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If you do not have experience with mushrooms, you may be wary about trying them for the first time. These fungi bring a whole new flavor profile to any recipe, however. They are a unique umami ingredient. Some people love mushrooms, while others have significant disdain for them.
Since there is such a juxtaposition between individuals who like mushrooms and those who do not, you need to try them yourself. You may want to know which are the best, however, before you taste them. You can learn more in the information below.
Table of Contents
What Do Mushrooms Taste Like?
Most describe edible mushrooms as slightly sweet. They have an earthy flavor, which aids in that umami profile.
Mushrooms are extraordinarily versatile too. You can add any seasonings you want to take these ingredients in a new direction. Many vegetarians substitute meats for these fungi when they cook mushrooms due to their versatility too.
Some individuals enjoy the flavor profile of mushrooms, but they cannot stand the texture to them. These fungi are incredibly soft, almost resembling a sponge.
Why are Mushrooms so Soft?
As mentioned, mushrooms are similar in texture to a sponge. They also have a sturdiness to them, however. They retain their shape even when you cut into them.
Mushrooms are primarily composed of water. They can draw in moisture release it when necessary.
If you still do not appreciate the texture of this food, some mushrooms are firmer than others. They will be in more detail in the information below.
Do All Mushrooms Taste the Same?
Not every mushroom tastes the same. Continue reading below to learn more about some of the best options for you to try first.
Oyster mushrooms come from China and resemble tiny black seashells. Many individuals eat oyster mushrooms raw, sautéed, or steamed.
Oyster mushrooms are very meaty. For those new to this ingredient, this option can be a bit overwhelming. If you are willing to experiment, oyster mushrooms will pair well with other strong flavor profiles.
Many individuals pair oyster mushrooms with garlic and Spanish onion to start. You will commonly see this combination in soups, sandwiches, pasta, and even pizza. Some people incorporate this ingredient in Asian dishes by adding chili pepper and soy sauce, for instance.
Shiitake mushrooms are some of the most popular and healthiest available today. They contain vitamin D, calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, selenium, and other essential nutrients.
Shiitake mushrooms originated in Japan. The Japanese people fell in love with this ingredient almost immediately because of its earthy tones. This pick is versatile as well, however.
Shiitake mushrooms typically pair well with simple flavors like sesame seeds, salts, sugars, and olive oil. They go well with virtually any dish, including even desserts! Many chefs, however, pair Shitake mushrooms with tofu and other vegetarian meals due to their versatility.
Porcini mushrooms find their homes throughout North America and Europe. These are some of the most in-demand due to the uniqueness of their flavor. They are earthy like a Shitake mushroom, but Porcinis taste woodsy and nutty too.
Porcini mushrooms are popular in Italian dishes. They pair well with bread, pasta, risotto, pizza, and other similar meals.
You can find a Porcini at almost any grocery store where you shop. Most of the time, they are dried out, however. When you get home, all you have to do is soak them in hot water before cooking.
Morel mushrooms are only available in France and Belgium from May to September. They are rare, however, as you can likely imagine.
The texture of a Morel mushroom is unique in that they resemble the meat of a chicken white meat. The taste is similar to that of a lobster, however, and they are nutty in a way. Look for darker-colored fungi if you want a smokier flavor for your meal. If one becomes slimy, it is no longer edible.
Morel mushrooms have many health benefits too. They are full of vitamin B, potassium, sodium, and iron.
White Button Mushrooms
White Button mushrooms are the most common and one of the most popular varieties. They grow anywhere, during any season. Typically, you can find them next to trees or under shrubbery.
White Button mushrooms are mild in flavor and have a natural sweetness to them. Many individuals incorporate these fungi into their salads as they are delicious raw.
White Button mushrooms are also a welcome ingredient in soups and pasta. Some Asian dishes use this option, including stir-fry if you want a diverse flavor profile.
Portobello mushrooms are often vegetarian’s fungi of choice. They have a rich beefiness in their flavor that pairs well with garlic and onion. Many vegetarians use Portobello mushrooms as a substitute for hamburgers, for instance.
You will immediately recognize the Portobello mushroom when you show up at a grocery store. They have a wide diameter and a flat top that is dark brown.
Portobello mushrooms develop a light crisp when you sauté them or cook them on a grill. These versatile fungi will retain the moisture on the inside, giving you a delicious bite full of texture every time.
Cremini mushrooms are unique in their appearance. They have a green cap and yellow gills underneath. Creminis are full of antioxidants and fiber, bringing with them a variety of health benefits for you.
