Popular Types of Edible Mushrooms for Cooking: Button (also Cremini, Portobello and White),
Chanterelle, Shitake, Oyster, Maitake, Porcini and Enoki
Health Benefits: Mushrooms are low in carbohydrates, calories and sodium and are both cholesterol
and fat free. All mushrooms enhance the immune system and possess anti-cancer properties. A
powerful antioxidant called L-ergothioneine has been discovered in mushrooms and scientist were
delighted to find that the health benefits stayed the same whether mushrooms are raw or cooked.
Button (Agaricus bisporus) – Probably the most common of the mushroom family. They grow in
Europe and North America. Buttons are white in color with tight caps. Cremini are brown in color
with tight caps. It has a delicate, velvety taste. When the mushroom matures, darkens and opens it is
known as the Portobello. Cremini and Portobellos are stronger and earthier in flavor than the button.
The Portobello has a high level of beta-glucan out of all the mushrooms. It is a dietary fiber that
promotes cardiovascular health. Creminis are high in riboflavin (vitamin B2), pantothenic acid
(vitamin B5), copper, niacin (vitamin B3), potassium, phosphorus, zinc and iron.
Chanterelles (Cantharellus cibarius) - Chantarelles grow in northern parts of Europe and North
America, including Mexico, in Asia including the Himalayas, and Africa. They are thick and firm,
funnel-shaped and mostly yellow, although sometimes orange, in color. They smell fruity and have a
slight peppery taste. They add a great meat like feel to vegetarian meals. Chanterelle mushrooms
contain protein, vitamin D and riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), thiamine (vitamin B1),
potassium, copper and selenium.
Shitake (Lentinula edodes) – Shitake grow in China and Japan. Expect to see firm caps and light
brown thick flesh. They have a lovely meaty texture and taste that lingers in the mouth. Shitakes are
proving to be the queen of mushrooms in research. They are also considered medicinal mushrooms as
they stimulate the immune system, benefit ulcers, asthma and allergies, contain cholesterol lowering
chemicals, lowers blood pressure, possess both anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, and reduce
platelet aggregration. Shitakes contain fiber, linoleic acid, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin C, vitamin
D, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron and all the essential amino acids.
Oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus) - Oyster mushrooms are the most common wild mushroom. They grow
all over the world. They are fan shaped resembling the oyster, hence the name. The mushrooms are
delicate and light, full of flavor, slightly chewy and a bit peppery. This mushroom is also considered
medicinal as it helps lower cholesterol, possesses anti-tumor properties, builds up the immune system,
acts as an anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibiotic. They contain fiber, thiamine (vitamin B1),
riboflavin (vitamin B2) and iron.
Maitake (Grifola frondosa) – The maitake mushroom grows all over the world. They are known as
the king of mushrooms as it can grow to more than 50 pounds if left to grow. They have ruffle looking
edges and blend into trees quite well. Maitake are woody and rich tasting. They too are also
medicinal and said to be the most promising of the anti-cancer foods. Maitake helps to lower high
blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke and heart disease by lowering both cholesterol and
Porcini (Boletus edulis) - Porcini mushrooms across Europe (mostly Italy and France's Alpine
regions), Asia, and North America. Porcinin have a broad white stem and a reddish brown top. They
are very substantial mushrooms. They have a rich flavor and an aroma that distinguishes then form
other mushrooms. They contain niacin, potassium, selenium and protein.
Selecting Mushrooms: Mushrooms should be firm, plump and clean. If they have any dark spots or
are at all wet, do not buy them. They will usually stay fresh for 5-7 days if kept in the original
container or bag.
Cleaning Mushrooms: It is a common misnomer that mushrooms should not be washed. Mushrooms
should not be soaked in water, but they should be washed. Wiping them with a towel does not get them
clean. Simply run them quickly under cool water while wiping with a cloth or a mushroom brush. You
want to get them clean and get all of the dirt off. Generally you will need to cut off the bottom of the
stem before preparing the mushrooms as the end gets dry after being picked.
Wild Mushroom Tart from Bon Appetit (May 1994)
• 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
• 2 tablespoons (about) ice water
• 1 cup water
• 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
• 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
• 10 ounces crimini or button mushrooms, sliced
• 1/4 cup minced shallots
• 2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs
• 2/3 cup grated Gruyère cheese
• 3/4 cup whipping cream
• 2 large egg yolks
• 1 large egg
Blend flour and salt in processor. Cut in butter using on/off turns until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Add enough water to blend dough. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic, chill 45
Roll out dough on floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter tart pan with
removable bottom. Trim edges, leaving 1/2-inch overhang. Fold overhang in to form double-thick
sides. Press tart edges to raise dough 1/8 inch above pan. Chill 30 minutes.
Bring 1 cup water to boil in saucepan. Add porcini; remove from heat and let stand 30 minutes. Spoon
porcini from liquid; reserve liquid. Coarsely chop porcini.
Melt butter in heavy large skillet over high heat. Add porcini and crimini mushrooms. Season with salt;
sauté until deep golden, about 10 minutes. Add shallots; sauté 2 minutes. Add Cognac and reserved
porcini liquid, leaving any sand behind in saucepan. Boil until almost all liquid is absorbed, about 3
minutes. Mix in 1 tablespoon herbs. Cool.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line crust with foil. Fill with dried beans; bake until golden, about 15 minutes.
Maintain oven temperature.
Sprinkle 1/3 cup cheese in crust. Cover with mushrooms. Whisk cream, yolks, egg and 1 tablespoon
herbs in bowl. Pour custard over mushrooms. Top with remaining cheese. Bake until filling is set and
top is golden, about 30 minutes. Cool on rack 15 minutes.