Mushrooms are delicious fungi that may be added to any meal, but most mushrooms sold in supermarkets aren't very flavourful, if truth be told. They're fairly bland, and honestly quite boring - especially as there isn't much choice available.
This article will introduce some of the tastiest mushrooms available without requiring a lot of effort and the best bit is you can easily grow them all at home!
Maitake Mushrooms (Grifola frondosa)
Maitake mushrooms are called "hen of the woods" because their fruiting body resembles that of a hen sitting on her eggs, with many leaf-like folds surrounding the base and forming a ruffled skirt around it.
Maitake mushrooms are a good source of potassium and B vitamins.
They can be eaten raw or cooked. In terms of taste, maitake mushrooms have a distinctly earthy and nutty flavour. It has been compared to the flavour of chestnuts.
Maitake is best used in soups such as asparagus soup or stews since its strong taste may be released into the sauce.
It's also used as a meat substitute for vegans and as a stuffing for chicken. Roasted maitake mushrooms are very tasty on their own with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
This mushroom is one of the easiest to find in supermarkets especially Asia supermarkets, it's sold in different forms dried, vacuum-packed or frozen.
Maitake mushrooms are easy to grow on your own, just buy the mycelium from some suppliers and grow it on logs at home. They usually take 1-2 months before they are ready for harvesting.
Oyster Mushrooms (Pleurotus spp.)
Oyster mushrooms are thin, tree-like fungi that grow in clusters or shelves on dead trees, logs and stumps. They come in different colours such as white, pink and green, blue and golden.
Oyster mushrooms have a high protein content with about 20-25% of their dry weight being protein. They are also rich in Vitamin B, D and minerals
Pink oysters are popular among vegetarians since it has a similar shape and taste to chicken. It is often used in place of meat in vegan dishes.
The white oyster tastes like button mushrooms and is best for soups.
The green ones taste like seafood.
The blue oysters taste like blue cheese and it is notorious for its strong smell even before cooking.
The golden oyster is great with garlic butter when roasted to a crunchy texture. It is sometimes even used in place of garlic to give dishes that extra garlicky flavour!
Oyster mushrooms can be eaten raw although they can have a slimy texture.
When cooked, oysters retain their meaty consistency and have a somewhat chewy consistency that makes them commonly used in stir-fries, stuffed, as a replacement for steak and as stuffing.
One of the tastiest ways to cook oyster mushrooms is just roasting them on their own with a little bit of oil and seasonings such as salt and pepper.
Oyster mushrooms are readily available in supermarkets and Asian markets. It's sold dried, fresh or frozen, whole or sliced into strips for cooking as desired.
To grow oyster mushrooms at home, just buy the oyster spam and innoculate in a bag of straw - or you can even grow it on cardboard!
Enoki Mushrooms (Flammulina spp.)
Enoki mushrooms are aromatic, thin and have long stems with tiny caps at the end. They come in white or brown colour.
Enoki mushrooms are high in Vitamin B and rich in minerals such as potassium. It is also low in calories and fat while being rich in dietary fibre.
The texture of enoki mushrooms when cooked is firm yet tender with a mild, almost bland taste that complements other ingredients without overpowering them.
Enoki mushrooms are often used to replace meat because of their dense texture and bland taste
Enoki mushrooms can be eaten raw or cooked. Since they have a mild taste, they are usually used as an accent ingredient such as adding them to soups and stir-fries instead of the main focus of the dish
The white enoki mushroom is more common than its brown counterpart, they are sold fresh and in most supermarkets
The brown enoki mushrooms can be found in Asian markets and usually come with the roots still attached. These types of enoki mushroom taste like sawdust even when cooked which is why white ones are more popular
To grow your own enoki mushrooms at home, just buy spores or mycelium and inoculate logs yourself.
Shiitake Mushrooms (Lentinula edodes)
Another type of delicious mushroom that has been enjoyed for centuries is the shiitake. Shiitake mushrooms are usually available in supermarkets year-round and come either fresh or dried.
They have a relatively short shelf life so they should be used soon after buying them.
This mushroom has many medicinal properties such as lowering cholesterol, anti-cancer effects and controlling diabetes symptoms. It also contains many nutrients such as Vitamin B, D and minerals.
Shiitake mushrooms have a chewy texture and rich umami flavour that enhances the taste of dishes to which it is added. It is used in soups, sauces, stir-fries and omelettes
Shiitake is relatively easy to grow at home. The Mycelium or spawn can be bought in most speciality stores or online and then grown on hardwood logs. Sawdust in bags will also give you Shiitake with a faster grow time vs using logs.
White button mushroom(Agaricus bisporus)
White button mushrooms are one of the most popular types of edible fungi consumed especially in America. They have a mild and pleasant taste that goes well with other ingredients and they also absorb the flavours of the food it's cooked with very easily.
White button mushrooms can be used in recipes such as soups, stews, sauces, sandwiches and salads. They are also great on their own steamed or roasted with a little bit of oil and salt or pepper for seasoning
Button mushroom is low in calories and fat while being high in dietary fibre. It has many health benefits such as diuretic properties, anti-cancer properties and immune system enhancement
White button mushrooms can be grown at home just like any other type of mushroom. They are also available fresh or canned year-round at most supermarkets
Which tasty mushroom will you grow first?!
The types of mushrooms listed are not only delicious but have some pretty amazing health benefits. If you're looking for a fun way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet or just want to try something new, growing these mushrooms at home is the perfect option!
If all of this sounds like too much work and hassle, just buy pre-packaged mushroom growing kits available online or at most speciality stores. They're extremely easy to use and can yield some great results.