Field Guide to Commercially Available Mushrooms in Davis
Mushroom lovers, have no fear! You can find a wide variety of delicious edible mushrooms in groceries throughout Davis. In this reference guide, we’ve compiled a list of mushrooms you can buy in Davis, along with information on each species and suggestions for preparation. Keep in mind that these mushrooms may not be available year-round, and that there may be more types of mushrooms available that haven't made it onto the page yet. If you’re interested in learning more about mushrooms and molds, be sure to check out SAS 30 with Professor Thomas Gordon!
Agaricus Bisporus (White Button Mushroom, Crimini, Portobello)
Agaricus bisporus is sold in grocery stores under many different names (button mushroom, white mushroom, crimini, cremini, italian mushroom, baby bella, Portobello, portabello, portobella, etc), but most people don’t realize that all these types of mushrooms are actually the same species. The small brown crimini mushrooms are just younger mushrooms harvested before they mature into the larger and flatter mushrooms we know as portobellos. White button mushrooms are a varietal of this same mushroom, but with a genetic mutation that gives them their bright white color. Many people credit the discovery of this white strain of Agaricus bisporus to a Pennsylvanian mushroom grower in 1926. (1)
Agaricus bisporus is the most commonly consumed mushroom in America by a large margin; in fact, the average American eats 2.2 pounds of Agaricus bisporus a year. (2) The flavor of Agaricus bisporus changes somewhat as it matures, with the younger button and crimini mushrooms having a fairly mild flavor and the older portobello mushroom taking on a richer, earthier flavor. Like most mushrooms, Agaricus bisporus mushrooms are good sources of protein and certain vitamins and minerals.
Agaricus bisporus mushrooms are often eaten raw and slices of raw button mushrooms can even be seen in the salad bars at the UC Davis Dining Commons. However, most mycologists agree that they should not be eaten raw. Agaricus bisporus mushrooms contain hydrazines, carcinogenic compounds found in rocket fuel that only evaporate upon cooking (even then, scientists have found that certain toxins remain after thorough cooking). (3)
Agaricus bisporus is native to much of Europe and North America, and certain subspecies can be found growing in the wild in California, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area. (4) However, most of the Agaricus bisporus in the U.S. is cultivated in indoor mushroom “farms.”
Because of they are so commonly farmed, Agaricus bisporus mushrooms are available year round at most grocery stores for relatively low prices. In Davis, Agaricus bisporus can be found at Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe's, Savemart, Safeway, Nugget, Davis Food Co-op, and the "Solano Mushrooms" vendor at the Farmers Market.
Scientific name: Tuber melanosporum "(1)"
Truffles are extremely valuable “mushrooms” that have piqued people’s scientific and culinary interests for thousands of years. Black truffles, the less expensive cousins of the white truffle, are rarely found in most stores but can be available seasonally or by special order. Since they are so expensive, truffles are usually only used in the nicest restaurants with the most gourmet dishes.
Availability: Truffles can be ordered year round, but the Davis Whole Foods only carries black truffles seasonally. They are usually in stock during the Fall, but availability varies with demand.
Taste: Black truffles have a very savory flavor. Truffle shavings or thin slices are excellent flavor enhancers for a variety of dishes. Truffle oil is often used in restaurants, while slices and shavings are reserved for the most expensive dinners. Only small amounts of truffle are ever used at a time as a sort of seasoning.
Price: Black truffles are very expensive. Although they are less expensive than white truffles, they are still among the most expensive fungi on the market. Depending on availability, black truffles have been know to sell for up to $1,000 per pound. As shown to the right, at the Davis Whole Foods black truffles sell black truffles for $429.99 per pound, as of Fall 2014.
Special Nutritive Values: Truffles have very little nutritional value. The fruiting body itself is low in nutrients and since only very small amounts are used in cooking, truffles do not make any significant dietary contributions.
