types of mushrooms
People have tramped into damp forests and scoured meadows, mushrooming for these tasty fungi morsels for centuries. Many delicious, edible mushrooms are available, but only about three percent of wild mushrooms are safe for humans to digest.
Puffballs, morels, meadow mushrooms, and shaggy manes sprinkle hillsides and woods during many seasons. Enthusiasts target wet fields or fallen logs to pick whole mushrooms, pack them in wax paper, and carry them home to identify. The climate, vegetation, and kind of soil narrows down the mushroom variety, as well as coloring and shape.
Some edible mushrooms are so rare that they are now cultivated. These gourmet mushrooms include truffles, enoki, chanterelle, portabella, shiitake, and oyster. These cultivated varieties are also becoming more popular in the better grocery stores. Some businesses even sell “mushroom logs” that are seeded with several varieties of mushrooms for the enthusiast to grow and enjoy, secure in the knowledge he is getting a “wild” mushroom, but not a dangerous one.
Mushrooms are largely interchangeable in recipes. They can be used in sauces, soups, stews, stir-fry dishes, pasta accompaniments, on pizza, and raw, on salads.