Various types of mushrooms that can be used to enhance any dish.

The Ultimate Guide to Different Types of Mushrooms

For mushroom aficionados, when you want to experiment with a new mushroom for a recipe, buying the typical mushrooms from the grocery store doesn’t measure up.

However, sometimes you’re not sure which type of mushroom will go best with your dish or where you can buy them.

Bottom line?

It doesn’t have to be that way.

You can easily find the gourmet types of mushrooms you want and figure out which one will go best with your dish.

Today, you’ll learn about the different types of mushrooms and how to use them to enhance your meals.

How to Use This Article

This article was written to answer all your questions about the types of mushrooms. Whether you want to find a new recipe or learn about the different types of mushrooms, you can use this article to find the answer you need. If you don’t know where to start, we recommend you read the whole thing through and bookmark it to come back to when you need. If you have a specific question, go ahead and click through to the section that will best answer your questions.

Content Overview:

P.S.: We can help. Looking for dried, fresh, or frozen mushrooms for your dish? We provide quality wild mushrooms that are mainly from the Pacific Northwest. We also sell truffle and mushroom products that are imported from Europe and China. Browse the products on our website to get started!

Mushrooms vs. Truffles

Look:

Before you delve into what types of mushrooms will go best with your dish, you might want to consider using truffles. Although mushrooms and truffles are in the same fungi family, and have many similarities, they actually have several differences.

Below are the 5 main differences between mushrooms and truffles:

  1. Growth – Mushrooms grow above ground, while truffles grow below ground and attached to tree roots. Essentially, they have different growing conditions. Truffles need the right tree roots, some rainfall, and the right temperature to grow. They usually grow in wild forests. However, mushrooms can grow all year and in many different environments.
  2. Scarcity – Truffles are rare compared to mushrooms. They need specific growing conditions, which makes them less common. Since they grow underground, it takes a team of dogs to find truffles. On the other hand, mushrooms can grow in several environments and are above ground, so they are easier to find.
  3. Man and dogs are truffle hunting, finding white truffles to use in their truffle butter.
  4. Cost – Since truffles are rarer, they are also more expensive. Different types of mushrooms can be rare and expensive too, but it’s less likely.
  5. Flavor – Mushrooms and truffles also don’t taste the same. While truffles have a strong flavor and taste garlicky, mushrooms contain a mild, nutty flavor. Also, mushrooms and truffles cannot be cooked the same way. Truffles have a stronger flavor and if you aren’t careful, the flavor could end up taking over the whole dish if the right portion isn’t used. Cooking truffle will destroy the flavor, so that’s why people like to shave truffle over a dish like pasta or risotto. When truffles aren’t in season, you can make truffle butters, salts, and sauces that can be preserved throughout the year. Mushrooms on the other hand can be eaten raw, or cooked in different ways such as baking, grilling, or sautéing. Mushrooms are also easy to preserve by blending them in oils, sauces, or combining with truffles.
  6. Types – Truffles only have two main types (white and black). Although there are five main species, they each fall under the white or black umbrella. On the other hand, there are more than 10,000 different types of mushrooms (see “What are the Types of Mushrooms?” below).

Depending on what you’re looking for in your dish, mushrooms and truffles can both be the perfect accompaniment. All you have to do is figure out what flavor your dish needs and how you’ll use the mushrooms and truffles (see “How to Use Different Types of Mushrooms” below).

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What are the Types of Mushrooms?

Now that you’re ready to look at the different types of mushrooms, you should decide what form you want your mushrooms to come in.

Mushrooms can be:

  • Dried
  • Fresh
  • Frozen

Think about when you want to cook your dish, how many people you are cooking for, and if the mushrooms you want are in season or not. This will give you a better idea of whether or not you should get your mushrooms dried, fresh, or frozen.

Dried Mushrooms

Dried mushrooms are gathered and collected when they are in season (varies depending on the type of mushroom), and then dried so they maintain the fresh mushroom flavor while being available year-round.

Below are the top 6 types of mushrooms that are great to use when dried:

