Favorite Edible Mushrooms
Members of the NE Mushroom Hunters Yahoo group have posted these interesting lists of their favorite edible mushrooms. Proof positive that taste in mushrooms is a great variable. These lists could prove to be a great help to a beginner in deciding what mushrooms to hunt, with the intent of eating them.
My top ten edible fungi;
This past winter going through some old papers I found a list from
about ten years ago of my top twenty edible fungi, looking at I
realized that my top five had stayed the same, but there was some
changes six through ten. So here is my updated top ten list.
10 Boletus bicolor, Bicolor Bolete.
Was 14th on my old list. Very common, great texture and flavor, but
not one I recommend for beginners because of poisonous look-alikes
9 Lactarius rubidus, Candy Cap.
New to the list. West coast mushrooms, Candy Caps are a real treat. I
first had in sugar cookies a few years ago; they have a sweet taste
and a wonderful maple sugar odor.
8 Laetiporus cincinnatus, Chicken Mushroom.
Moved up from #9. This is the pinkish-white pored Chicken, not L.
sulphureus, (Sulphur Shelf,) the bright yellow-orange pored one. L.
cincinnatus has a much better flavor and doesn't get the
Styrofoam-like texture like L. sulphureus.
7 Cantharellus cibarius, Chanterelle.
An old standard, one can never have too many Chanterelles.
6 Hericium americanum, Bear's Head Tooth.
Was 15th ten years ago, moved up to 8th about five years ago,
continues on up. It has a texture like scallops and a nice flavor.
H. coralloides, Comb Tooth,
Is very similar in taste but thinner fleshed. Both get bitter and
tough when old, eat only the young pinkish or white ones.
5 Morchella esculenta and elata, Yellow and Black Morel.
Morels are a rare treat, would probably be higher but I don't find
that many. I think Yellows are slightly better but haven't had at the
same time to compare.
4 Grifola frondosa, Hen of the Woods.
Hens are great, you can do anything with them.
3 Hydnum repandum group, Sweet Tooth.
I prefer the large whitish one, not because of taste, I doubt I could
tell the difference, just because it takes a lot less of them for a
meal and they're easier to clean. They are similar to Chanterelles but
you get thick meaty slices form them, and I think they have a better
flavor. H. umbilicatum
is probably the most common around here, but all three occur in this area
2 Boletus edulis, King Bolete.
This is one that I don't find much of, and because of that reason
think, is this mushroom really that good, and then find enough to eat,
and yes, it is That Good.
1Craterellus cornucopioides, Black Trumpet.
This mushroom may not look like the best but looks can be deceiving.
It has a very strong flavor that can only be described as "Black
Trumpet flavor". Wonderful mixed with the less flavorful Chanterelles
like C. cinnabarinus or C. ignicolor, (adds some color)
Ones that got bumped from the old list
#6 Sparassis crispa, Cauliflower Mushroom, not because I don't like
it, just because I haven't had in about 15 years.
Old #8 Lactarius hygrophoroides and volemus, just out of the top ten now.
Old #10 Pleurotus ostreatus, Oyster Mushroom. for some reason I just
don't like Oysters that much anymore, might not be in my top twenty
And ones that almost made the top ten.
What fun! I notice that Grifola frondosa is not on the list. So many people that go ga-ga over Hens, you'd think it was in everybody's top 10!
10. Entoloma abortivum
I think this one cooks up great, and can be used in a variety of ways with its strong mushroomy flavor.
9. Cantharellus cibarius
There's a lot of variability in this one, but when they're good they're very very good.
8. Ramaria botrytis
I had this once and it was outstanding! Haven't seen it since. But my memory of it was implanted. Perhaps next time I'll be disappointed.
7. Sparassis crispa
Makes a great mushroom "sandwich". It's like the lettuce, only with flavor!
6. Coprinus comatus
Fantastic with eggs.
