MUSHROOMS. . . MUSHROOMS. . . MUSHROOMS. . . September is National Mushroom Month!

Distinctively shaped, and with an array of exceptional tastes and textures, fresh mushrooms bring an exciting and dynamic dimension to the produce department.

Thanks to state-of-art production techniques, fresh white button and specialty mushrooms have become among the most available, reliable, convenient and easy-to-use produce items.

Nutrition: Mushroom varieties share common nutritional values. All cultivated mushrooms offer a good source of fiber, are low in calories and are sodium-free, fat-free and cholesterol-free.

Thanks to the Fresh Grocer for all mushroom information

 AGARICUS (White Mushroom)

The most widely available mushroom variety and also the most familiar. Ranging in color from creamy white to light brown and in sizes from small to jumbo.

 

FLAVOR:

Pleasingly mild and woodsy when eaten raw. The distinctive flavor intensifies when cooked. Mature Agaricus,with open veins, have an intensely rich taste.

 USAGE:

Very versatile and equally tasty, fresh or cooked. Use raw in salads, with dips, sauteed with side dishes, breads or as an ingredient to enrich sauces, soups, stuffings or entrees.

 

CEPE (Porcini, Bolete, Cap)

Resembles a cultivated mushroom with a bulbous stem and a tan to brown cap which can range in size from one to ten inches in diameter. Beneath the cap lies a spongy mass of tubes of tiny holes instead of gills. Usually found dried.

FLAVOR:

A full-bodied , pungent mushroom. Nutty flavored.

 USAGE:

Cepes are great grilled or sauteed, prepared simply to appreciate their flavor.

 CHANTERELLES (Trumpet)

Shaped like a trumpet flower, chantrelle varieties range in color from black, white and apricot-orange.

 

FLAVOR:

There is a wide range in flavor and size. They can be mild, fragrant, nutty or even spicy, reminiscent of cinnamon.

 

 USAGE:

Chanterelles are delicious sauteed and served as a first course. They complement chicken and other light meats. Prepare them simply otherwise their flavor will be overpowered.

 

CRIMINI (Italian Brown)

Long flavored by European cooks, the Crimini is closely related to and similiar in appearance to the Agaricus. Look for a naturally dark cap that ranges in color from light tan to rich brown.

 FLAVOR:

Meaty and earthy flavor; is more intense than the Agaricus.

 USAGE:

Can be substituted in any recipe specifying white button mushrooms, when more full-bodied taste is perferred.

 

ENOKI

Fragile, flower-like Enoki grow in small clusters. Charactized by long slender stems and tiny caps, the mushrooms are creamy white in color.

 FLAVOR:

Mild, light and slightly crunchy.

 USAGE:

Best enjoyed raw in salads and sandwiches or as a garnish for Asian dishes and soups.

 

MOREL

A wild mushroom, Morels are cone-shaped with a honeycomb designed cap which varies widely in size. They can be dark brown, yellow or creamy white.

 FLAVOR:

Earthy flavor reminscent of hazelnuts or nutmeg.

 USAGE:

Best cooked, served in a sauce or with poultry, veal, pastas, meat or fish.

 

OYSTER (Pleurotus)

Fluted and graceful, Oyster mushrooms are named for their soft brown or gray color and unique oyster shell shape.

 

FLAVOR:

Can be eaten raw but more often cooked to bring out delicate flavor and velvety texture.

 USAGE:

Often sliced raw in salads, is also used when preparing chicken, veal, pork and seafood dishes.

 

PORTABELLA

It is the largest of the commercially available mushrooms with a tan-brown cap.

 

FLAVOR:

A long growing cycle results in a deep, meatlike flavor and substantial terxture.

 

 USAGE:

Serve whole or sliced, grilled, baked or deep-fried; as an appetizer, side dish or entree or add to stir-frys, sautes and sauces.

 

SHITAKE (Oak, Chinese or Black Forest)

Popularized by their usage in Asian cuisines, Shitakes range in color from tan to dark brown and are characterized by broad, umbrella-shaped caps, wide open veins and tan gills.

 FLAVOR:

Rich, full bodied flavor with a meaty texture when cooked.

 USAGE:

Best if cooked. Adds a meaty flavor and texture to entrees, pastas, soups, stir-frys and side dishes.

 

WILD LOBSTER

This unusual mushroom has a bright red-orange color and a meaty texture. 

 FLAVOR:

Woodsy flavor, with a strong smell.

 

 USAGE:

Delicious when used in vegetable sautes, soups, entrees and rich dishes. Can be served with beef, veal or fish.

 

WOODEAR (Silver Ear, Tree Ear, Cloud Ear)

A delicate flavored, flat-capped mushroom with a meaty texture.

 FLAVOR:

Woodsy flavor, the taste comes out when mixed with other vegetables.

 

 USAGE:

Woodears are best if cooked and used as an accent rather than served alone. Add them to vegetables, meat, poultry and seafood dishes and stir-frys.

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