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Oyster Mushroom Types and Cooking Tips


To help you learn about different oyster mushroom types here is the oyster mushroom 101 guide with tips on buying them and the best ways to enjoy them!

As one of the most commonly cultivated mushrooms globally, oyster mushrooms are an excellent ingredient to use in your dishes. These are popular in Asian cuisine but so versatile you’ll love cooking with them.

small bow filled with fresh oyster mushrooms

What are Oyster Mushrooms?

Oyster mushrooms, or Pleurotus ostreatus, are renowned in Asian countries like Japan, China, and Korea for having a delicate texture and delightful savory flavor.

Physical characteristics

These mushrooms feature broad, thin oyster-shaped caps that can resemble a fan. You’ll find them in several varieties (discussed further below), but they grow in clusters of small mushrooms or as individual large mushrooms.

Price in the market

Unfortunately, oyster mushrooms tend to be more expensive since they’re rarer than white button mushrooms. But if you spend your money on them, it will be money well-spent since they can benefit your health. 

Oyster Mushroom Nutrition

Oyster mushrooms feature numerous nutrients, including fiber, vitamin D, niacin, choline, folate, potassium, iron, phosphorous, and zinc. They’re low in calories, fat, and carbs but high in antioxidants.

Oyster Mushroom Benefits

Oyster mushrooms have loads of antioxidants that help halt free radical damage, plus they may be beneficial to your heart health. In addition, you can get immune-boosting benefits, which is a necessity these days.

You’ll also find that oyster mushrooms help regulate blood sugar. They’re so versatile ingredients to your cooking, and with their nutritional benefits, they can add something to the meal.

Since they taste great, you surely won’t mind coming up with culinary creations and using them as ingredients!

Different types of oyster mushroom

Pearl oyster mushroom – Pleurotus ostreatus or pearl oyster mushroom, the most common type, especially in North America. It’s slightly sweet yet woodsy in flavor.

Blue oyster mushroom – The blue oyster mushroom is grey with a hint of blue. The caps are dark with pale gills. While they look different from pearl oyster mushrooms, the taste is the same. 

Golden oyster mushroomsPleurotus citrinopileatus are easy to spot because they have a bright yellow hue. They’re more aromatic and have a more profound complexity in taste compared with the pearl oyster or blue oyster mushrooms. 

Pink oyster mushrooms – Pleurotus salmoneo stramineus, are noticeably bright pink in hue. They’re also quite ruffled in appearance. The pink color will fade when exposed to heat. They have a hard and woodier texture than the other varieties while being far more pungent.

Phoenix oyster mushroomsPleurotus pulmonarius, look like the pearl oyster mushroom; however, it has caps that are smaller and paler with a longer stem. This variety of oyster mushrooms thrives in warmer temperatures and grows in the latter portion of summer. The taste is akin to pearl oyster mushrooms. 

King oyster mushroomPleurotus eryngii, are the largest. It looks completely different than the other oyster mushroom varieties, growing individually with thick, white stems and caps that are tan in color. These grow natively in Asia, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and Northern Africa. 

What do oyster mushrooms taste like?

These mushrooms are milder than other varieties as they aren’t quite as earthy, making them fit right into many different dishes. The texture becomes tender and delightful when you fry, roast, or grill them.

The flavors reveal a hint of seafood taste, often with a subtle finish of anise or black licorice. It’s lovely to braise or sauté for a softer texture than other cooking methods.

Where to buy them?

Oyster mushrooms may be rarer than the button varieties you usually see at supermarkets and grocery stores.

Produce section

You should see them in your produce section. However, if the mushroom selection in your supermarket is bleak, you can always try an Asian market where you can find them both fresh and dried.

Quality check

If you want fresh mushrooms, choose bright colors and a springy texture. There should be no dark spots or wilted areas. Dark spots mean that the mushrooms have taken in more moisture and are going bad.

Buy the dried ones

You can also buy them dried, which will give you more time to use them up. Keep dried oyster mushrooms in an airtight container away from light, and they will retain their delightful aroma. 

How do you make them last longer?

