How many types of mushrooms do you know? Five? Ten? Awesome! Do you also know how they can be used? Of course, most mushrooms can be cooked and are delicious, but did you know that you can use many common mushrooms for medicinal purposes, too.
Most people are familiar with only a handful of common mushrooms without even knowing all of their uses. But there is a big world of mushrooms out there for anyone to explore.
Whether you are looking for medicinal mushrooms or something delicious to add to your diet, you will find more than one mushroom variety for your preferred purpose.
And if you want some ideas for cooking mushrooms, you’ll find useful tips in our essential guide to cooking mushrooms.
So here are 15 common mushrooms and their uses.
1. Button Mushrooms
Button mushrooms go by a few other names, including white mushrooms and baby mushrooms. They are the most common types of edible mushrooms available.
One great way to use button mushrooms is as a topping for pasta with sauces. You can also use them as toppings for pizzas.
2. Cremini Mushrooms
Cremini mushrooms are what button mushrooms become when they get older. They have a deeper flavor than the former with a brownish appearance.
Cremini can be sliced and combined with salads or stuffed with cheese and crab. They are best suited for roasting, cooking, stewing, and sautéing.
3. Portobello Mushrooms
Portobello mushrooms are fully grown button / cremini mushrooms. They are the final stage of button mushrooms, which means that they are larger and meatier than cremini and button mushrooms.
Portobellos are excellent grilled and put into a club sandwich. Or slap them on a bun, add a couple of slices of cheese and enjoy a vegetarian hamburger.
4. Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms have a similar texture to portobellos, but they have an earthy and smoky flavor.
They are used mostly in Asian dishes and are commonly sold dried. Apart from the culinary uses, they also provide medicinal benefits, especially in Asian medicine.
5. Chanterelle Mushrooms
Chanterelle mushrooms are one of the best-known of all wild mushrooms, and are sought after by chefs and mushroom foragers alike.
This bright yellow mushroom has a sweet and peppery flavor which pairs perfectly with eggs. And because many of its compounds are fat-soluble, chanterelle is great when cooked in cream or butter and served on toast or over pasta.
Extra care should be taken during the identification of the chanterelle mushroom, as it has several lookalikes that can cause severe cramps and diarrhea.
6. Oyster Mushrooms
Oyster mushrooms have distinct, funnel-shaped caps that can range from white to brownish.
Although they look a bit like oysters, they don’t have the same taste. And even if you don’t enjoy seafood, you will probably love oyster mushrooms.
Oyster mushrooms are commonly used in Korean, Chinese, and Japanese. You can serve them in soups, stir-fries, or as a side dish on their own.
7. Porcini Mushrooms
The distinct strong and nutty flavor of porcini mushrooms makes them a popular addition to many dishes, especially in Italy.
Porcini mushrooms can grow up 10 inches across, although they are often picked when they are much smaller.
They are used to give a meaty and earthy flavor to soups, pasta, rice, risotto, and sauces.
This mushroom is commonly sold dried, but can also be found fresh or canned.
8. Wood Blewit Mushrooms
Wood blewit mushrooms can be found growing in the wild (and also cultivated) in the Netherlands, UK, and France.
The mushrooms are edible but are known to cause allergic reactions in some people. If you are eating wood blewit mushrooms for the first time, then be sure to start with a small amount.
They are best enjoyed as an omelet filling, sautéed in butter, or stews.
9. Black Trumpet Mushrooms
Black trumpets are odd-looking mushrooms, but what they lack in appearance they make up for with their rich and smoky flavor.
Given that rich taste, they are highly sought-after mushrooms. They are quite easy and safe to identify, even for beginners, because they don’t have any poisonous lookalikes.
Fresh black trumpets are delicious sauteed or added to pasta sauce. You can grind dried black trumpet mushrooms into a powder that adds flavor to sauces, rice, soups, meats, and vegetables.
10. Hedgehog Mushrooms
Hedgehog mushrooms also go by the name sweet tooth mushrooms. They are among the common mushrooms that are safe to pick in the wild as they don’t have poisonous lookalikes.
Their sweet and nutty taste makes them perfect for culinary purposes, including sautéing, boiling, and baking. For example, you can bake them into tarts, add them to stews and soups, or sautée and serve them over steak.
11. Enoki Mushrooms
Enoki mushrooms (also known as snow puff) are commonly found in grocery stores and are often used in Asian cooking.
These mushrooms grow in clusters of long string-like stems with small caps. Their crunchy texture and mild flavor make them a good addition to meat dishes, soups, salads. You can also use them as a garnish.
12. Morel Mushrooms
Morel mushrooms have an egg-shaped cap with a unique honeycomb appearance.
Morels are edible mushrooms and are better enjoyed when sautéed in butter. They are great additions to poultry soups and dishes, and can also be used as pasta fillings.
Keep in mind that there are poisonous lookalikes called false morels, so you need to be careful while hunting for them. See our article about how to tell the difference between true morels and false morels for more information.
13. Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms
Laetiporus, commonly called chicken of the woods mushroom, is an edible fungus found across the world.
The mushroom is not called chicken of the woods for nothing. It has a distinct chicken taste and you can cook it in the same way you would prepare chicken.
Chicken of the woods mushrooms are used in place of meat in vegetarian dishes. Although this mushroom is safe and easily recognized, be sure to cook it before eating. Eating it raw may result in adverse effects.
If you’re lucky enough to find some chicken of the woods, then be sure to see our article Five Great Chicken of the Woods Recipe Ideas for some ideas on how to cook this mushroom.
14. Reishi Mushrooms
Reishi is a tough, woody, and bitter fungus that grows at the base of trees.
These mushrooms take the lead when it comes to medicinal fungi. The mushroom has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years in Asian countries.
Although it is listed among the common mushrooms, its uses are not common in any way. The fungus has been purported to reduce stress, lessen fatigue, improve sleep, and enhance the immune system. Reishi has also been used by people with cancer and HIV/AIDS.
See our article Ten Healthy Reasons to Add Reishi to Your Diet for more details.
15. Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Lion’s Mane mushrooms are fairly large, white, globe-shaped fungi with long hairy spines.
Lion’s mane is both medicinal and edible. Its chewy texture combined with its sweet flavor is similar to crab or lobster meat.
Like the Reishi, Lion’s mane mushrooms can produce some incredible health benefits, including relieving mild symptoms of anxiety and depression, protection against dementia, reducing the risks of heart disease, and reducing inflammation.
Wrapping It Up
So there you have it, 15 common mushroom types and how to use them.
For some healthy mushroom ideas, check out our article Medicinal Mushrooms You Can Cook With.
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