonder mushrooms have been part of traditional medical treatments for centuries across the world.
Mushrooms by Category
There are a few broad categories that all mushrooms can be categorized within. There is also overlap between these categories, as some mushrooms will often belong to more than one category. For example, oyster mushrooms are cultivated across the world, but they are also found in the wild. Look at these categories as classifications, understanding that often, more than one classification will apply to a particular mushroom.
Cultivated mushrooms are mushrooms that are grown commercially. Mushrooms are produced in bulk for consumers by mushroom cultivators using a wide variety of different methods and setups to care for their harvest. Cultivated mushrooms consist of any of the varieties shoppers can buy at the market. These include button mushrooms, cremini, portabello, oyster mushrooms, shiitake, enoki, and many more.
Wild mushrooms are mushroom varieties that are harvested and foraged by mushroom hunters, taken directly from their natural growing environments in the wild. Certain mushrooms can only be found in nature, such as the types that grow on the live root systems of trees. Other mushrooms are found by foragers growing wild in nature but are also cultivated by growers. Wild mushrooms that are only available from the great outdoors often have some characteristics that make them difficult or nearly impossible to grow in a large-scale agricultural setting.
If you are new to mushroom hunting, be very careful in identifying the species of mushroom before harvesting it. It is very important that you have experience in identifying mushrooms or are foraging with an expert who can verify what you’ve found and ensure that your specimens are not poisonous before you consume them. There are many poisonous wild mushrooms that look very similar or even identical to edible mushrooms unless you know exactly what to look for to tell them apart. Some poisonous mushrooms can be fatal, so the consequences of making a mistake can’t be overstated.
There are many varieties of mushrooms that have medicinal benefits. Some popular edible mushrooms with medicinal benefits include shiitake, maitake, lion’s mane, and porcini. Other medicinal mushrooms are inedible, as they are too woody or too bitter to ingest. Instead of being eaten, these varieties can be made into teas or taken in capsule form as supplements so people can take advantage of their health benefits. Good examples of medicinal fungi are reishi, turkey tail, and chaga mushrooms. Medicinal mushrooms have been proven through scientific research to offer a number of benefits and applications, from treating cancer to strengthening the immune system.
There are many wild species of mushrooms that are poisonous, which is why it is so important to make sure that foraged specimens are positively identified without a doubt before ingesting them. The effects of poisonous mushrooms can range from making the person who eats them very sick to causing irreversible damage to organ systems. Ingesting some toxic mushrooms can even be fatal.
Some varieties of mushrooms are not ingested by humans but still have a useful function, such as being included in compost or helping to break down oil and other environmental contaminants. Scientists are always coming up with new ways to put mushrooms to use, and new inventions are released every year, including using mushrooms in biofuels, packaging, cleaning products, and more.
Psychoactive mushrooms are mushrooms that have a psychotropic effect and can cause hallucinations. Most of these contain the psychoactive ingredient psilocybin. These types of mushrooms are illegal in most countries, and their use can be hazardous to human health.
For more information on mushrooms, visit the following links:
Wild Mushrooms and Poisoning from the North Carolina State University
Information on Wild Mushrooms from Penn State University.
Common Questions and Answers About Mushrooms
How many types of mushroom are there?
More than 10,000 varieties of mushroom have been identified and recorded. However, experts suspect that this number is only a small percentage of the existing types.
What conditions do mushrooms need to grow?
Growing mushrooms is not all that difficult as long as they are provided with a conducive environment. The general conditions mushrooms need to grow are listed below, but keep in mind that each variety has its own particular requirements.
- Light: Although mushrooms don’t need light to grow, they also don’t require darkness. However, people tend to grow mushrooms in the dark or in low light because darkness encourages the moist conditions the mushrooms need.
- Moisture: Moisture is one of the main requirements for healthy mushroom growth. Encourage moisture by keeping mushrooms out of direct sunlight. Button mushrooms benefit from a moist growing medium, like manure or compost. Shiitake mushrooms grow on logs, optimally with dry bark and damp interiors. Keep the logs at 35 to 45 percent moisture by soaking them for 48 hours whenever they dry out.
