For centuries, mushrooms have been known as a delicious addition to any food. Whether it’s roasted, boiled, or stir-fried, their taste is simply out of this world. If we want to add some flavor to any dish we’re cooking, then mushrooms would be the thing. Its meaty taste is also the reason why vegetarians also favor it in their cooking.
Mushrooms come in a lot of varieties. We can find the usual ones in the supermarket shelves, while those camping out can sample the treats that grow in the woods. You might not believe the kinds of mushrooms that can actually be eaten. Of course, we all know that not all mushrooms are edible. Some can cause hallucinations, others can downright kill us. It pays to know which is which when it comes to eating mushrooms, so here’s a list of twenty mushrooms that are perfectly safe for you to eat.
1. Boletus edulis (Fungo Porcino or Pig Mushroom) – The flavor of this mushroom has been described as nutty and slightly meaty, with a smooth, creamy texture, and a distinctive aroma reminiscent of sourdough. This mushroom is highly used as an ingredient in most cuisine and mostly found in pasta, soups or risotto.
2. Clitocybe nuda (Blewit or Blewitt) - Blewits can be eaten as a cream sauce or sautéed in butter, but it is important not to eat them raw, which could lead to indigestion. They can also be cooked like tripe or as omelette filling, and wood blewits also make good stewing mushrooms.
3. Grifola frondosa (Maitake/ Hen of the woods/ Sheep’s head) – Maitake is rich in minerals (such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium), various vitamins (B2, D2 and niacin), fibers and amino acids. It adds a wonderful flavor to many kinds of dishes.
4. Lentinula edodes (Shiitake) – dried shiitake mushrooms are favoured by many culinary chefs because it improves its ability to release more umami (meat-like) flavour in the dishes it’s cooked with. Whether they are fresh or dried, shiitake mushrooms can be uysed in various cuisines, especially sautéed.
5. Various Tuber species (the truffles) – known for their earthy flavors and aroma, truffles are highly prized flavorings for any dishes. Because of their prohibitive prices, truffles are commonly used sparingly. Paper-thin saving can be put on foiegras, pates, stuffings, eggs, and almost any kind of dish that you can think of.
6. Auricularia auricula-judae (Wood ear/Tree ear) – it has a soft, jelly-like texture when fresh, and it hardens when dried. Of course, rehydrating it returns it to its original characteristics. It is the favorite ingredient in many Asian cuisines, with its mild flavor and purported healing properties.
7. Hericium coralloides (Bear’s Head Tooth) – this particular mushroom has a nice, chewy texture and a flavor that is similar to seafood. Its color doesn’t change even if you slice it. It has a nice flavor that enhances soups and other dishes.
8. Ganoderma lucidum (Ling Chih, Reishi) – although it has a bitter taste, Reishi mushrooms are favoured for its medicinal properties. One way to do it is by boiling it with water and making it into tea. In addition, you can use it as an ingredient in various dishes like chicken soup
9. Lepiota procera (Parasol) – because of its frequency and availability, procera mushrooms are a must in many European dishes. It has a mild taste and good texture that makes it an ideal ingredient in cooking.
10. Craterellus fallax (Black Trumpet, Horn of Plenty, Trumpet of Death)–what makes this mushroom popular with cooks and their dishes is not its taste nor texture but rather its aroma. It has a sweet scent that is reminiscent of apricots.
11. Pleurotus ostreatus (Oyster mushroom) – this is mushroom has a mild taste and an odor similar to anise. It is a favorite in stir-fry, soups, and stuffing.
12. Lactarius subdulcis (Mild milkcap)–although it has mild ivy-like taste, what makes the milkcap attractive is the milky secretion it makes that is sweet-tasting. You might miss this specie because there are plenty of other edible mushrooms that grow with it. It tastes quite nice when pickled.
13. Sparassis crispa (Cauliflower mushroom) – creamy white or beige-colored varieties are the most ideal to harvest. They have a unique aroma and texture that slowly fades after a day or two of harvesting. That’s why it would be best if they are cooked on the same day they’re harvested. They go well with pork chops.
14. Calvatia gigantea (Giant puffball)–although these are plain-tasting, the fact that they can also grow in large sizes makes them a favourite. In addition, they take on the flavour of what they’re cooked with quite well, like in stuffing, sautéing, soups, and grills.
15. Coprinus comatus (Shaggy mane) – these mushroom species are delicate and should be eaten on the same day they’re harvested. They go well with eggs and have a delicious flavour that complements sautéed dishes and soups.
16. Morchella spp. (Morels) – morels have an incredibly heady aroma and flavor that intensifies the taste of eggs, pasta, creams, and light-coloredmeat like veal, sweetbreads, and even poultry. It’s also good with prawns.
17. Hericium erinaceus (Bearded tooth) – these mushrooms are an excellent addition to cheese sauce (which includes macaroni and cheese), and other dishes. Just make sure that they are harvested young (white-colored), since the older, yellowish ones turn sour.
18. Cantharellaceae (Chanterelles) – they have a unique floral aroma with a hint of apricot. They go well with cream sauces and can even be sautéed and partnered with grilled beef. They also have a peppery taste that disappears when cooked.
19. Laetiporus sulphureus (Sulfur shelf) – sautéed and cooked with a little seasoning, these mushrooms would make for a good vegetarian meat dish. They have a taste that is quite close to that of young chicken.
20. Clavariaceae (Coral fungi) – the tips and upper branches of this species are tender. They would go well with sautéed dishes and can add an excellent flavor to vegetables. Slice them lengthwise and add them while cooking.