Mushroom Log: King Oysters

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Mushrooms occupy a strange place in our palates. Neither part of the plant or the animal kingdom, they are an oft-feared addition to any meal. Yet the little decomposers beneath our feet have tremendous health benefits for our bodies and for our planet. In the spirit of reviving the good name of mushrooms everywhere, Dear Food presents an in-depth look at the good, the bad, and the just plain weird of the mushroom world.

Latin name: Pleurotus eryngii

Other names: king trumpet, French horn, king brown, trumpet royale

I found some of these the other day whilst urban mushroom hunting in Portland (read: I bought them at an Asian market) and got really excited. Because mushrooms.

Mushroom Log: Ode to Turkey Tails

Turkey Tails. On my deck.

Turkey Tails. On my deck.

Mushrooms occupy a strange place in our palates. Neither part of the plant or the animal kingdom, they are an oft-feared addition to any meal. Yet the little decomposers beneath our feet have tremendous health benefits for our bodies and for our planet. In the spirit of reviving the good name of mushrooms everywhere, Dear Food presents an in-depth look at the good, the bad, and the just plain weird of the mushroom world.

Latin name: Travetes versicolor

Other names: Many-Colored Polypore

Spring is upon us, which means that mushroom pickings are scarce in my area. All the little mushrooms are sleeping in the ground until next fall when the temperature cools down and the rain picks up. 

That is, all but the good ol’ Turkey Tails. 

Mushroom Log: Oyster Mushrooms

Oysters courtesy of a.bower

Land… oysters.. ? Courtesy of a.bower

Mushrooms occupy a strange place in our palates. Neither part of the plant or the animal kingdom, they are an oft-feared addition to any meal. Yet the little decomposers beneath our feet have tremendous health benefits for our bodies and for our planet. In the spirit of reviving the good name of mushrooms everywhere, Dear Food presents an in-depth look at the good, the bad, and the just plain weird of the mushroom world.

Latin name: the genus Pleurotus

Other names: tree oyster, tree mushroom

Just the other day, I was walking to the supermarket and came across a recently-felled log in somebody’s front yard that had a big ol’ growth of oyster mushrooms on the side of it. As one of the perks of eating mushrooms is most people don’t know what they have right in their front lawn, I didn’t think the owners of the log would mind if I got rid of the unsightly blemishes for them. 

Er… if I want to keep that up, maybe I should stop writing a column about mushrooms…

Mushroom Log: Supermarket ‘Shrooms

Criminis courtesy of Rebecca Siegel

Criminis courtesy of Rebecca Siegel

Mushrooms occupy a strange place in our palates. Neither part of the plant or the animal kingdom, they are an oft-feared addition to any meal. Yet the little decomposers beneath our feet have tremendous health benefits for our bodies and for our planet. In the spirit of reviving the good name of mushrooms everywhere, Dear Food presents an in-depth look at the good, the bad, and the just plain weird of the mushroom world.

Latin name: Agaricus bisporus (and Agaricus hortensis)

Other names: button mushroom, white mushrooms, crimini (or cremini), portabella (or portobello, portabello, portobella), cultivated mushroom

Ever since I began my journey into the world of mushrooms, I’ve gotten a kick out of the mushroom section of grocery stores. There is some clever marketing going on in that section. You may have already guessed, but here’s the secret: most of those mushrooms are really the same kind.

Mushroom Log: Fly Agaric

Photo credit/E. Dronkert

Photo credit/E. Dronkert

 

Mushrooms occupy a strange place in our palates. Neither part of the plant or the animal kingdom, they are an oft-feared addition to any meal. Yet the little decomposers beneath our feet have tremendous health benefits for our bodies and for our planet. In the spirit of reviving the good name of mushrooms everywhere, Dear Food presents an in-depth look at the good, the bad, and the just plain weird of the mushroom world.

Latin name: Amanita muscaria

Other names: Fly Amanita

Disclaimer: Look, I know this is a food blog, but please don’t eat this mushroom. It’s probably more important to know what mushrooms you shouldn’t eat than the ones that you should, and this is one that you most definitely shouldn’t.

But isn’t it pretty?