5. Laetiporus sulphureus
Here, Noah and I will take different paths. I think L. cincinatus is totally blah. But then I'm really picky about L. sulphureus, too. It has to be picked when it's young and the growing edge of the bracket is still thick and round and juicy and bright orange/yellow. As soon as starts reaching the limit of its growth and the instant there is the hint that it has started thinning and developing the outer edge, it's too late. People often get the impression that I don't like Chix of the Woods because I'll refuse what they've picked and offered to share with me - because what they've picked is too old! Sometimes WAY too old. Like Noah says, if I want to chew on fried packing material, I can order it from Amazon.
4. Hypomyces lactifluorum
Lobsters. Love 'em! That firm, almost crispy. texture. That wonderful color that leaks into the oil/water/fat/liquid. That wonderful nutty flavor. Yum!
3. Craterellus cornucopioides
I like these with fish dishes. They're great with a grilled cod or haddock. A strong flavored fish, like bluefin, will overpower it. They're great just lightly sauteed straight up, too. And they store well, to boot!
2. Lactarius hygrophoroides/volemus
I fell in love with these when I first learned to identify them and I still do. They're reliable, easy to store, maintain their flavor.
1. Tricholoma magnivelare
I have to admit, this is my favorite. Straight up, cooked lightly. Makes an outstanding broth soup. Excellent with eggs. Should do a great risotto, too. Unfortunately, I don't have great success storing them - they're never left over!
(near the top 10):
Hydnum repandum - they store well.
Lepista nuda - does make a great soup/stew
Hericium coralloides - this
Morchella elata (group) - very unreliable. And I'm not just talking about finding it. The flavor is too often missing. When it's good, it's very very good, but more often than not, it's not.
Grifola frondosa - I do like this one. It's very versatile.
Here's my list of favorite edibles, in order. A bit offbeat, maybe.
1 - Clitocybe odora. Sweet, aromatic, delicate and delicious. If you
can find it. Scarce here.
2 - Ganoderma tsugae. Excellent when very young and first budding out,
before any hint of red cap color shows.
3 - Tricholoma personatum. Crispy and richly flavored.
4 - Lepiota procera. Il like its maple-walnut flavor when slightly dried.
5 - Coprinus variegatus (quadrifidus). Strong, rich flavor. To my
taste, the best of the Coprinus genus. Has a reputation of causing
stomach upset, but I have eaten it for over 40 years with no problems.
6 - Coprinus micaceus. Tender, delicate and with a wonderful flavor.
7 - Marasmius oreades. Spicy and chewy.
8 - Morel. 'Nuff said.
9 - Agaricus campestris. Great earthy mushroomy flavor.
10 - Cantharellus cibarius. Who doesn't like the chanterell?
OK, here's mine with some cooking caveats attached:
1. Black Trumpets!!! Yes. They are my favorite. Dry them. Dry them
and powder them. Add them to eggs, stews, soups. Fresh I like them
cooked in olive oil and butter and finished with cream and salt and
then tossed with pasta, rice or soba noodles. They are a great
enhancer of scrambled eggs. I always add dry trumpet powder when I
cook brown rice, the flavor impregnates the rice grains.
2. Golden Chanterelles. How can you not love them? I only cook them
one way though. A quick hot fry in olive oil, then a minute with
butter then a slower finish with white wine and cream. I like them
over grilled chicken or Striped Bass.
3. Tylopilus alboater. The meatiest, most steak-like of all the
boletes. It's so dense that you must cook it well and slice it thin
and let it mingle with some onion and garlic. Over steak or
hamburger, can't beat 'em.
4. Laetiporus cincinnatus. I agree the the white pored Sulphur
Shelf is superior and you can never eat any sulfur shelf unless it's
absolutely soft and rubbery and dripping fresh. Slow sautee for me.
5. Sweet tooth. Either one is great but the taste does vary. I
like the sweet flavor AND the texture.
6. Shaggy manes. Simple to cook, easy to eat. They make great
simple soups. Chicken broth, shaggies, celery, onion, potatoes. Or
just over toast.
7. Boletus bicolor. Good fresh, grear dried. Staple for soups,
stews and stir-frys.
8. Morels. I'm not ahuge morel fan but I like them and in the
spring they're the best game in town.
