It will suprise you that there is actually a wide variety of mushrooms you did not know about because we are so use to the normal ones we eat in restaurants. Luckily, we seem to have most of the edible varieties and here are some of our favorite (easiest to find) edible mushrooms.
1. Brown and white champignon mushrooms
These are your basic mushrooms, readily available anywhere. They go by either brown or white, depending on their colours (obviously), but have a similar, earthy flavour. When brown mushrooms are immature, they go by the names Italian brown, Italian mushroom, cremini or crimini mushroom, baby Bella, brown cap mushroom or chestnut mushroom.
When white mushrooms are immature, they can also be known as champignon mushrooms and cultivated or table mushrooms. White and brown mushrooms in all of their forms are very versatile and can be used in many ways, such as soaps, risotto, and stews.
2. Portobello mushrooms
A portobello is what a white and brown mushroom turn into when they fully mature. They can handle nearly any form of cooking, but our favorite is pan-frying with lots of garlic and rosemary.
3. Oyster mushrooms
Oyster mushrooms are mostly cultivated, instead of foraged, because they grow happily pretty much anywhere. They are identified by their delicate frills that come in an array of soft colours. They can be eaten raw or cooked, but really are best when roasted with lots of herbs, thanks to their mild meaty flavour.
4. King Oyster mushrooms
This is truly the king of the mushrooms, the king oyster is recognized by it's stumpy base with a small cap. These are edible when raw, but honestly, why would you want to eat them raw? Their cooked flavour is incredible, with a trong umami note and an overall meatiness. Our best way to cook them is pan-fried with lots of butter. Simply delicious.
5. Shiitake mushrooms
While native to East Asia, Shiitake mushrooms are readily available in South Africa. They form an important part of Asian cuisine, with the dried stems adding that little something to broths, stocks, soups, and sauces. They should be avoided being eaten raw, as they can cause rashes, so they're best cooked to tap into their earthy, rich flavour.
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