Before you start any cooking process, you should understand what kind of mushrooms you are using, and in this case, how to cook oyster mushrooms properly.
Let’s start with the obvious, what are oyster mushrooms?
Also known as Pleurotus ostreatus, these mushrooms are some of the most common types cultivated the world over. Oyster mushrooms grow naturally on or near trees in temperate and subtropic forests. They are part of many cuisines, especially Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.
They have a thin and broad shape, like an oyster, and they come in various colors, including yellow and pink. Growing oyster mushrooms is relatively easy and they grow pretty quickly, which is why they are becoming widely popular.
Oyster mushrooms are a bit more expensive than white mushrooms, but less so than more rare kinds, like a morel or black trumpet. Still, you can use them in many ways, either chopped or whole.
7 things you need to know about how to cook oyster mushrooms
Tip #1: They have a mild flavor, which can blend easily
Since oyster mushrooms have a mild and anise-like flavor, these mushrooms are much easier to use than other earthier varieties. They also look more tender and feel softer, so you can cook them in a variety of ways.
Tip #2: They can be cooked in many ways
Because they are so soft and mild in flavor, these mushrooms can be prepared in many ways. Some great cooking methods include grilling, roasting, frying, braising, and sautéing.
However, when you grill, roast, or fry them, the texture becomes a bit tougher. On the other hand, when you braise or sauté them, they become softer.
Tip #3: They are safe to eat raw, but the flavor isn’t ideal
You can consume oyster mushrooms in any shape or form. However, when raw, these mushrooms are quite bitter and can taste sort of metallic. For better taste, cook them in any way, and they will release their true flavors and aromas.
You can sauté them with butter or oil, grill them, bake them whole, or even dehydrate them. Oyster mushrooms have a great texture after being cooked, so they are best consumed this way.
Tip #4: They are famous for being the star of the show in a stir-fry or when sautéed
Oyster mushrooms are famous for being added to Asian dishes, such as a good stir-fry, fried rice, or even in thick sauces. They are also sautéed with a bit of butter or oil and used in pasta, risotto, or meat sauces. Because these mushrooms become tender and silky, they give your meal a very delicious and unique texture.
Tip #5: They have many nutrients and can be a healthy addition to any meal
Like other mushrooms, oyster mushrooms are very nutritious. One serving size will give you about 3 grams of protein, which may not seem like much, but it is considerable for a vegetable. These mushrooms also contain B vitamins, like niacin, riboflavin, and B12, as well as potassium, copper, and phosphorus.
Adding these to a meal will make it much healthier, and it will also give it a fiber boost. You can cook them without worrying about them losing their nutrients, as long as they don’t dry out.
Tip #6: They can last a while if you store them properly
Moisture and water will make your oyster mushrooms go bad, so it’s best to avoid them at all costs. For better results, store your mushrooms in a paper bag—never plastic—and place in the fridge for up to three days. These mushrooms are very delicate, so after a few days, you will notice them turning dry and wrinkly.
For longer keeping, you can dehydrate oyster mushrooms. Do it in a dehydrator, or your oven at a very low temperature.
Once dry, these mushrooms will stay edible for a long time. Store them in an airtight container in a dark, cool place. You can also freeze your dried oyster mushrooms for up to 3-4 months.
Although tempting, don’t store fresh mushrooms in the freezer, as this will cause them to lose their texture and flavors. If you know you won’t be able to consume your oyster mushrooms in time, it’s best to dehydrate them, and then freeze them.
Tip #7: They taste better on their own
Even though they make for a great accompanying ingredient to some types of meat like poultry or pork, these mushrooms are meant to shine on their own. Some great ideas include using them as a pizza topping, with garlic and olive oil as a side dish, or in a cream of mushroom soup.
Now that you know how to cook oyster mushrooms and all the ways to prepare them appropriately, it’s time you added them to your repertoire, and create something tasty!
Now that you’ve read about these oyster mushroom tips, why not try making this Nutritious and Gluten-Free Oyster Mushroom Soup?