Shiitake (Lentinus edodes)

From Japanese shii tree + take = mushroom

Shiitakes are still probably most popular exotic mushroom for cooking. They have a meaty and firm texture which is gorgeous and tender when cooked. They are very common in Asian – and also Italian cooking. Like any of the exotic mushrooms, they are best pan fried or sautéed in butter or oil. They can be added to soups or stews to give a satisfying taste.

First cultivated in 11th century Japan during the Southern Song dynasty. Well before modern cultivation techniques were invented, people cut and placed Shii trees (related to beech and oak) next to trees which were producing the mushrooms.

Pink Oyster (P. salmoneostramineus)

Yellow Oyster (P. citrinopileatus)

It is often said that first we eat with our eyes, and when you consider these delicious and beautiful-looking mushrooms, this old adage rings true. These two eye-catching mushrooms contain high levels of antioxidants, which give the mushrooms their characteristic colour.

So not only are they colourful and tasty, they’re good for you too!

King Oyster (Pleurotus eryngii)

These are another member of the Pleurotus sp. group, although they are quite distinct from the other three types we grown. This species produces large mushrooms with hearty stems and they are often used as a meat substitute by vegans and vegetarians and in dishes such as soups and stews. When cooked they develop typical mushroom savoury (umami) flavours with a meaty texture.

The first modern cultivation was undertaken in 1993 in Japan. Now widely cultivated, its uniquely durable fruiting body makes it great for mass production and shipping, and the sheer size of the mushrooms is also impressive.

Grey Oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus)

The oyster mushroom is a delicacy in Asian cooking. Also used in the Czech and Slovak contemporary cuisine in soups and stews in a similar fashion to meat.

It was first cultivated in Germany as a subsistence measure during World War I. Some sources say it was long cultivated in Asia. Now the 2nd most cultivated mushroom after the common white button mushroom.

Maitake (Grifola frondosa)

Aka ‘hen-of-the-woods’

A polypore type mushroom that grows in clusters at the base of trees, particularly oaks. With its rich and deep flavours and nutty texture, these pretty mushrooms are delicious, seared, roasted, deep-fried, grilled or sautéed. These are definintley worth trying in different dishes or just on their own!

White Beech (Hypsizygus tessellatus)

Aka ‘Shimeji’

A choice mushroom with a sweet smell and mild sweet nutty flavour. When cooked this mushroom has a pleasant, firm, Slightly crunchy texture and a delicious slightly nutty flavour. Suitable in stir-fries as well as with wild game or seafood.

It can also it can be used in soups, stews and in sauces. Highly esteemed in Japan where cultivation techniques were first developed.

Lions Mane (Hericium erinaceus)

Aka ‘Pom Pom Blanc’ or ‘Monkeyhead’

A truly beautiful and delicious mushroom which when pan fried has the appearance and texture of chicken. It’s also described as being like seafood and in it can be used in place of lamb or even pork.

Lion’s mane mushrooms are growing in popularity all the time with many people now eating them as their first mushroom of choice!

Forest Nameko (Pholiota microspora)

Popular in Asian cultures, Forest Nameko mushrooms are also very versatile and very tasty. A popular mushroom in the Japanese soup miso, this wonderful mushroom can enhance almost any dish. Its has an earthy, forest flavour that is enhanced when sautéed. Its silky texture withstands the sautéing process well. Described as having a cashew-butterscotch aroma it is often used to thicken soups or stews.

Enjoy with a glass of Pinot Noir and rich foods such as red meats, fowl, dark green veg and shallots.

If you would like more information please contact

Dolores and Joe Gorman, Garryhinch, Co. Offaly.