Your latest jaunt to the forest or the grocery store has provided you with a bunch of delicious oyster mushrooms. But what should you do with them? How do you cook them, and what are some great recipes to use? Keep reading! In this article, we’ll talk about how to eat oyster mushrooms.
What You'll Learn Today
What is the Best Way to Eat Oyster Mushrooms?
Oyster mushrooms are a choice edible, highly popular throughout the world. They are both wild-harvested and cultivated, and they are a common sight at many grocery stores and specialty markets.
These mushrooms have a very mild, earthy flavor which some describe as woody or gently anise-like. Because they are so mild, they are a great addition to many recipes.
There is no one “best way” to cook and eat oyster mushrooms. Different people have different opinions about what is best.
Oyster mushrooms have an excellent meaty texture when cooked, and some people insist they are a great pork substitute. Others prefer to eat them dried, powdered, and mixed into soups and sauces; chopped and sauteed with garlic; or even pickled and canned.
Oyster mushrooms can be eaten both raw and cooked, though some people say they have a slight metallic taste when eaten raw. What’s more, the texture is generally preferable when they are cooked, and the cooking process brings out the more desirable flavors.
There are many different ways to cook oyster mushrooms; we’ll discuss these in the next section.
How to Cook Oyster Mushrooms?
Before cooking your mushrooms, you’ll want to make sure they’re clean. Wipe each one down with a damp paper towel, use a mushroom brush, or rinse them quickly under running water; do not submerge them, as they will absorb too much water this way.
Cut or pull the mushrooms into strips or pieces. Remove any that are showing signs of rot or decay, that have bug damage, or that otherwise don’t appear fit for eating.
Your mushrooms are now ready to cook. But how do you cook them, you ask?
The cooking options for these mushrooms are nearly endless. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular options:
- Saute: Sauteing oyster mushrooms is a quick and easy way to bring out their flavor. Toss them in a skillet with a little olive oil and minced garlic, cook them for 8 to 10 minutes over medium-high heat, throw a little salt on them, and serve them as a side dish.
- Roast: Roasting your mushrooms is a little more time-consuming, but the result is bite-sized chunks that are crispy on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth on the inside.
Coat the mushrooms in olive oil, season to your liking, spread them evenly on a baking sheet, and stick them in a preheated 400-degree oven. Bake them for about 12 minutes, turn them over, and bake them for another 10 minutes or so, or until they have reached your desired tenderness.
- Grill: Next time you’re having a cookout, throw a few oyster mushrooms on the grill along with your meats and veggies for a unique burst of flavor. They will cook very quickly, so keep a close eye on them; stir them around to help them cook evenly, and remove them from the grill as soon as they start to char a little bit around the edges.
- Fry: Everyone loves fried food, and fried oyster mushrooms are no exception. There are many ways to fry these mushrooms; you can pan-fry or deep-fry them, batter them, coat them in layers of egg wash and flour, or simply dunk them in flour for a light, powdery coating.
- Mix in recipes: Because of their mild, earthy flavor, oyster mushrooms blend well with many recipes. They are commonly used in various Asian cuisines; can be dehydrated, powdered, and mixed into soups, stews, and sauces; can be substituted for other mushrooms; and can even be added to recipes such as stir-fry, mixed roasted veggies, and even meat dishes.
Oyster Mushroom Recipes
Check out the following links for some great oyster mushroom recipes:
- Stir-fried oyster mushrooms
- Oyster mushroom bacon
- Oyster mushroom BBQ pulled pork sandwiches
- Teriyaki Oyster Mushroom Steak with Bok Choy
- Oyster Mushroom Pasta
- Spinach & Herb Risotto with Oyster Mushrooms
- Asparagus and Oyster Mushroom Fricassee
How to Tell if Oyster Mushrooms are Bad?
If it’s been a few days since you bought or foraged your oyster mushrooms, you may be wondering if they’re still good to use. You’ve heard they don’t stay fresh for very long, but how can you tell if they’ve started to go bad?
We’ll discuss some of the warning signs to look for below. If any of your mushrooms are beginning to show signs of decay, discard them immediately to keep the rot from spreading to the rest of your mushrooms.
- Discoloration: Oyster mushrooms come in a variety of colors, though most are varying shades of tan or gray. If you notice these mushrooms taking on a darker or a more yellowish shade than when you first picked or bought them, this is a surefire sign that they are no longer fit to eat.
- Mold: Mold can take on several forms, but you’ll likely know it when you see it. Any patches of dark, fuzzy, or discolored growth on the mushrooms is a sign of mold, and these spots should be generously cut away; if most of the mushroom is covered in the mold, simply discard the entire mushroom.
- White fuzz: You may notice white, hairlike growths on the mushroom stems or caps. This is a common type of mold on oyster mushrooms; any mushrooms displaying this sign of decay should be discarded.
- Dark spots: Again, discoloration means rot when it comes to oyster mushrooms. Even if you only notice small spots of darkening and discoloration, you should cut these dark spots off the mushroom and use it immediately; and again, if too much of the mushroom is consumed by these dark patches, discard the whole mushroom.
- Slimy texture: Any oyster mushrooms that are rotting will become unnaturally soft and slimy to the touch. Discard these mushrooms immediately.
- Foul odor: Fresh oyster mushrooms will have a mild, fresh, anise-like aroma. If the mushrooms have started to go bad, they will have a much stronger, more rotten smell.
Oyster mushrooms can be cooked and eaten many ways: you can saute them, throw them in a stir-fry, roast them, grill them, fry them, pickle them, or add them to your favorite recipe. They have a mild, woody taste that blends well with a variety of other spices and flavors.