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The Kingdom of Mushrooms

Fungi aren’t exactly plants or animals (although humans and fungi actually share about 40% of the same DNA!) So scientists gave fungi their own kingdom. In it live six times as many species as there are plants on Earth. And while we don’t stock all 14,000(ish) of them, we’re pretty proud of our selection. They’re nutritious, versatile,and they bring that yummy umami flavor—and a rich, savory, almost meaty depth and completeness to the flavor experience.

And you know you want that. So check out the guides below and get yourself acquainted with our favorites.

First, a few mushroom need-to-knows:

  • Store mushrooms in a paper bag in the main part of your fridge. Mushrooms need a bit of airflow and room to breathe to prevent moisture build-up.

  • Clean mushrooms by wiping with a dry towel or a soft brush. Wash with water only when necessary, but don’t let them soak (unless you’re working with morels.)

  • Most mushrooms get more flavorful when cooked over high heat. Try seasoning with salt and pepper, and then sauté, roast, or grill them with some good oil until they begin to brown and the edges begin to crisp. They’ll be delicious just like that, or as a topping for anything from toast to steak or risotto. Be sure to deglaze the pan with a little wine, stock or water!

  • The darker the mushroom, the greater the umami flavor.

Meet the mushrooms

White Button - Meaty in texture, and very light in flavor, it’s great raw in salads or cooked in any dish, especially stuffing.

Cremini – This meaty textured, umami-rich mushroom is perfect sautéed up and added to just about anything.

Portabella - Great for roasting, grilling, or in long-cooking dishes, big, juicy portabellas have a meaty texture and full flavor. (Be sure to scrape their gills so you won’t discolor your sauces.)

Shiitake - This stir-fry staple has a deep, rich umami flavor. Slice the caps into soups, noodles, and rice dishes. Vegetarian? Try making mushroom bacon out of this one. Bunashimeji/Beech-Most often found on beech trees (hence the name,) these nutty-flavored shrooms cook up crunchy and taste delicious in stir-fries or soups.

Maitake/Hen of the Wood - Succulent and chewy in texture, maitakes have a yeasty, woodsy, and almost spicy flavor. Cut off the woody base and you’ve got an excellent addition to soup or any noodle dish, or serve on their own as a side.

Oyster - With a delicate texture and flavor, sautéed or roasted oyster mushrooms pair well with... well, basically anything. Plus, they’re super tasty on their own.

King oyster/trumpet - This large relative of the traditional oyster has a dense, meaty texture and an earthy and savory flavor. Sauté, roast or grill.

Lion’s mane - Like their namesake, these fungi are light and feathery. They’re similar to crab in flavor and feel, so they make an ideal seafood substitute.

Wild mushrooms

Always, always cook wild mushrooms before eating.

Matsutake - This highly sought-after species has a firm, meaty texture and a piney and spicy flavor, and makes an excellent broth for non-dairy dishes.

Chanterelle - With their soft fleshy texture and rich woodsy flavor, chanterelles are a perfect addition to cream sauces, pastas, eggs, and pretty much any meat dish we can think of.

Lobster- Named for their light seafoody, lobstery aroma and flavor, these are excellent crisped up and added to risottos, pastas or piled atop a steak.

Porcini/Bolete - Porcinis have a very dense texture and a deep, earthy, flavor. Sauté or add raw to hearty dishes for some rich umami goodness.

Cauliflower/Sparassis – This one kind of looks like a brain, or a sea sponge, or a cauliflower, But it eats like an al dente egg noodle—it’s the ultimate soup mushroom.

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