- Nutrients: Instead of getting nutrition from photosynthesis like plants do, mushrooms get their nutrition by breaking down organic material. Mushrooms require fats, lignin, nitrogen, protein, starch, and sugar to grow. Button mushrooms can get the nutrition balance they need from compost made of manure and straw or a mixture of corn, peat moss, and sand. Shiitakes get their nutrients from the logs or sawdust they grow on.
- Temperature: The wrong temperature can kill growing mushrooms, so it’s important to monitor this condition carefully, using heaters or fans to manage the temperature as needed and keeping mushrooms protected from drafts or direct heat. Most species do best between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the range button mushrooms need to thrive. Shiitakes flourish between 72 and 78 degrees (but can survive between 40 and 90 degrees). Enoki mushrooms do best in cooler air, around 45 degrees.
What is the most expensive mushroom called?
According to a 2012 BBC article, truffles are the most expensive mushroom on the market in Europe at around 2,000 Euros per imperial pound. But if you’re in Asia, there’s an even more expensive option. How much would you pay to eat a mushroom that grows out of a dead caterpillar’s head and is only found in Tibet and the Himalayas – Ophiocordyceps sinensis? How about $20,000 per kilo!
Can I grow mushrooms from store bought mushrooms?
Yes, you can grow mushrooms from the stems of store bought mushrooms in a moist cellulose-based bedding material, such as straw, hamster bedding, or shredded cardboard. Remove the tops from the mushrooms you’re starting with, then cut the stems into pieces about a quarter of an inch long. In a cardboard box, paper bag, or plastic container, first add a layer of bedding, then cover the bedding with mushroom stem pieces and keep layering until the container is full.
Top with plastic with holes poked into it, and store the container in a dark location that stays between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, misting the bedding and mushroom pieces with water to keep them consistently damp. In two to four weeks, new mushrooms will begin to grow. At this point, tent plastic over the container to keep it moist, and in about 19 days, your mushrooms will be mature and ready for harvesting.
Can we eat mushrooms every day?
You can eat mushrooms daily without worrying it will harm your health. In fact, experts at Penn State University recommend people eat at least five button mushrooms a day to reduce the risk of developing neurological illness. While it is possible to consume an unhealthy amount of some of the nutrients mushrooms contain, it is unlikely that most people would ever wish to consume that many mushrooms.
Can you eat matsutake raw?
Yes, matsutake mushrooms can be eaten raw. Clean the mushroom by brushing off the dirt, then peel the stem, and slice the mushroom thinly. You can sprinkle it with salt if you like. The flavor is said to be quite strong and similar to the aroma of the matsutake mushrooms.
Can you grow mushrooms in potting soil?
While mushrooms are normally grown in a cellulose-based material, such as straw, hamster bedding, or shredded cardboard, they can be grown in potting soil with some added organic material for the growing mushrooms to consume. You can add coffee beans that have been cut in half and soaked in water for five minutes along with vermiculite to make potting soil an appropriate growing medium for mushrooms.
Can you survive eating a death cap?
While death cap mushrooms are fatally poisonous, it is possible in some cases to survive consuming them. In 2010, a 12-year-old girl survived eating two death cap mushrooms after treatment in the hospital with activated charcoal. (The girl thought the death cap mushrooms were edible field mushrooms, which look similar.) While surviving consumption of a death cap is possible, the death cap is responsible for more deaths and poisonings each year than any other variety of mushroom. Just a few bites lead to gastric distress, quickly followed by liver failure, coma, and eventually death. If you think you have consumed a death cap mushroom, you should go to the hospital immediately for treatment.
Do morels come back every year?
While morel mushrooms can reappear annually, they may also show up one year without returning in following years. Typically, morels grow in the spring (when buds on tree branches begin to bloom) and continue through summer. They may also develop the spring after a summertime forest fire, especially when fires occur in July or August.
Do morels grow in the same place every year?
Morels do not always grow in the same place each year, although it is possible for them to reappear in the same spot every spring. Morels most commonly grow in pastures, meadows, and orchards. They can also crop up in the spring following a summertime forest fire, especially when the fire happened in July or August and struck pine or spruce. After a fire, morels appear most frequently in the “soft burn” area—the outside edge where trees are not charred—between tree roots, in the shade of fallen trees, and where the bed of needles on the ground has a reddish hue.
Do morels pop up overnight?
