What are the different types of mushrooms? Whether hunting them for food, avoiding them for danger, or weaving them into children’s tales involving caterpillars, mushrooms are a culturally significant, ever-present topic. We use them in dishes or pick them off pizzas; we discuss their health benefits or explain why we simply can’t imagine eating fungi. This article will explore several popular types of mushrooms and their respective characteristics.
Chanterelle: Saffron-colored and delectable, chanterelles are frequently used in cooking for their exquisite flavors. They are found throughout the world in areas ranging from Africa to Europe to North America. Chanterelles have a long history of being associated with refinement, and have been used in high-class cuisine for centuries. As such, these types of mushrooms are frequently in demand not only by those who enjoy cooking at home, but by chefs in top restaurants. As a result, the demand for chanterelles from food connoisseurs guarantees that these are on the expensive side, though in terms of color and flavor, they are hard to compete against.
Shiitake: Hailing from Asia, the shiitake mushroom is used in many traditional Japanese, Korean, and Chinese, and Thai dishes. Unlike the chanterelle, the shiitake is brownish in color and has a more traditional capped shape. They are hearty in texture and often considered extremely healthy. Indeed, shiitake mushrooms have long been prized for medicinal values, and research continues to explore the health benefits of these types of mushrooms.
Portobello: These should perhaps be called ‘The Mushroom of Many Names’ due to its frequent variants in title. We call it the white mushroom, the button mushroom, the Italian brown mushroom, and dozens more. Of the varieties of edible fungi listed, the Portobello is perhaps the most sought-after, most-purchased, and most-eaten. They are said to increase metabolism, provide high levels of vitamin D, and potentially lower the risk of developing cancer. The fully-developed Portobello is quite familiar: soft brown with a wide, thin cap and a dark underside. These types of mushrooms are particularly popular as meat substitutes on sandwiches and have a rich, full flavor.
Black Trumpet: Black trumpets are almost floral in appearance, unlike the capped tops of shiitake or Portobello varieties, and their name suits them well, as they do have what might be considered something of a trumpet shape. They are typically a dark to light gray color, and are compared in flavor to the prized black truffle. Black truffles and truffle oil are frequently used in haute cuisine, and can be incredibly expensive to purchase. However, the black trumpet is not quite as difficult to obtain and is said to be best eaten when dried.
Morels: When people speak of hunting for mushrooms, they are more often than not hunting for these morels. Perhaps one of the strangest fungi-at least in appearance-they are edible, but have a decidedly sponge-like look. Morel hunters searching in wooded areas are often well-versed in the differences between these types of mushrooms and those which are somewhat similar in appearance but quite poisonous.