Common Types of Mushrooms Guide

More and more people are realizing how great foraged mushrooms can taste but many more have been put off looking for mushrooms in mother nature for fear of making a fatal mistake.

We can’t blame them, the consequences of eating a poisonous mushroom are serious but they are missing out on one of nature’s tastiest (and free) treats.

So, let’s take a look at some common types of mushroom and see why you might want to learn more about foraging.

The Most Common Types Of Mushrooms

There are three categories of common mushrooms: edible ones, poisonous ones and medicinal ones (mushrooms with reputed medicinal properties that may not taste great but are edible). 

Let’s take a look at common examples of each of them.

Edible Mushrooms

  • Beech or Clamshell Mushrooms – these are a perfect addition to a plant-based diet but, please note, you should always cook them or they taste unpleasantly bitter
  • Black Trumpet Mushrooms – not the prettiest mushroom but available in the late summer in the East and Midwest and all winter in the West, dry them out and appreciate the rich, smoky flavor. 
  • Button Mushrooms – you’ve probably bought these in the supermarket, they’re best cooked fried with some herbs (you can grow your own with one of these herb garden kits) but are fine to eat raw too
  • Chanterelle Mushrooms – dry saute these, they have a really high water content and their peppery taste is very distinct
Chanterelle Mushrooms
  • Cremini Mushrooms – these are very similar to button mushrooms in taste and have a brown cap rather than a white one
  • Enoki Mushrooms – super popular in Aisan cuisine they have a really distinct flavor
  • Hedgehog Mushrooms – a very sweet smelling and tasting mushroom with meaty flesh
  • Hen Of The Wood or Maitake Mushrooms – the Japanese love these and value them for their rich and earthy taste
  • King Trumpet or Kind Brown or French Horn Mushrooms – a thick meaty mushroom which grows to a fairly substantial size, slice them before cooking 
  • Milk Mushrooms – strangely, these are the only species of mushroom which occurs natively in India, they grow large and are not just edible but a fantastic source of vitamins and minerals
  • Morels – not the prettiest mushroom but super tasty and because of that, very expensive if you have to buy them
  • Oyster Mushrooms – sweet and delicate and can be used in pretty much any dish you like 
  • Porcini Mushrooms – really tasty with a very meaty texture, they can easily be dried for long-term preservation
  • Portobello Mushrooms – very tasty, fairly expensive and often used as a meat substitute
  • Shiitake Mushrooms – native to East Asia these mushrooms are quite chewy but have a very pleasant flavor

Poisonous Mushrooms

  • Amanita – some of the most toxic mushrooms and also psychoactive, attracts and kills house flies
Amanita Mushroom
  • Green Amanita – the Deathcap, has poison in every part of the fungus, avoid
  • Russula Emetica – they won’t kill you but they will make you vomit and possibly give you diarrhea too
  • Toadstool – just like the ones in fairytales and just as poisonous sadly

Medicinal Mushrooms

  • Lions Mane – a “tooth fungus” with a unique appearance, it actually tastes great and is reputed to help with cognitive impairment and with autoimmune conditions
Lions Mane Mushroom
  • Turkey Tail – striking to look at, vile to taste, the extract is said to be anti-carcinogenic!
  • Reishi – beautiful to look at, the taste is mildly unpleasant as it’s bitter but it’s not vile, and it’s very rare, it’s supposed to help lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation
  • Chaga – not pleasant to eat but it is a superfood and it’s anti-carcinogenic properties are legendary
  • Cordyceps – grows on dead insects, tastes terrible, but the extract is great for boosting oxygen uptake and combating muscle fatigue

Final Thoughts On Types of Mushrooms

So, there you have it, there’s a veritable wealth of fungi on everyone’s doorstep and if you can learn to recognize which fungus is which, you can start to enjoy the edible and medicinal kinds. 

Of course, you might also consider growing your own mushrooms, instead, using a kit from one of our favorite online nurseries. 

One comment

  1. never knew that there are so many types of mushrooms that you can eat. sure would like to learn more and about growing mushrooms.

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