- Truffles grow underground as the fruiting body of a mycorrhizal fungus of beech, poplar, oak, birch, hornbeam, hazel, and pine. "(1)"
- Truffles produce a chemical very similar to androstenol, the sex hormone present in the saliva of male pigs. They use this chemical to attract female pigs, so traditionally pigs were used to find truffles. Now people train dogs to find the truffles instead, since pigs will eat the truffles if allowed. "(1)"
- People have been interested in truffles for thousands of years. Romans were particularly fascinated about the nature of truffles and thought that they were a product of the earth rather than a living crop.
Black Trumpet (Black Chanterelle, Horn of Plenty, Trumpet of the Dead)
Craterellus cornucopioides is striking in appearance, with a ruffled funnel shape and its signature dark coloration. While the mushroom may appear inedible, it is prized as a gourmet addition to many dishes, and is in fact closely related to the better-known chanterelle. In place of gills, the Black Trumpet has intricate, raised ridges on the underside of the cap. This mushroom may form mycorrhizal connections with oak and beech trees, however, it is commonly found growing independently (1). The coloration of Black Chanterelles makes them particularly difficult to find in the woods, and mushroom hunters often describe searching for them as “looking for small black holes” on the forest floor (2).
Availability: The Black Trumpet grows throughout North America and Europe, and most commonly fruits in late winter and spring (2). You can buy these mushrooms fresh or dried. In Davis, you can find them at the Davis Food Co-op.
Flavor: The Black Chanterelle has a smoky, mild flavor which provides richness and enhances other flavors in cooking (3). However, these mushrooms are more often noted for their fruity scent, which is used to add fragrance to wine and other dishes (4).
Price: Black trumpets can be difficult to gather, so prices may vary. However, they have a long shelf life, and so can be a good value.
Recipe Ideas: Black trumpet mushrooms are delicious in a simple saute with butter and garlic, as an accompaniment or a main dish. However, in order to take advantage of the mushroom’s flavor enhancement qualities, you can dry and powder the Black Trumpet, adding it to white wines, butter, sauces, or any dish as a spice (3).
Fun Facts: The Black Chanterelle is also called “La Trompette des morts,” or “Trumpet of the Dead” in French due to its trumpet-like shape and eerie appearance (3).
Chanterelle: The Mushroom of Royalty
Cantharellus cibarius, commonly referred to as just the chanterelle mushroom is a yellow/orange fungi that is characterized by its funnel-like shape and gill-like ridges that run the length of the mushroom. In the culinary world, these mushrooms are well-known for their strong fragrance and flavor, which, depending on the variety, has been regarded as fruity (like apricots), earthy, or even spicy (1). Chanterelles first became popular in the 1700s when, upon discovering the wonderful flavor of these mushrooms, chefs began to incorporate them into the cuisine of French royalty as a gastronomic delicacy. This delectable fungus is only available during summer and autumn (2)—more specifically, between May and October—so be sure to purchase some while they are still in season. These mushrooms are moderately expensive, so be sure to have a plan and use them before they go bad.
This species of mushroom typically grows in mossy coniferous forests; it is relatively common for them to grow in mountainous birch forests. It grows naturally in Northern parts of Europe, North America, including Mexico, in Asia including the Himalayas, and Africa (1). “Chanterelles thrive in forested areas of the United States, specifically along the West Coast, Canada, and in temperate forests around the world...The Chanterelle has resisted attempts to cultivate it and can only be found in the wild” (5). This restriction on cultivation is largely the reason that the price of chanterelles is relatively high.
Some additional notes about these mushrooms is that they are high in Vitamin C, potassium, and Vitamin D (1), making it a great addition to your diet.
These mushrooms are available seasonally at the Davis Farmer’s Market, Nugget, Whole Foods Market (dried and fresh), and Costco, while supplies last.