  1. Black Trumpet Mushrooms – These are usually gathered during the late summer to late autumn seasons in hardwood forests, near oak and beech trees. They are not actually found on the trees like other mushrooms, but near them. Black trumpets typically grow in clusters in North America, especially on the West Coast. The flavor of this type of mushroom is actually best when dried. Dried black trumpets mushrooms have a sweet, earthy richness that helps flavor soups and stews. They go particularly well with white fish, as well.
  2. Lion’s Mane Mushrooms – Gathered in the late summer to fall, lion’s mane can be found on dead or dying hardwood trees, especially oak and beech. They grow in North America, China, Japan, and Europe. Considered a gourmet mushroom, lion’s mane is said to have a seafood-like flavor, reminiscent of shrimp or lobster. Due to the flavor, lion’s mane mushrooms go well with pasta. These types of mushrooms are great to eat as a main dish as well as a side dish. Just remember that they take longer to cook than other mushrooms because they are tough and watery.
  3. Dried Chanterelle Mushrooms – Chanterelle mushrooms are found throughout the summer on the Eastern seaboard, and from fall to spring on the West Coast. Typically, they are found under oaks and conifers throughout North America. Chanterelle is a fruity mushroom that gives off the aroma of apricots when fresh, with a meat-like texture, and rich buttery flavor. Due to the rich, fruity flavor, chanterelles mushrooms are great for gravy, sauces, or as a pizza topping.
  4. Many types of mushrooms are found in the forest, either on or around trees.
  5. Dried Maitake Mushrooms – Maitake mushrooms are mainly found at the base of oak trees but will appear under other trees such as maple or elm as well. They are most common in the Northeastern areas of the United States and Canada. However, they also exist in hardwood forests in parts of Japan, China, and Europe. Also known as “the Dried Hen of the Woods,” this mushroom has a rich flavor and a chewy texture. You can bake, grill, and barbeque them. One of the most popular recipes is to simply fry them in oil or butter until crisp. They go especially well in soups and stews.
  6. Dried Shiitake Mushrooms – Native to China, shiitake mushrooms grow in Asian countries like Japan, China, and Korea. They can usually be found from spring to late summer. Shiitake mushrooms have a meaty texture, with an earthy, smoky flavor. The shiitake’s unique shape and size, along with its distinctive flavor, make it great for stir-fries, stews, and soups. People also like to use them as pizza toppings as well.
  7. Dried Wild Morel Mushrooms – Referred to as “pine cone mushrooms,” for their appearance which can make them hard to find in the wild, morels have a unique meaty and nutty flavor. Because of the flavor, morels are good for stews, soups, and sauces. Wild morels are typically available from March through July, near or at the base of elm (usually dead or dying), ash, tulip, or old apple trees.

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Fresh Mushrooms

Fresh mushrooms are gathered, collected, and eaten when they are in season. They retain the aroma and flavor in a way that dried or frozen mushrooms don’t typically offer.

Below are some of the most popular fresh mushrooms that you can use to spice up your next dish:

  1. Beech Mushrooms – Beech mushrooms grow on hardwood trees, most often Beech trees. They are native to East Asia and are grown year-round. The Beech mushroom should always be cooked. It has a crunchy texture with a nutty flavor. The firm texture and unique taste make the beech mushroom ideal for soups, sauces, and stir-fries. They go particularly well with seafood as well.
  2. Chicken of the Woods – Found in late August through mid-November, Chicken of the Woods mushrooms grow on white fir trees. They can easily be dried to enjoy throughout the year, though. As the name implies, this delicious mushroom can be prepared the way you prepare chicken. Many people say it tastes like lemon chicken or seafood. Chicken of the Woods can even be used as a substitute for chicken in a vegetarian diet. Typically, these types of mushrooms become harder as they age, so eating it fresh is the best choice. They are usually sautéed or deep fried.
  3. King Trumpets – King Trumpet mushrooms are found near the root of trees, in mossy areas. They can be found year-round. These types of mushrooms are known for their firm and meaty texture that have a mild flavor. They are also a good source of antioxidants and support healthy cholesterol levels. With a cap that is chewy, it is best to sauté or stir-fry this mushroom until its edges become golden brown. But King Trumpets are excellent grilled, barbequed, or used for tempura. They go well with meat, fish, and pasta dishes. The best way to bring out the King Trumpet’s natural flavor is to use plenty of butter.
  4. Many types of mushrooms go well with pasta dishes, adding a creamy, rich flavor.
  5. Lobster Mushrooms – From late summer to fall, you can find Lobster mushrooms under hemlock trees. They have a meaty and dense texture and slightly nutty flavor. With a red shell, cream-colored inside, and the aroma of seafood, this mushroom is great in seafood dishes such as stir fry, soups, and gravies. The best way to prepare Lobster mushrooms is to pan fry or sauté them.
  6. Matsutake Mushrooms – Matsutake mushrooms are found in the early fall months, typically in North America, although they have been seen in Asia, and Northern European countries as well. The Matsutake mushroom is highly prized by the Japanese culture and is excellent in sukiyaki (Japanese hot pot) and tempura. These firm and chewy mushrooms have a spicy flavor and give a distinct aroma of cinnamon and pine. Additionally, grilling, broiling, steaming or baking are great ways to cook these types of mushrooms.

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Frozen Mushrooms

For seasonal mushrooms you can’t get year-round, freezing them might be the best option.

Here’s the deal:

In order to freeze mushrooms, you must first dry them out to get rid of moisture. However, it’s important to note that you can’t freeze all mushrooms. Some mushrooms won’t freeze well and will lose structure or potency.

The best part?

Once you freeze mushrooms, though, they can essentially be stored indefinitely.