Morels can seem to appear overnight—at least the part we eat, which is the fruiting body, the reproductive organ of the fungi. The fruiting body grows from an organism underground called the mycelium. The morel spores become cells in a 10- to 12-day period, and after 12 to 15 days are mature mushrooms that are ready to eat.
Do mushrooms need to be refrigerated?
Fresh mushrooms should be stored in the refrigerator to prevent them going bad and becoming soft and slimy. Keep them in the manufacturer’s package, or move to a plastic Ziploc bag left halfway open to allow air to circulate freely. On average, mushrooms will stay fresh for up to one week in the refrigerator.
Does dish soap kill mushrooms?
Dish soap does kill mushrooms. To kill mushrooms with dish soap, mix two or three tablespoons of dish soap into two gallons of water. Using a screwdriver, trowel, or other tool, make holes in the ground around the mushrooms. Then pour the soapy water into the holes, filling them up to the top, to kill the mushrooms.
Does picking mushrooms hurt the mycelium?
Picking mushrooms does not damage the mycelium, which lives underground and can grow another fruiting body the next year. As one expert writes, “A forager is more likely to damage mycelium by compacting or disturbing ground or leaf litter with their feet than by any picking technique.”
How do you freeze matsutakes?
You can preserve matsutake mushrooms by freezing them. Slice or chop the mushrooms, or if you wish to freeze them whole, wrap them in aluminum foil first. Then store the mushrooms in freezer-safe plastic Ziploc bags before freezing, labeled with the mushroom variety and the date.
How do I identify my matsutake?
Matsutakes are white with scales in shades of red and brown that give the mushroom a dirty or shaggy appearance. The close, attached gills and spore print are both white, and flesh is white and firm. Gills become tinged with tan as mushrooms mature, and they stain pinkish brown. The whitish stem measures two to six inches or more and is between three quarters of an inch and two inches wide. It’s common for the stem to stretch deep into the soil and to swell near the bottom. Matsutakes have a white netlike veil prone to irregular breakage on the stem that is white with red-brown flakes, but the veil stays solely white above the soft ring. The cap can measure two to eight inches or more and starts out convex, eventually becoming flat. The aroma of matsutake mushrooms is described as a cross between cinnamon candies and dirty gym socks.
How do you start mushroom hunting?
Mushroom clubs exist in every state in the U.S. as well as around the world, and joining one is an excellent way to start mushroom hunting. The clubs usually host mushroom walks, where beginners can join more experienced mushroom hunters to find and identify species in the wild, learning from the seasoned hunters’ expertise. Especially when you’re new to the hobby, it’s safer to join a group expedition than to go mushroom hunting alone. An online search for mushroom clubs in your area can help you connect with others who are interested in mushroom hunting so you can join an upcoming walk.
Are stinkhorns poisonous?
Stinkhorn mushrooms are not poisonous to people or pets. They also do not harm plants that grow near them. Despite their offensive odor, stinkhorns are harmless.
How do you know a mushroom is poisonous?
There is no one guideline that applies to all varieties of mushrooms that will help you determine which are poisonous and which are not, regardless of what you may have heard in the past. (You can’t even trust mushrooms if you see other animals eating them, as wildlife can eat some species that are toxic to humans.) The only way to know whether or not a mushroom is poisonous is to correctly identify its variety and then to be certain of whether or not it is poisonous before eating it.
While identifying a mushroom species with complete certainty before eating it is the only way to know whether or not it was poisonous, there are some rules that are useful to beginners because they apply most of the time.
- Look out for mushrooms that have white gills (the ridged part under the mushroom’s cap), stems that have a ring or skirt around them, or a base that bulges or resembles a sack (called a volva). These guidelines will help you avoid mushrooms of the Amanita variety, which are so poisonous that eating just one can kill you.
- Although some mushrooms that have red coloring on them are edible, avoid those with red on any part of the mushroom while you’re new to foraging, as many toxic varieties are red.
- Unless you are absolutely sure what species a mushroom is and whether or not it is poisonous, do not consume the mushroom. Also, keep in mind that many edible mushrooms resemble toxic ones. If you’re just starting out and don’t know your mushrooms that well, it’s always best to go foraging with an experienced hobbyist or mushroom club that can offer some guidance.