9. Horse mushroom complex. I love the ones that come across with
the strong sweet almond smell. Big chunky, meaty horses cooked into
a gravy are fantastic for me.
10. Hen of the woods. I like 'em but I don't love them but they
are versatile and they make the best chowder. I substitute them for
clams and make a chowder with them, that's my favorite way to cook
OK I left out dry-fried Lactarius hygrophoriodes and Boletus edulis
complex which I do love along with the Xanthoconiums, affinis,
purpureum and seperans but there's choices to be made and for this
year these are mine.
Hi Noah (and others) – I like to eat all the mushrooms species on your list.
In addition, I really like Cauliflower mushrooms (Sparassis crispa) – last year I found
five of them (many years I don’t see it at all), Graylings (Cantharellula umbonata), which
I find every year, and Beefsteak Mushrooms (Fistulina hepatica) – I typically find several
of these each year. I’m surprised that this species wasn’t on anyone’s list so far – yes,
it’s sour, but I like them brushed with teriyaki sauce and grilled. Other honorable mentions
on my list would be Oyster Mushrooms (I found over a pound of these in Lincoln yesterday),
Wine Cap Stropharia (used to find a lot of these but no so much lately), Agaricus campestris,
arvensis and augustus, Bay Boletes (Boletus badius), Fairy Ring mushrooms (Marasmius oreades?)
and Matsutakes. Edible mushrooms I don’t like the flavor of include Puffballs and Blewits. The
one time I ate Ramaria botrytis I felt sick afterward (my wife who ate it too was fine), so I
probably won’t try that one again.
Also the Umbrella Polypore (Polyporus umbellatus) – I have only eaten it twice, but it was really yummy. I’d love to find it more often. Also Parasol (Lepiota procera)
My top ten list.
1. Craterellus cornucopiodes/foetidus/cenerius - Black trumpets. These all taste similar with C. foetidus being the better. These are way above anything else! They dry exceptionally well. Cream, cheese, fish, chicken, and other "lighter flavored foods" go well with this. I have enjoyed white wine flavored with trumpets.
2. Cantharellus cibarius/ Craterellus tubaeformis / Craterellus ignicolor. - The various chanterelles. These all taste similar with the craterellus species being a bit less versatile in culinary usage.
3. Agaricus arvensis - Horse mushroom. Powerful aroma and flavor! Suited to beef and other strong tasting foods. Very versatile. Agaricus campestris is almost as good.
4. Boletus bicolor - Nice nutty flavor, crunchy texture, and a show stopper in terms of eye appeal on the plate.
5. Grifola frondosa - Maitake. Excellent flavor and versatility. Virtually every cooking technique works with these except for the really large pieces which can be dried and made into excellent powder.
6. Boletus edulis - King bolete. I need to say something here? Drying it and making powder for cooking is my favorite use.
7. Lepista nuda - Blewit Very unique flavor. These are relatively easy to propogate. I was able to drop a fruit body into soaked raw sawdust in a canning jar and get a vigorous mycelium that I planted in composty duff on my property
8. Hydnum repandum/umbilicatum - The hedgehogs. Meaty and chanterelle-like. These dry well and smell fantastic while drying.
9. Entoloma abortvitum - Aborted Entoloma. Tricky to cook but nutty and excellent sauteed hard and fast.
10. Macrolepiota procera Parasol Mushroom The caps have a nice maple syrup flavor.
I could easily add ten more to this list. Splitting hairs is tough. This list will probably change but knocking trumpets out of No. 1 will be hard to do.
I attempted to make a list of my top ten mushrooms but I failed :o) I listed all the mushrooms that impressed me then tried to sort them into the best taste (1), second best (2) etc.
Here is what I wound up with:
1. American Matsutake
Hen of the Woods
Hydnum repandum group, Sweet Tooth.
Umbrella Polypore, Polyporus umbellatus
Sweetbread, Clitopilus prunulus
3. Lactarius hygrophoroides/volemus
Wine-stain Bolete, Xanthoconium separans
I guess I will have work on these mushrooms and see if I can get them to fall in favor. Right now I have only top 3 rated mushrooms but there are 21 of them :o)