Some Recipe Ideas you might want to try: Sauteed Fresh Chanterelles (3) Serves 6 Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less. Ingredients: 1 1/4 pounds fresh chanterelles or Portobellos 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/4 cup dry white wine 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves fresh lemon juice to taste Preparation: Halve chanterelles lengthwise or cut Portobellos into 1/2-inch-thick slices. In a large non-stick skillet melt butter with oil over moderately high heat until foam subsides and sauté mushrooms, stirring, with salt and pepper to taste until barely tender, about 2 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring, until liquid is evaporated and mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. In a bowl toss mushrooms with parsley and lemon juice.
Fricassee of Chanterelle Mushrooms (3) Keep it simple by spooning this quick sauté over crushed boiled potatoes, tossing it in a skillet with pappardelle, or piling the mushrooms on thick slices of toasted country bread. Ingredients: 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, divided 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup) Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1/4 cup dry white wine 1 pound chanterelles, brushed clean (halved if large) 1/2 cup heavy cream Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg 1 teaspoon fresh oregano plus more for garnish Fresh lemon juice 1/4 pound pappardelle, cooked al dente, or 1 pound boiled new potatoes Preparation: Melt 3 tablespoons butter with 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly golden, 4–5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in wine and cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add remaining 3 tablespoons butter, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add cream and nutmeg and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon oregano. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Toss in a skillet with cooked pasta, or serve over smashed boiled potatoes. Garnish with more oregano
Pasta with Chanterelle Mushrooms (4) Ingredients: 1 pound castellane, or medium shell pasta Coarse salt 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced 1 pint chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned, halved if large Freshly ground pepper 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh flat leaf parsley Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving Preparation: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt, and cook until al dente according to package directions. Drain. In a large saucepan over high heat, melt butter with olive oil. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, about 1 minute. Add chanterelles and season with salt and pepper. Cook over high heat until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in parsley. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Add pasta, and toss to combine. Serve with grated Parmesan.
Eryngii (Eryngii Mushroom, King Oyster, King Trumpet, French Horn, Boletus of the Steppes)
Pleurotus eryngii, commonly known as the King Oyster mushroom, is the largest species of oyster mushroom, with a thick, meaty stem and short gills. However, while most other species of oyster mushroom are woodrot fungi and can be found growing on stumps and fallen trees, the King Oyster is found in mycorrhizal association with tree roots. It is native to arid soils along the shores of the Mediterranean, but has been successfully cultivated throughout the world (1).
Availability: Like other species of Oyster mushroom, Eryngii mushrooms are fairly easy to cultivate, as they fruit rapidly with proper temperature conditions on a simple organic substrate. They have the longest shelf life of any oyster mushroom, due to their hearty consistency (2). As a result, they are sold commercially year-round. In Davis they have been found to be sold in the Solano Mushrooms stand in the Farmers Market and at The Davis Food Co-op, as well as at Nugget.
Flavor: The King Oyster’s uniform, robust texture holds up well in cooking and allows it to be used as a meat substitute in many recipes. Their mild, buttery flavor coordinates well with many seasonings (3).
Price: Eryngii mushrooms are fairly inexpensive, and are a good value option as each mushroom is large and fleshy.
Special Nutritive Value: Like most mushrooms, King Oysters are high in B vitamins and antioxidants, making them a healthy addition to many dishes (4).
Recipe ideas: King Oysters are tasty simply sliced and pan-fried with a small amount of butter, soy sauce, and other seasonings of your choice (4).
Fun Facts: The King Oyster mushroom is third in worldwide mushroom production by volume, after white button and shiitake (2).
Hedgehog Mushroom (Wood Hedgehog, Sweet Tooth)
Hydnum repandum is most notable for their unusual and somewhat whimsical appearance. These mushrooms are irregularly shaped, and instead of having gills on the underside of their caps they have a bed of closely packed, fleshy spines. Hedgehog mushrooms have been found all over the world, but they only grow in association with trees (most often conifers and hardwoods) because the fungus that produces these mushrooms is mycorrhizal.