How do death caps kill you?
The deadliest poisons in a death cap mushroom are called amatoxins, and 60 percent of the amatoxins a death cap contains travel straight to the liver upon consumption. The amatoxins attach themselves to enzymes in the liver that create new proteins and disable those enzymes. Because our cells cannot function properly without this enzyme, the amatoxins cause liver failure. Symptoms begin with gastric distress, including abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting, then progress to organ failure, coma, and death.
How do you identify a death cap mushroom?
When identifying a death cap mushroom, it is safe to handle and smell it, as long as you do not consume it. Do wash your hands after handling a death cap so you don’t spread its toxins to any food you may touch afterward. The features most often used to identify a death cap are: a green or yellow tint to the whitish cap, white gills that do not turn brown, cup-shaped volva at the bottom of the stem, large skirt, and white spore print. To take a spore print, separate the cap from the stalk and place it on a dark-colored piece of paper overnight. The signature white spore print of the gills is left behind on the paper. The aroma of the death cap is similar to ammonia and can be detected if you hold the mushroom about three inches from your nose.
The off-white top of death cap mushrooms often has a tint that’s yellow or green, in shades ranging from pale green to olive. When the mushrooms have grown quite mature, the caps are sometimes brown and develop one or two cracks across their surface. Caps measure between three and six inches and can also have one or more areas of white veiling. The cap is often slightly sticky or slippery to the touch. The gills beneath the cap will be white, crammed together near the outside edge, and finely attached to the stem.
Immature specimens will have a more rounded cap shaped like a bowl with a curve so pronounced the cap may touch the stem. The cap flattens as mushrooms mature. The death cap’s whitish or yellowish stalk will measure between 2.8 and 5.9 inches, and it is sometimes covered in fine scales. Usually, the stalk is a shade lighter than the cap. The volva at the bottom of the stem is cup-shaped and relatively large, measuring up to 1.9 inches around, and it may be underground. This feature may break away as the mushroom matures. A thin membrane, called the skirt, grows around the stem where it connects to the mushroom cap. The death cap’s skirt is white and encircles the top two or three inches of the stem, but it may be destroyed in handling.
Death caps grow in temperate forests that have lots of oak trees acorss the globe, appearing from late summer to fall. They grow underneath trees, from one to 15 feet away from the trunk. Death caps are often spotted growing right out of the roots of a tree. Though oak and pine trees are their preferred homes, death caps are also found growing under beech, birch, chestnut, or eucalyptus trees. You may also find them growing in grassy areas instead of under trees in the forest, although this location is rare.
What happens if you touch a death cap mushroom?
Although death cap mushrooms are fatally toxic, they can’t harm you simply through contact with skin. There is no need to wear gloves when handling death cap mushrooms. However, you should wash your hands after touching death caps so you don’t transfer any residue from them to your food or get it in your mouth.
How do you test if a mushroom is poisonous?
Use a field guide to compare the mushroom’s physical features to the guide’s descriptions until you find an exact match. You should also smell the mushroom to help identify it. Examine the mushroom for its color and size, shape of the cap, texture when touched, scales or warts, cuplike volva around the bottom of the stem, skirt encircling the stem where it meets the cap, and qualities of the gills.
Some gills are “false,” meaning they cannot be removed from the cap without breakage, while “true” gills can be separated from the cap without damaging it. Use dark-colored paper to take a spore print by removing the cap from the stem and placing the cap on the paper with the gills touching its surface, pressing it down lightly. Leave it there overnight, and in the morning, check the color of the spore print the gills leave behind.
Aside from a field guide, online searches and the expertise of people in mushroom clubs can be valuable resources for people learning to identify mushroom varieties and how to determine which are poisonous and which are not. Using a field guide specific to your region can be especially useful. Never consume a mushroom unless you are completely certain of its type, because many poisonous varieties are lookalikes with harmless species.
How fast do morels grow after rain?
When adequate moisture and the appropriate soil type are available, morel spores grow into cells in a 10- to 12-day period. After 12 to 15 days, the spores will have become fully mature, displaying their trademark spongy caps.
How long can you keep morels in the fridge?