Cremini mushrooms have a unique flavor profile that is sweet when you first take a bite. After a couple of seconds, however, you will immediately notice the bitter aftertaste.
Cremini mushrooms are popular with seafood and vegetarian meals. They pair well with other umami flavors. Some bakers even incorporate Crimini mushrooms into their desserts, offering a unique look and taste.
Candy Cap Mushrooms
Candy Cap mushrooms come in a multitude of different colors, as the name implies. These fungi can be blue, purple, black, pink, red, orange, yellow, and more. When you cut into the mushroom, you will continue to appreciate the bright colors.
Believe it or not, Candy Cap mushrooms taste like candy. Their flavor is the perfect combination of caramelized sugar and fruitiness.
Candy Cap mushrooms make a perfect snack or ingredient for a dessert. As mentioned, they are fun in their color and taste like candy. They also, however, have no cholesterol and a firm texture.
Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms
The last two mushrooms to mention on this list are unique in their appearance and taste. The Chicken of the Woods option, for example, looks like a growth on the side of a tree. They are yellow and orange in their coloration.
Chicken of the Woods mushrooms are dense and firm. They taste almost exactly like chicken, as the name implies.
Some people do have allergic reactions to this mushroom variety, however. Start with trying a bite or two, then wait to see if the Chicken of the Woods affects you.
You likely know all about the high price point of truffles. These mushrooms, however, are well worth the cost.
Truffles have a meaty flavor that becomes increasingly delicious as you eat them. Some say that they have the perfect combination of prosciutto and beef when considering their taste.
If you want to find truffles for yourself, you will have to do some digging. They only grow underground, and there are specially trained dogs that locate them.
Best Spices to Use with Mushrooms
Believe it or not, a little bit of olive oil can make a big difference in the taste of mushrooms. If you want a more noticeable umami flavor, however, add garlic or onions of any variety. Dill, on the other hand, will enhance the earthiness of the mushrooms.
Paprika and chili flakes will help to give your mushrooms a smoky flavor. Consider adding in a dehydrated hot pepper if you want something a bit spicier.
Believe it or not, peanuts make such a difference with portobellos especially. They add a nutty flavor to the meatiness of the mushroom that can bring your meal together. Curry powder can also bring out a unique international taste.
Health Benefits of Eating Mushrooms
Mushrooms are very high in protein and fiber. They only have 0.3 grams of fat per serving too, so they are so healthy. Learn more about some of the health benefits below.
Reduction in Weight
Some scientists theorize that you can lower your BMI by eating at least two servings of mushrooms per week. As mentioned, they will fill you up quickly due to the high protein count. They will not remain in your system, however, as they have are low in fat.
Mushrooms may also positively benefit your immune system. They can stimulate macrophages, which are the cells that fight off infections.
Some think that the regular consumption of mushrooms prevents the development of cancer. Some of the natural chemicals in these foods can stop tumor growth.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
Mushrooms are high in potassium, fiber, magnesium, zinc, and iron. These are necessary for healthy blood pressure. If this number gets too high, you are at increased risk of heart disease and heart attack.
Better Digestive Health
Finally, the regular consumption of edible mushrooms can lead to better digestive health. They contain glucanases, chitinase, and beta-glucans that help you digest food and absorb the nutrients you need. There are also proteolytic enzymes that help break down meat in your digestive tract.
Try Out Mushrooms for Yourself!
There are so many mushroom variations for you to try. Each has a different flavor profile that pairs with a specific type of food or dish. You can enhance any mushroom by adding spices to your meal, especially if you do not initially like the earthy flavor.
Why Do Mushrooms Taste Weird?
If you want to start eating mushrooms, you need to know how to cook them! Otherwise, you may complain that they have a weird taste. This sensation goes beyond the fact that some people do not enjoy mushrooms.
First, you need to season mushrooms to your liking. Make sure, when sautéing them, that you use plenty of cooking oil. The fungi will absorb all of the greases in the pan, giving them a delicious earthy flavor.
What Mushrooms are Inedible?
Above, you read about some of the most delicious edible mushrooms you can try for yourself. Some of these fungi are poisonous to humans, however, and you should avoid eating them. See the list below of the names of the inedible mushrooms.
Death cap mushrooms
What Mushroom Tastes the Best?
If you are new to the world of mushrooms, you need to start with the one that has a mild and amicable taste. A white button mushroom typically does not have an aftertaste. A portobello, however, offers a slightly richer flavor.
If you want a mushroom with good taste and a firm texture, consider the Shiitake. The Maitake is also a popular option among vegetarians. It is also dense and not overly rich.