The hedgehog mushroom is said to have a sweet, nutty flavor and crunchy texture, although older mushrooms can sometimes be bitter. This mushroom is also a favorite among mushroom gatherers because it has no toxic look-alikes. (1)
The hedgehog mushroom fruits from late fall through early spring, and can sometimes be found in grocery stores. (2) For instance, the Davis Food Co-op has been known to carry these mushrooms. Hedgehog mushrooms are a little more expensive because they are gathered, not farmed; however, they are often abundant in the wild, keeping their prices relatively low.
Scientific name: Grifola frondosa Maitake mushrooms are soft polypore mushrooms that are commonly found in temperate hardwood forests, particularly in conjunction with oaks, elms, and occasionally maples. With their clustered, leaf-like fronds and beige color scheme, maitake mushrooms are very easily distinguishable. Originally native to the mountain forests of Northeastern Japan, Maitake have been successfully cultivated across the globe."(1)" When purchasing maitake mushrooms from a store, look for firm, crisp heads with full foliage.
Etymology Commonly called “hen-of-the-woods,” “ram’s head,” and “sheep’s head” by English-speakers, the Japanese maitake (舞茸) means “dancing mushroom.” It is known in Italian as “signorina,” and in German as “klapperschwamm.” "(1)"
Seasons/Availability Maitake is a perennial fungus that often continues to grow at the same location for many years, and is a staple mushroom at the Solano Mushroom stand at the Saturday Farmers Market. It is available seasonally at the Davis Food Co-op and Whole Foods Market; starting in November, one can buy maitake mushrooms from Mycopia Mushroom Company, along with other assorted fungi. Additionally, dried maitake mushrooms can be found at Whole Foods year-round, and are provided by the Seattle-based FungusAmongUs company.
Taste Maitake mushrooms are noted for their earthy, smoky taste and propensity for absorbing companion flavors while cooking. Unlike many of its mushroom counterparts, the maitake mushroom does not have a particularly meaty texture or flavor, but rather displays the rich and savoury umami “fifth taste” flavor. "(2)"
Nutrition Maitake mushrooms have complex sugars, low cholesterol and fat levels, high levels of B vitamins, potassium, and fiber make it a very healthy food. Most noteworthy, however, is maitake’s increasing recognition in the medical field as a multifunctional agent, modulating glucose levels to limit the development of type 2 diabetes, and working as anti-cancerous agents by limiting blood flow to tumors. Additionally, they appear to enhance the ability of immune cells to kill lung/breast cancer cells. "(2)"
Approximate Price Maitake have a large price range, stretching from $9 per pound to over $36 per pound.
Recipe Ideas Extraordinarily versatile, maitake mushrooms can be added to just about anything to bring a woodsy flavor to your pizza, sauce, focaccia, etc. Maitake pesto, for example, (chopped maitake, sauted over medium heat before adding garlic, parsley, salt/pepper, and olive oil) can be used on pasta, buttered bread, pizza dough, etc. "(3)"
- Maitake (舞茸) translates to “dancing mushroom,” said to originate because maitake are so valuable that even just spotting one would be reason to break out dancing. It is also held that traditional Japanese mushroom hunters would keep their maitake locations secret from even their closest family members. "(4)"
- In Japan, maitake can grow to over 100 pounds, earning them the title “King of the Mushrooms.”
Tricholoma matsutake, more commonly known as the matsutake mushroom is described to have a white or brown, meat body with a strong, spicy fragrance and flavor. These mushrooms are known to grow in China, Japan, Korea, Laos, Canada, Finland, the United States, Sweden (1). More specifically, the matsutake mushrooms are known to grow in coniferous forests; accordingly, the name “matsutake” means “pine forest” (1). The Japanese variety of matsutake mushrooms is highly sought-after. This variety is on the verge of extinction because the coniferous forests needed to sustain matsutake growth are in decline due to nematode infestation (2). Because of the scarcity of the Japanese matsutake mushroom, prices range from moderately expensive to very expensive.
These mushrooms can be found for purchase at the Davis Farmer’s market during Fall only. Plan your shopping trips accordingly!
Matsutake mushrooms are a good source of vitamins A, B6, C and thiamine (4) and make an excellent addition to rice and soup dishes.