Morels are best when eaten within four days of being picked. After five days, many sources say the morels will no longer be good to eat. However, some mushroom hunters report successfully storing them in the refrigerator for one or two weeks. These varying results are probably due to the difference in how fresh the mushrooms were when they were picked.
Store morels in the refrigerator in a plastic Ziploc bag that’s open halfway. While some sources discourage using a paper bag and others recommend it, all agree that the container you store morels in must be well ventilated. Some people say storing morels in a paper bag makes them dry out faster and causes a spongy texture. Storing them in a bowl covered with a damp paper towel is discouraged because doing so will speed up the spoilage process. Don’t wash morels or get them wet until you’re about to use them.
How long do you soak morels?
When your morels are very dirty, you may wish to soak them to remove the dirt before eating them. The spongy, honeycomb-shaped caps have crevices that can hold lots of dirt and debris. Fill a large bowl with cool water mixed with a few tablespoons of salt per gallon. Soak the morels for 20 to 30 minutes, swishing and swirling them around with your hands a few times to dislodge the dirt. The salt water will also draw out any bugs that may have hitched a ride in the morel’s nooks and crannies.
After soaking, place the morels in a colander, and run fresh water over them for one or two minutes before allowing them to drain. Then move the mushrooms to a paper towel or dish towel to dry. Only soak and wash the mushrooms you plan to eat immediately, as contact with water drastically reduces storage time.
Is a mushroom one of your five a day?
Mushrooms do count as one of your recommended servings of vegetables. The serving size is 80 grams, which equates to 14 baby button mushrooms, one large flat mushroom, or four large cup-shaped mushrooms.
Is mushroom a fungi?
Mushrooms are a part of fungi, but they are not the only type of fungus that exists. The mushrooms we eat are the fruiting body (similar to a flower in plants) of the underground organism of the fungus, called mycelium, which consists of threadlike strands and is located underground.
Is mushroom a meat?
Although mushrooms substitute for meat in many dishes and can be cooked much like meat, they are not meat but are instead the fruiting body of fungal organisms.
Is mushroom a vegetable?
For scientific purposes, mushrooms are classified as fungi, but although they are a fungus and not a true vegetable, the USDA counts them as a vegetable in the human diet because of the nutrients they contain.
Is mycelium bad for plants?
Mycelium is beneficial to soil because it adds moisture, helps to break down organic matter, and prevents erosion. Therefore, mycelium is good for plants because it improves the soil. In fact, fungi and plants have a symbiotic relationship that is mutually beneficial. The strands of mycelium intertwine with plant roots and aid the plants in absorbing water and nutrients, also strengthening the immune system of the plants.
Mycelium does not use photosynthesis but instead takes in sugars sent to it by the roots of the plants. In return, the mycelium rewards the plants with essential nutrients it collects from the organic material it breaks down, like nitrogen and phosphorus. Mycelium also encourages plant root growth and protects the plants from harmful nematodes. When mycelium is present in soil, plants growing there will enjoy better health.
Should I soak morels in salt water?
Soaking dirty morels in salt water is recommended just before you eat the morels or cook with them. The salt water soak is important because the spongy texture of the caps, similar to honeycomb, provides lots of little spaces for dirt and bugs to hide, and soaking the morels in salt water removes this debris. Soak in cool water, adding a few tablespoons of salt per gallon, for 20 or 30 minutes. Swirl the morels around with your hands once or twice as they soak to help dislodge dirt and insects. Then remove the morels to a colander, running cool water over them for a minute or two before letting them drain. Once they’ve drained, place the morels on a dish towel or paper towel to dry. Only soak and clean the morels you plan to eat immediately, as they won’t store well once they’ve gotten wet.
Should mushrooms be washed?
Wash whole mushrooms just before you plan to cook with or eat them. Do not wash them before storing them, however, as the moisture will speed up their deterioration in the refrigerator. Do not wash sliced mushrooms, or the sliced flesh will take in too much water. Also, do not wash mushrooms you intend to eat raw. Instead, clean them with a dry toothbrush. A salad spinner is ideal for washing mushrooms, as the spinning helps dislodge dirt.
Should you cut or pull mushrooms?