Below are some of the most popular frozen mushrooms:

  1. European Porcini Mushrooms – European Porcini mushrooms typically grow in European forests. These are popular because they are versatile and can be used with many dishes, even when frozen. They have a nutty, slightly meaty taste, with a smooth, creamy texture, making them the perfect addition to your pasta sauce or stew. You can sauté them with butter, BBQ them, ground them into pasta or risotto, or add to your soups.
  2. Domestic Porcini Mushrooms – Domestic Porcini mushrooms, also known as bolete mushrooms, are available year-round. Although Porcini mushrooms are rare outside of Italy, they can be found in California or Oregon. These types of mushrooms are popular due to their nutty flavor, and pair well in Italian dishes (as they originate in Italy and are hard to find elsewhere). A mild version of the European Porcini, the texture of frozen Domestic Porcinis may be different from having them fresh, but these are great so you can have boletes mushrooms whenever you need them.
  3. Morel Mushrooms – Morel mushrooms are not easily duplicated and are a prized delicacy because they require very specific growing conditions. They are typically found near ash, elm, and apple trees during the spring season. However, they freeze well. With a rich, buttery flavor, they pair well with fish, pasta dishes, and soups.
  4. Mexican Truffles – Due to the mushroom-like flavor that is a mix of sweet, savory, woody, and earthy, Mexican truffles are a delicacy in Mexican dishes. It’s commonly used as a filling in quesadillas and other tortilla-based foods.
  5. Black Oregon Truffles – Black Oregon Truffles have a mild flavor, yet they give off a strong scent. The pleasant aroma smells like pineapple and apple, with hints of wine, chocolate, and rose. They are commonly found among the roots of Douglas fir trees, in late November to March (although they freeze well). Due to the fruity and chocolate-like flavor, these are great for desserts. However, you can also use them in savory dishes such soufflés. Black Oregon truffles are ideal to use with rich foods such as meat, cheese and eggs. They also pair well with lobster, caviar, butter, garlic, shallots, cheese, citrus and herbs. When you go to cook these, do not let them thaw. Using them frozen is the best way to keep the flavor. Black Oregon truffles will keep, dry and tightly wrapped or stored in rice, for approximately seven days.
  6. Frozen Ramps – The ramp, sometimes called wild leek, is a wild onion native to North America. Though the bulb resembles that of a scallion, the flat, broad leaves set it apart. The flavor and odor of ramps is usually compared to a combination of onions and garlic. Ramps add wonderful and uniquely pungent flavor to soups, egg dishes, casseroles, rice dishes and potato dishes. Use them raw or cooked in any recipe calling for scallions or leeks.

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Truffles can be used to create truffle butter, or truffle cheese, that pairs well with bread.

How to Use Different Types of Mushrooms

When you cook with wild mushrooms, you don’t have to use them whole or chopped. Mushrooms can be used in a variety of ways including as a powder, truffle butter, creams, and oils.

Below are the top four ways to use mushrooms and truffles:

  1. Mushroom Powders
    You can ground up any edible mushrooms into coarsely ground mushroom powder, and use the powder as a spice in your meals. In order to make your own mushroom powder, all you need to do is clean your mushrooms, slice them, dry them, and blend them in a food processor. With a rich and earthy taste, mushroom powders can go a long way to help enrich the flavors of meals like soups, sauces, rice, rubs, pasta, seafood and more. A ground powder adds a sense of texture, but mainly preserves the flavor of the mushroom.

    Below are three popular mushroom powders:

    • Dried Black Trumpet Mushroom Powder – The sweet, earthy flavor that comes from this powder provides richness to soups, stews, and casseroles. It also goes well with seafood.
    • Dried European Porcini Mushroom Powder – Like the frozen European Porcini mushrooms, this mushroom powder has a nutty, meaty flavor. It is a popular choice for adding flavor to rice, stews, and sauces.
    • Dried Lobster Mushroom Powder – With a nutty flavor resembling the taste of seafood, this mushroom powder provides excellent flavor to a stir fry, soups, as well as poultry, meat, and fish dishes.
  2. Olive Oil
    Several different types of mushrooms can be infused with olive oil to provide extra flavor to any dish. Porcini infused olive oil is popular because this European mushroom is rarely found outside of Italy. This olive oil can be imported from Italy, and adds a rich, creamy flavor to any Italian dish.

  3. Mushroom Cream
    You can also blend mushrooms into a cream so you can use it as a spread or incorporate it in pasta sauces to create a rich, creamy flavor. Again, many people like to put European Porcini mushrooms in a cream because they are rare and can’t be found year-round.

  4. Truffle Butter
    Truffle butter can be used in place of butter in almost any savory dish to add extra flavor. But what is truffle butter? It is made by blending any truffle of your choice with butter and salt. We advise keeping this frozen, because truffle butter might not last long. Truffle butter goes particularly well on toast, in pasta sauce, and when cooking meats.

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How We Can Help

We hope this guide has helped you find the types of mushrooms you want to use in your next dish, along with how to best use them, whether as a standalone food or as a delicious ingredient.

If you know a mushroom enthusiast, gourmet mushrooms and specialty items make a great gift.

Do you want quality wild mushrooms to put in your next dish?

We can help. Our business has been selling quality wild mushrooms since 1999. We offer a variety of dried, fresh seasonal, and cultivated mushrooms, as well as mushroom-related specialty items such as truffle oil, truffle butter, balsamic creams, sea salts, pates, and more.

Check out our website to browse our products.

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