Cooking Tips: Try marinating matsutakes for 10 minutes in soy sauce, dry sherry or sugar, and good-quality bland oil. Then roast them on a grill until golden brown and serve alongside a main course. Matsutakes will do wonders for chicken broth and stir-fried dishes. Cut both stem and cap in small pieces, as this mushroom is firm and chewy. It has a magnificent penetrating unique flavor not like anything else: spicy, but not peppery.
When making rice, quickly lift the lid of the cooking pot and throw in a handful of matsutake bits. Replace the lid to allow the rice and mushrooms to harmonize inside the pot. This elevates a bland grain to ethereal heights.
Matsutakes blend well with chicken or fish. Even when frozen for a whole year, they retain most of their original zesty flavor. (2)
Recipe ideas you might want to try:
Matsutake Cabbage (2) Serves 4 to 5 as a side dish
A dish of simple ingredients but elegant and complex flavors. Preparation requires low heat and a long cooking time.
Ingredients: 4 tablespoons butter Two 3 inch-diameter matsutakes, cut into julienne strips 1 head cabbage, cored and cut into 8 wedges 2 tablespoons water
Preparation: Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a sauté pan or skillet and add the matsutake strips. Be sure to coat the strips with butter. If not well coated, add more butter. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. This should take about 20 to 30 minutes. While this is cooking, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter with the water in another sauté pan or skillet and add the cabbage. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes. Serve the cabbage topped with the matsutake strips.
Matsutake Mushroom Chowder (3) The firm texture of matsutake mushrooms is a superb substitute for clams in this take on the classic New England style chowder. In fact, you might just come to prefer this version over the “traditional” kind!
Ingredients: 12 oz matsutake mushrooms (or other fresh wild mushrooms) 2 carrots 3 stalks celery 1 large onion 1/2 lb small fingerling potatoes 2 bay leaves 2 Tbsp butter 2 cups chicken stock 2 cups milk 2 Tbsp flour Salt & pepper to taste
Preparation: Clean the mushrooms of any dirt & debris (rinsing briefly under cold running water if necessary). Cut into strips 1/4 inch thick.
Peel the carrots and onions and dice into 1/4 inch squares. Trim the celery and cut into 1/4 inch squares. Slice the fingerlings into 1/4 inch thick rounds.
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the celery, carrots & onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 6 minutes. Add the diced matsutake mushrooms, stir well and cover the pot. Cook for another 5 – 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms have softened and released their liquid. Add the bay leaf, a twist or two of pepper from the pepper grinder and a good pinch of salt. Add the chicken stock and sliced fingerling potatoes, stir and cover the pot. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes or until the potatoes yield when pierced with a fork.
Whisk the flour into the milk until all the flour is completely incorporated and the mixture is smooth and free of lumps. Stir into the soup and simmer for another 10 minutes or until the soup has thickened slightly. If the soup is too thick, add more milk until the desired texture is achieved. Adjust salt & pepper to taste.
Note: for added richness, substitute 1/2 cup of heavy cream for 1/2 cup of the milk.
This soup reheats well. Like many soups, the flavor will improve over the next day or two.
Morels “Morel” refers to the over 60 species of Morchella that exist throughout the globe, all characterized by a unique honeycomb upper portion composed of a network of ridges and gaps "(1)". Morels are found all over the world, from the Himalayas to North America. In which particular ecosystem they are found depends on the type of morel—yellow morels are more commonly found underneath deciduous trees, for example. One characteristic that all morels share, however, is their propensity to grow abundantly in forest areas that have been burned by forest fires, though the association is not yet entirely understood.