Some people recommend cutting mushrooms to harvest them because they say it disturbs the underground mycelium less than pulling and results in higher yield. Others recommend harvesting by pulling because they believe the stump that remains when a mushroom is cut can lead to disease as it rots. A comprehensive study lasting more than 30 years found no difference in yields between the two methods, so picking is recommended to avoid the chance of pathogens infecting the stump left behind from cutting. The exception is large mushrooms or those that fruit in troops from their base, such as chanterelles, because when those types are cut, new mushrooms can grow from the stump.
What are the four types of fungi?
Fungi have four categories of classification, divided by their means of reproduction. In addition to the four groups listed below, there are two conventional categories: Deuteromycota/fungi imperfecti (no longer capable of reproducing sexually) and lichens (not an organism but a symbiotic association between a fungus and algae). Slime molds and water molds are sometimes referred to as fungi but are not officially categorized as part of the fungal kingdom.
- Ascomycota: yeasts and sac fungi
- Basidiomycota: club fungi
- Chytridiomycota: chytrids
- Zygomycota: bread molds
What is a mushroom in the food pyramid?
Although they are scientifically classified as a fungus, in the food pyramid mushrooms count as a vegetable due to the nutrients they contain and their culinary uses.
What kind of mushroom looks like a carrot?
Stinkhorn mushrooms look like carrots because of their bright orange hue and spiky finger-like shape.
What month do morels come up?
The month that morels come up depends on the region where they are growing. As a general rule, morels begin to mature whenever tree buds break into bloom, and they continue to be available through mid to late summer, depending on the weather. In most of the United States, morels appear between early April and the middle of June. Some parts of the U.S. start seeing morels in late March. In Canada, they start growing in April on the west coast and in May in the prairies. For information specific to your region, contact the nature and wildlife department in your state, country, or province, or consult online sighting maps [https://www.thegreatmorel.com/morel-sightings/].
What months do mushrooms grow?
Mushrooms grow year-round but are most commonly available in the fall, with the exception of morels, which begin to appear in spring and persist through summer. Different varieties are available at different times of year, and exact timelines vary by region. For specifics, consult a field guide, or call the nature and wildlife department in your area.
What season is mushroom season?
Most mushrooms are harvested in the fall, but morels are available from spring to summer. Because the season mushrooms mature varies depending on the variety and the region, foragers should consult a field guide or contact their area’s nature and wildlife department for details.
What temperature kills mushroom spores?
When temperatures stay above 74 degrees Fahrenheit, mushrooms will stop growing, and temperatures that remain above 86 degrees for several hours are fatal to the mycelium (the underground organism mushrooms come from). Mushrooms also stop growing when temperatures dip below 55 degrees, and freezing temperatures are fatal to some, but not all, species.
What to do after picking morels?
Once you’ve finished picking morels, sort through your harvest, and throw out any that are slimy or have dried out. Do not wash morels until you’re ready to eat or use them, as the moisture will speed up their deterioration. Morels must be stored in the refrigerator.
You will sometimes see recommendations to store morels in brown paper bags or a bowl covered with a damp paper towel, but these methods don’t provide the longest storage time. Instead, place the morels in a plastic Ziploc bag, and leave it halfway open. People report morels lasting for more than two weeks when stored this way.
When you’re ready to eat or cook with morels, first soak them in salt water to get rid of the dirt and insects that can hide in their honeycomb-textured caps. Use a few tablespoons of salt per gallon of water, and soak for 20 or 30 minutes, swishing the morels around once or twice to dislodge debris. After soaking, move the morels to a colander, run cool water over them for a minute or two, then allow them to drain. Once they’ve drained, dry the morels on a dish towel or paper towel.
You can preserve morels by dehydrating or freezing them if you need to store them for longer. As an alternative, when they’re preserved in a freeze dryer, morels will stay fresh for more than 25 years. To dehydrate morels, use a needle to string morels on heavy thread like button thread, and hang them in your kitchen until they are completely dry and crisp. Then move them to an airtight glass jar and store somewhere cool, dry, and dark.
To freeze, first soak in salt water and rinse, then slice morels in half lengthwise. If you like, you can dip the morels in an egg wash and roll in flour or cracker crumbs before freezing so they’re ready to fry. Spread the morels in a single layer on a cookie sheet, then freeze for about two hours. Store frozen in a freezer-safe Ziploc or plastic container for up to six months.