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Edible Mushrooms



There are thousands of regularly harvested edible fungi in the world, in addition to literally hundreds of thousands of other edible species. (Check the saftey rules under mushroom hunting, however.) Some species are highly priced because they cannot be cultivated and are often harvested from natural settings. A few of the most commonly consumed fungi are:

  • The Morel: Morels belong to the ascomycete grouping of fungi. They are usually found in open scrub, woodland or open ground in late spring. When collecting this fungus, care must be taken to distinguish it from the poisonous False Morel, Gyromitra esculenta.
  • The Chanterelle: The Yellow chanterelle is one of the best and most easily recognizable mushrooms, and can be found in Asia, Europe, North America and Australia. Caution must be used, as there are several types of very poisonous (although not usually lethal) lookalikes.
  • The Truffle: Tuber magnatum (Piemont white truffle), Tuber aestivum (Summer or St.Jean truffle), Tuber melanosporum (Perigord truffle), Tuber brumale. Truffles belong to the ascomycete grouping of fungi. The truffle fruitbodies develop underground in mycorrhizal association with certain trees e.g. oak, poplar, beech, and hazel. Being difficult to find, trained pigs or dogs are often used to sniff them out for harvesting.
  • The Porcini: Boletus edulis, also known as the King Bolete, Cep, and Steinpilz, is renowned for its nutty flavor. It is sought after worldwide, and can be found in a variety of culinary dishes.
  • Sulphur shelf: Laetiporous sulphureous. Also known by names such as the "chicken mushroom", "chicken fungus", sulphur shelf is a distinct bracket fungus popular among mushroom hunters.
  • Agaricus bisporus : also known as the white mushroom, the most extensively cultivated mushroom in the world, accounting for 38% of the world production of cultivated mushrooms.
  • Pleurotus species : The oyster mushroom. Pleurotus mushrooms are the second most important mushrooms in production in the world, 25% of total world production of cultivated mushrooms. Pleurotus mushrooms are world-wide, China is the major producer. Several species can be grown on carbonaceous matter such as straw or newspaper. In the wild they are usually found growing on wood.
  • Volvariella volvacea : The 'Paddy straw' mushroom. Volvariella mushrooms account for 16% of total production of cultivated mushrooms in the world.
  • Lentinus edodes : also known as shiitake, oak mushroom. Lentinus edodes is largely produced in Japan, China and South Korea. Lentinus edodes accounts for 10% of world production of cultivated mushrooms.
  • Coprinus comatus : The shaggy mane. Must be cooked as soon as possible after harvesting or the caps will deliquesce and turn to ink. Only the fresh young caps and stems are edible as the mature caps will turn black and unappetizing.

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