Etymology Morels have as many names as they do species, including the colorful “dryland fish,” “hickory chicken,” “miracles” and “molly moochers.” The genus Morchella stems from an archaic German word for mushroom, while “morel” itself comes from the Latin maurus, meaning “brown.” In Finland, morels are called huhtasieni, a derivative of the word meaning “burn,” in reference to morels’ propensity for growing after wildfires. "(1)"
Seasons/Availability Morels are difficult to cultivate, and efforts at morel domestication rarely succeed, to the point where the vast majority of morel supply comes from harvesting wild mushrooms. As such, there are currently no locations in Davis where one might purchase a fresh morel. Dried morels may be found at Whole Foods Market and Nugget, though.
Taste If eaten raw, morels cause extremely uncomfortable stomach ailments! That aside, once cooked, they are famous for their distinctly meaty, earthy flavor, and have been described as the “aristocrats of the forest.” "(2)"
Nutrition Morels contain a sizable amount of vitamin D, iron, and vitamin B, and are quite healthy. However, the poisonous, insidious false morels resemble morels but have rounded caps. Additionally, morels must also be cooked before consumption at any level. "(3)"
Approximate Price Morel prices vary considerably by species/season.
Recipe Ideas There are many recipes dealing with the unique flavor of morels, even those as simple as sauteing them with butter and topping it off with salt and pepper. They are also commonly breaded and fried in a manner similar to fish and chips. Dried morels (the only kind available in Davis) can be reconstituted through soaking in water and milk.
- Yellowstone’s grizzly bears seem to love morels "(1)"
Scientific Name: Pleurotus ostreatus "(1)"
Pleurotus ostreatus is a relatively common commercially grown and sold mushroom. Oyster mushrooms are found in most grocery stores and can substitute more common mushrooms in most recipes. They can come in a variety of colors and have subtle differences in flavor based on the growing conditions. This species is often used in home growing mushroom kits since the oyster mushroom is the fruiting body of a wood decay fungus, so it can grow on easily sold wooden logs.
Seasons/Availability: Cultivated mushrooms are available year round, but wild mushrooms are found in the fall. In Davis you can find oyster mushrooms at Farmer’s Market, Safeway, and Nugget.
Taste: Oyster mushrooms are often described as having a taste and smell similar to anise.
Approximate Price: Oyster mushrooms are easily cultivated so they are not very expensive, but they will likely cost more than a common button white mushroom or crimini.
Recipe Ideas: Oyster mushrooms are commonly used in stir-fries and other Asian dishes.
Stir-Fried Oyster Mushrooms "(1)"
Serves 3 to 4 as a side dish
2 tablespoons peanut oil 1/2 tablespoon Asian sesame oil One 1/8-inch-thick slice fresh ginger, peeled and minced 3 garlic cloves, minced 1/2 pound oyster mushrooms, sliced or torn in even pieces 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas 2 tablespoons chicken broth Pinch of sugar 2 Chinese-style ( firm ) tofu cakes, cut into cubes 2 tablespoons soy sauce or more
Using a wok or skillet, heat the peanut and sesame oils together until bubbling. Add the ginger, garlic, mushrooms, peas, and sugar and quickly stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the broth. Cover and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tofu and soy sauce. Cook uncovered for 3 minutes. Serve immediately over rice.
Special Nutritive Values: Oyster mushrooms contain statins and lovastatins which promote heart health. "(2)"
Fun facts: - Different varieties are sold with different colors and sizes. -The spore print is white to lilac grey. "(3)" -Oyster mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of a wood decay fungus, so they are often found on fallen logs. -Oyster mushrooms have carnivorous hyphae that trap and consume nematodes. - The fungus produces antibacterial compounds.
Porcini (King Bolete, Penny Bun, Cep)
“Porcini” refers to a wide variety of mushrooms; approximately 36 Boletus species are currently identified. Porcini mushrooms are widely distributed across Europe, Asia, and North America, although recent DNA analyses indicate that while morphologically similar, these varieties may be genetically distinct (1). The King Bolete, like other Boletes, does not have gills on the underside of its cap, as spores are released from a yellow porous surface. These mushrooms can grow to be quite large, up to 12 inches in cap diameter, and several pounds in weight (2). Porcini can be found growing in leaf litter at the base of the trees with which they form mycorrhizal connections —typically oaks or conifers. Due to this obligate mycorrhizal connection, attempts at Porcini cultivation have been largely unsuccessful (1).
