Seasonal Mushrooms - Shopping & Cooking

Images below.

There are over 300 types of cultivated mushrooms and even more wild. In general, the darker colored ones with large, open gills have a more deep, strong flavor. Smaller and paler mushrooms with fewer gills have a more mild, subtle flavor.

Rub or brush dirt off mushrooms before use. Don't wash in water unless they're very dirty. They absorb the water and turn mushy when cooked. (Fresh chanterelles should be rinsed quickly and dried right away.)

Most wild mushrooms should be cooked, which also helps bring out the flavor.

Look for: Fresh-looking, spongey, firm, fleshy caps. Avoid slimy, wet, shriveled, or overly bruised mushrooms.

Storage: Refrigerate in a paper bag. (If sold in plastic, transfer to paper.) Whole mushrooms keep longer than sliced ones.

What's cooking:
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes
(Read more about how to cook and serve each type.)

  • Cornmeal crusted oyster mushrooms, jicama salad, roasted garlic aioli, golden plum-peron chili jam -- Eric Tucker at Millennium
  • Shiitake, hen-of-the woods & chanterelles mushrooms in phyllo ravioli w/ manouri cheese -– Mourad Lahlou at Aziza
  • Shiitake mushroom dumplings in a sweet soy, vinegar, ginger sauce -- Arnold Wong at Eos
  • Gnocchetti pasta with chanterelle mushrooms, wild nettles & parmesan cheese –- Jean-Pierre Moulle & Kelsi Kerr at Chez Panisse
  • Seared day boat sea scallops risotto w/ fresh abalone mushrooms, lemon & caper beurre blanc -– Pamela Mazzola at Boulevard
  • California white seabass, mustard greens and enoki mushrooms –- David Vardy at O Chamé
  • Chicken cannelloni w/ chanterelle mushrooms & rosemary -- Michael Tusk at Quince
  • Rabbit confit w/ chanterelle mushrooms & sweet corn hash -- Matt Christianson at Lark Creek Inn

Here is a sampling of what's in season!
BEAR'S HEAD
aka LION'S MANE
- sautée, roast -
fibrous, crab-like texture, light seafood flavor
BEECH HON-SHEMEJI
- versatile -
slightly crunchy texture, sweet, nutty flavor
BROWN/CRIMINI
- use like common mushrooms -
more full flavor
BUTTON/COMMON CHANTERELLE
- best sautéed or baked -
mild peppery flavor, light apricot scent
CINNAMON CAP
- very versatile -
firm texture, earthy flavor
KING TRUMPET
aka ABALONE
- very versatile -
slight nutty flavor, resilient texture, long shelf life, stem has great flavor (can be sliced & seared like scallops)
LOBSTER
- nice sautéed -
mild seafood flavor,
very short season
MAITAKE
- roast or sauté lightly in butter/oil -
odor disappears after cooking, very flavorful, has great medicinal qualities
MOREL
- great stuffed, fried, roasted -
honey-comb cap, buttery, woodsy flavor
NAMEKO
- best for sauces, soups -
unique gelatin layer in cap is a good thickener (i.e., in miso), silky texture, woodsy flavor
OYSTER, CULTIVATED
aka TREE OYSTER
- use raw, cooked -
velvety texture, delicate flavor, easily accessible
OYSTER, TREE
larger example
PORTABELLA
- very versatile whole or sliced -
deep, meat-like flavor
SHIITAKE
- very versatile -
rich, full flavor, meaty texture

Thanks to Far West Fungi for the mushroom shots!