Shiitake Mushrooms
A delicious side dish of roasted shiitake and button mushrooms with sweet potatoes and onions. Photo courtesy of The recipe is on the website.




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CAITLIN BARRETT is a member of THE NIBBLE editorial staff. She wishes that she could make a joke here about being a “fun guy.”

KAREN HOCHMAN is Editorial Director of THE NIBBLE.



November 2005
Updated June 2009

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Vegetables

Mushroom Types

Page 6: Mushroom Glossary Q To Z

This is Page 6 of a six-page article. Click on the black links below to visit other pages.


Wild & Specialty Mushroom Glossary Q To Z

My Name Get To Know Me

Shiitake or Black Forest or Chinese Black Mushroom or Japanese Black Mushroom

Large, meaty shiitake mushrooms are not black, but chocolaty brown, with an umbrella-shaped cap and a fibrous, woody stem. They are found in most supermarkets, and are utilized most often in Asian cuisine. Far from being limited to Asian dishes, however, shiitakes are hearty and meaty and hold up well in stews, omelets, pizzas and Italian dishes—their firm texture affords a long cooking time. Fresh or dried, they make an excellent gravy that would please herbivores, carnivores and omnivores alike. They are cultivated and available year round.

Shiitake Mushroom
Photo courtesy of Gourmet Mushrooms, Inc.

Shimeji or Buna Shimeji or Hon Shimeji

See Brown Beech Mushroom.


Sponge Mushroom

See Morel Mushroom.


Straw Mushroom

Fresh straw mushrooms are not widely available in the U.S. and few of us would even recognize them if we saw them: They look almost like quail eggs, with unopened “veils.” Most people are familiar with the canned variety of straw mushrooms (see photo at right), which are often found in Asian dishes and are easy to find in most Asian supermarkets. Dried straw mushrooms can be found in many Chinese markets and are just as delicious as the fresh variety. Use them in stir-fries, sauces or in beef dishes.

Straw Mushrooms
Photo by Joe B. | Morguefile.

Sulfur Mushroom

See Chicken Of The Woods Mushroom.


Truffle ~ Black and White

A type of subterranean mushroom, truffles are prized around the world for their heady culinary powers. No one has figured out how to cultivate them, and since they are found usually about a foot underground, specially trained dogs or pigs are needed to sniff for them. A kilogram of black truffles can sell in the U.S. for well over a thousand dollars; white truffles are even more costly. But a little goes a long way: most cooks shave a small amount of the truffle into patés, egg dishes, pasta, and even mashed potatoes. Only a truly wealthy and decadent person would cook whole truffles the way one cooks other fungus: The flavor is actually too strong to be enjoyed whole. White truffles may be eaten raw, while black truffles must be cooked. Store them in a container of dry white rice. This will keep them fresh and flavor the rice with the great taste of truffles. The harvest season in the Périgord and Italy is October through November, sometimes longer; however, black truffles are now coming from China and other parts of the world. Read our comprehensive article on truffles for more information.

Black truffles
Black truffles from the Himalayas. Photo courtesy of
white truffle
The famous White Truffle of Alba, or Tuber magnatum pico. Photo courtesy of Abrate & Sons.

Trumpet Royale or Black Trumpet or Horn of Plenty or Trompette Mushroom

These mushrooms are trumpet-shaped, thick and meaty and can easily be used as part of a main course. Sauté in them in garlic, butter and parsley or replace use them as a substitute for ground beef in lasagna. The black varieties are fragile, very rich and buttery with a sweet, earthy richness.

trumpet royale
Photo courtesy of Gourmet Mushrooms, Inc.

White Chanterelle

This mushroom is similar to the golden chanterelle, but lighter in color.


Wild Mushroom

While many mushrooms are called “wild,” the term truly belongs to those foraged in the woods. Species that were formerly wild, such a cremini, oyster, portabella and shiitake, are now cultivated indoors and available year-round.


Wood Ear Mushroom

This variety of mushroom is prevalent in Asian cooking. It is easy to identify, as it resembles a human ear, the surface is purplish-gray in color and the flesh is a dark purplish gray to almost black. While it doesn’t have much flavor of its own, it has firm, gelatinous texture and takes on the flavors of the foods it is cooked with. Soak wood ears in water to soften them before cutting them into pieces and cooking.

Wood Ears
Photo courtesy of Woodland Foods.

Yellowfoot Chanterelle or Yellow Leg Mushroom or Funnel Chanterelle

A small, very thin mushroom with a tawny cap and a bright, golden yellow stem. It is less meaty and less flavorful than other varieties such as the golden chanterelle.

Yellowfoot Chanterelle
Photo courtesy of

Online Retailers

For more information about purchasing specialty mushrooms, check out the selection at the following companies, that carry many of the mushrooms listed and have in-depth information for mushroom lovers and those who are new to the fantastic world of edible fungus:

Fresh Morels
A wild morels. Photo by David Banks | SXC.


Go To Article Index Above

Books About Mushrooms

Complete Mushroom mushrooms Edible Wild Mushrooms
The Complete Mushroom Book, by Antonio Carluccio. A great collection of mushroom recipes that feature a wide variety of mushrooms. Click here for more information or to purchase. Mushrooms Demystified, by David Arora. Learn all about our favorite fungus and the history and terminology associated with them. Click here for more information or to purchase. Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America, by David W. Fischer. Aspiring mushroom hunters will find this guide essential when identifying wild mushrooms. Click here for more information or to purchase.
Vegetable Brushes slicer shittake mushroom kit
Norpro 4-Piece Vegetable Brush Set. Every kitchen should have a set of these brushes, perfectly sized for cleaning mushrooms, corn, and potatoes. Click here for more information or to purchase. Progressive Mushroom and Egg Slicer. This slicer produces thin and even slices in seconds, without the need to go to Benihana school.  Click here for more information or to purchase. Fungi Perfecti Shiitake Mushroom Kit. Cultivate your own mushrooms right at home. A great hostess gift, a fun and foolproof family project. Click here for more information or to purchase.


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