Availability: Porcini mushrooms are typically wild-gathered in late summer and fall. They are often sold dried, as mass cultivation of Porcini has not been successful. However, dried Porcini still maintains much of its earthy fragrance and hearty texture. In Davis, you can find dried Porcini mushrooms at the Farmer’s Market, Whole Foods, and Savemart. Look for dried mushrooms which are strongly scented and whole, not crumbled (2). When purchasing fresh King Bolete, look for firm stalks, and avoid mushrooms with holes in the stalk, as Porcini are often infected with small worms (3).
Flavor: Porcini are prized for their robust, nutty taste (2). Prominently found in many traditional Italian dishes, the Porcini mushroom’s rich, meaty texture is versatile enough for use in both delicate sauces and hearty main dishes (3).
Price: As Porcini cannot be mass-produced, they can be pricey. However, because they are often dried, they do store well.
Nutritive Value: Porcini mushrooms are full of high-quality protein, and B vitamins which makes them a perfect addition to many vegetarian dishes (3).
Recipe Ideas: When cooking with dried Porcini, first soak the mushrooms in boiling water for about 20 minutes or until they expand (3). The nutty flavor of Porcini is nicely complemented by “nipitella”, an Italian variety of thyme, however, parsley can also lend a fresh flavor to a Porcini dish. Try cooking King Bolete with a mixture of vegetables in a tomato sauce for a hearty pasta dish.
Fun Facts: Porcini mushrooms are commonly infected with small, harmless worms. However, there is a trick for removing the worms from a fresh King Bolete —simply set out the mushroom, cap side down, and the worms (which eat upwards) will eat their way out of the mushroom! (2)
Scientific name: Lentinula edodes
Featuring a wide, brown, umbrella-shaped cap with a characteristic curled rim, shiitake mushrooms are one of the most frequently recognized mushrooms in the world. Originally from the mountainous regions of East Asia, shiitake mushrooms were largely inaccessible to the word until the 1980s, in which new budding/growing techniques made it possible for the shiitake mushroom to achieve the widespread global cultivation it enjoys today. "(1)"
Etymology Also known as the “black forest mushroom,” the “golden oak mushroom,” and the “sawtooth oak mushroom,” the Japanese shiitake (椎茸) comes from the Japanese Chinquapin tree (“shii”) that the shiitake grows on, and “take,” meaning mushroom. "(1)"
Seasons/Availability Shiitake mushrooms are available year-round, and can be found all over Davis, including Whole Foods Market, Safeway, Nugget, Trader Joe's, Davis Food Co-op, and at the Solano Mushroom stand at the Saturday Farmers Market. Dried shiitake mushrooms can also be found at Savemart.
Taste Shiitake mushrooms are famous for their rich, earthy, umami (savory) flavor. Shiitake mushrooms feature very heavily in East Asian cuisine, forming the basis for vegetarian dashi (a quintessential broth in Japanese cooking) and the Chinese dish Buddha’s delight "(1)"
Nutrition Containing plenty of B vitamins, copper, and vitamin D, shiitake mushrooms are very healthy foods indeed. Additionally, shiitake mushrooms are currently undergoing research to test their potency as antiviral and antibacterial compounds. "(1)"
Approximate Price Prices generally range from $4 per pound to $40 per pound, depending on the market. "(2)"
Recipe Ideas Shiitake mushrooms can, to the great delight of the culinary community, allegedly taste exactly like bacon, with the mere addition of olive oil, salt, soy sauce, and canola oil. "(3)" Shiitake mushrooms are incredibly versatile, and may be grilled, roasted, skewered, etc. They can also be dried to intensify the already-inherent umami flavor.
- Second most commonly cultivated mushroom in the world
- The oldest Japanese records regarding shiitake mushrooms date back to 199 AD
- There have been no instances of wild shiitake mushrooms in the United States