Oyster mushrooms, scientifically known as Pleurotus spp. are delicious, full of flavor and considered a medicinal food. There are so many awesome varieties, and they all have a difference in taste, smell and consistency.
There are around 202 edible species within the pleurotus family, with Pearl oysters being the most common in North America. Having a woody almost nutty flavor with a slightly soft and chewy texture. On the other hand, some oyster mushrooms have a slightly seafoody Buy Blue Meanies taste and smell, like the Pink oyster, and go well with seafood dishes.
Officially documented and classified by Dutch naturalist Niklaus Joseph Freiherr Von Jacquin in 1775 as Agaricus ostreatus. Later, in 1871 German Mycologist, Paul Kummer, reclassified them as genus Pleurotus. Coined as the “oyster” mushroom due to its seashell appearance.
Oyster mushrooms eventually began being commercially cultivated around the 1940’s for the local markets, restaurants and medicinal uses.
Oyster Mushroom Medicinal Properties
Oyster mushrooms are known for their Medicinal benefits like general nutrition and heart health, but did you know that they are also great at helping reduce inflammation and reducing cholesterol and aiding in weight loss?
The beta- glucans, antioxidants and Ergothioneine amino acids help to protect the heart and lower inflammation throughout the whole body. Mushrooms are one of the only food products that naturally contain vitamin D, which helps to regulate blood pressure levels. This is beneficial to people that live in colder climates that tend to be deficient in vitamin D.
Another interesting fact about the beta-glucans that mushrooms produce, makes them one of the best foods on the planet for protecting your immune system against short term and long term illnesses. Mushrooms also make a great vegan-cholesterol friendly replacement for meat in any dish! Packed with protein and loads of vitamins.
Did you know that one cup of oyster Mushrooms gives you 12% of your recommended iron intake? Oyster mushrooms are also rich in riboflavin, potassium, vitamin B6, magnesium and other amino acids.
Foraging For Oyster Mushrooms
In the wild, you can forage for oyster mushrooms all year long. Fallen trees and logs, such as beech, oak, sycamore or other types of hardwood are where the oyster mushrooms like to form in clusters, called shelves. With the exception of the King Oyster mushroom. This one tends to grow individually, with thick white, meaty stalks and tan colored caps. Also sometimes referred to as wine caps, king trumpets, or french horn. King Oyster is not native to the US.