Like any mushroom, you should be careful to keep moisture away. Oyster mushroom is sensitive to water and can quickly develop a moldy appearance, or dark spots.

Fresh

A paper bag will work best to contain fresh oyster mushrooms in your fridge. They’ll be suitable for up to three days, so make plans to use them quickly. Since fresh oyster mushrooms are so delicate, they will begin wilting quickly. They will turn tough and dry if you forget them and won’t be good anymore. 

Dried

With dried oyster mushrooms, you get more leeway. You can keep them in an airtight container, keeping them away from light and heat. They will last for a year when they are dried and stored correctly. 

Cooked

As for cooked dishes such as fried oyster mushrooms, you can enjoy those leftovers for up to 3 days from your fridge. While raw oyster mushrooms are not suitable for freezing as it destroys the delicate texture, cooked oyster mushrooms will hold up for as long as three months in your freezer. 

How to clean oyster mushrooms?

Thankfully, oyster mushrooms are easy to prepare. They’re not too dirty since they grow on wood. However, use caution as oyster mushrooms will be ruined if waterlogged.

Cleaning steps to follow

You can gently wipe them with a damp cloth, or if you are using many, you can rinse them. The key is quick with the rinse and then drying them off. You don’t want them to get bogged up with water and ruin this delicious mushroom’s incredible flavor and texture. 

Prepare mushrooms for cooking

Preparing them for use in your recipes is easy too. Using a sharp knife tip, cut carefully around that firm stem, and the caps will all fall away with ease. You can throw the stalk away, but a better idea is to use it for adding to stock or creating a savory vegetable broth to use as a base for soups, stews, and sauces.

washed oyster mushroom inside white bowl

How to Add Oyster Mushrooms in Your Recipes?

Cultivated oyster mushrooms are usually not as dirty. Follow the tips above on cleaning them, and you’ll have them ready to use in any way you want in your recipes.

Once your oyster mushrooms are clean and ready, you can sauté them, stir-fry them, braise them, roast them, fry them, or even grill them. If you prefer not to cut them, you can cook them whole. 

Results of cooking them

It is safe to eat raw oyster mushrooms, but they may taste metallic. Cooking them let them exhibit those treasured flavors that have earned them fame worldwide. The spongey texture becomes almost velvet-like when cooked.

Using dried mushrooms

You can also choose your dried oyster mushrooms for your recipes. Unlike other dried mushrooms, you do not need to soak them to rehydrate them. You can toss them right into what you’re cooking, and they’ll be infused with the liquids immediately, taking on those tastes while imparting their flavors.

Saute or stir-fry

Perhaps the best way to cook your oyster mushrooms is by sauteing or stir-fry. It would help if you preheated your pan to get it smoking hot. Ideally, you’ll throw them in first, so the moisture cooks off. In this way, they will sauté beautifully instead of a more steamed flavor.

More ways to cook mushrooms

There are so many other ways to add oyster mushrooms to your recipes. The sky is the limit, but here are some tasty suggestions you’re sure to love:

  • Make fried oyster mushrooms, saute them in olive oil and serve them as a side dish to any meal
  • Make a beef sauce or add to vegetable recipes to impart a meaty taste
  • Create your authentic stir-fry recipes
  • Add them to pasta dishes
  • Throw them into your risotto dish
  • Put them in soup
  • Make a stew and add mushrooms for a savory and complex taste
  • Grill them at your next backyard gathering
  • Fry them in a deep fryer or air fryer, then sprinkle garlic powder over them
  • Roast them for holiday meals
  • Give rice more flavor by adding mushrooms
  • Make an oyster mushroom gravy
  • Throw them in a frittata or omelet
  • Create a legendary quiche with mushrooms and spinach
  • Serve them with seafood to bring out the delicate flavor

Summary

Once you start cooking with oyster mushrooms, you’ll only wish you’d added them to your recipes sooner. But now that you know where to find them and how to cook them, you can elevate your meals with their unique flavors. Likely, you’ll even find new ways to prepare them using your old recipes with a mushroom twist that everyone will love!

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!

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