Oysters belong to the Pleurotus family; a genus of gilled mushrooms which include one of the most widely eaten mushrooms. Species of Pleurotus may be called oyster, abalone, or tree mushrooms, and are some of the most commonly cultivated edible mushrooms in the world.
These large white, tan or ivory-colored mushrooms are named for their oyster shell-like shape and seafood-like flavor. Oysters have a delicate texture with only a few of it’s species being edible.
Fresh oyster mushrooms can be found in supermarkets and farmer’s markets alongside other friendly and less-expensive common store mushrooms. Cultivated oyster mushrooms are not only sweet tasting but versatile, because they can be used as a subtle flavoring agent in many ways.
They usually are found in clusters of overlapping caps and rarely grow on the ground. They are irregular and fleshy. The time of growth is generally in autumn.These group of fungi are the easiest group to start a commercial mushroom business with because they are relatively simple to grow and grow on a wide range of agricultural waste materials.
Season and Habitat
They can be found in Spring, Summer, Fall and during warm spells in winter. They are always found on trees, fallen logs, and wood or wood materials.
However, the standard oyster mushroom can grow anywhere and is widespread in temperate and sub-tropical forest through out the world.
Cooking Oyster Mushrooms
Oyster mushrooms are used in stir-fried dishes, since the cap is thin and cooks quickly. Asian chefs simply tear the mushroom into desirable sizes before adding it to their woks.
If you prepare a dish that requires a long cooking time, add these mushrooms at the last stage of cooking. Once heated briefly in butter or oil, they add character to a light cream sauce poured over fillets of sole or chicken breasts.
Sometimes very large specimens with flesh more than 1 inch thick are found. These can be cut into large pieces, dipped into slightly beaten eggs, and then rolled in bread crumbs for pan-frying.
Store in a freezer after briefly sautéing in butter.Oyster mushrooms dehydrate rapidly. When used dry, they can be added to a dish with or without re hydration.
Uses and Benefits
They have some commercial value and can be used for example in dyeing wool, some fabrics, or paper which will likely yield a gray-green color with wool.
They are a perfect food for loosing weight and maintaining a healthy heart and cardiovascular system. This essentially means you can eat as much as you want and not think about adding extra pounds because the fat content is minor.
The sun dried form of this fungi is high in vitamin D, and Iron, which makes it a potential good blood builder.
Some studies also indicate its use in the treatment of postrate and other cancers. Traditionally, it has been used to strengthen veins and relax tendons.
Remember Oyster mushrooms have a number of look-alikes but none are dangerous. They may however be woody or unpleasant to taste.0