Common Names: Oyster fungus, hiratake, pearl oyster mushroom, sideways mushroom, oyster shelf, tree oyster
Umami, Anise, Slighty Seafood
Cultivated Year Round
Throughout the world
Edible Cultivated + Wild Mushroom
~ 7 days
Many colors that grow in multi-shelf formation
Oyster Mushroom Health Benefits
Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) are a popular grocery store item and a nutritious type of edible mushroom known for their delicate flavor and versatile culinary uses. They can be enjoyed in a wide range of dishes, and they also offer several potential health benefits when consumed as supplements, mushroom extracts, or fresh. Here are some of the health benefits associated with oyster mushrooms:
Nutrient-Rich: Oyster mushrooms are a good source of essential nutrients, including vitamins (such as B vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid), minerals (such as potassium, phosphorus, and copper), and dietary fiber. They are low in calories and fat, making them a healthy addition to a balanced diet.
Immune System Support: Oyster mushrooms contain beta-glucans, which are polysaccharides known to enhance immune function. These compounds can help stimulate the immune system and improve its ability to defend against infections and illnesses.
Antioxidant Properties: Oyster mushrooms are rich in antioxidants, including ergothioneine and selenium. Antioxidants help protect the body's cells from damage caused by free radicals, which can reduce the risk of chronic diseases and support overall health.
Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Some studies suggest that oyster mushrooms may have anti-inflammatory properties due to their bioactive compounds. Reducing inflammation in the body is associated with a lower risk of chronic conditions, including heart disease and certain types of cancer.
Cholesterol Management: Oyster mushrooms may help regulate cholesterol levels. Some research indicates that the beta-glucans in these mushrooms can reduce LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels in the blood, potentially lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Blood Sugar Control: Preliminary studies suggest that oyster mushrooms may have a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels. Consuming oyster mushroom extracts may help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Digestive Health: The dietary fiber in these mushrooms can support digestive health by promoting regular bowel movements and maintaining a healthy gut microbiome.
Weight Management: Due to their low calorie and fat content, oyster mushrooms can be included in a weight-conscious diet. They can provide satiety and flavor without adding excess calories.
Rich in Protein: Oyster mushrooms are a source of plant-based protein, making them a valuable addition to vegetarian and vegan diets.
Bone Health: Oyster mushrooms contain minerals like phosphorus and calcium, which are essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones.
When consuming oyster mushrooms, it's important to cook them thoroughly, as raw mushrooms may be difficult to digest, and cooking can help unlock their nutritional potential. Whether you enjoy them fresh or in supplement form, oyster mushrooms can be a tasty and healthful addition to your diet. As with any dietary changes or supplements, it's a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider, especially if you have specific health concerns or conditions.
How To Prepare Edible Mushrooms
Keep your oyster mushrooms in the fridge, inside the wax paper bag. They'll keep fresh for about 5 to 7 days. Fresh pink oysters have a shorter shelf life so it will be rare if you ever see them in a grocery store. They should be eaten as soon as possible. They’ll keep fresh for about 3 days in a wax paper bag in the fridge.
If you don't plan on eating them within the 3 to 7-day window, we recommend:
Drying in a dehydrator.
Drying in the oven at its lowest setting for 2 hours. Flip them halfway through.
Pro Tip #1 → Dried oyster mushrooms can be rehydrated by soaking in warm water for 20 minutes or by tossing them in a simmering soup, sautéed in a pan for a tasty side dish, quickly air-fried in an air fryer or added to an Asian-inspired stir-fry!
Pro Tip #2 → Store oyster mushrooms towards the top of the fridge. Avoid the veggie drawer, it's often too cold for them!
Mushroom Hunting for Different Types of Oyster Mushrooms
Hunting for wild oyster mushrooms can be a rewarding and enjoyable outdoor activity, but it's essential to do it safely and responsibly. Here's how to hunt for oyster mushrooms in the wild:
Know Your Mushrooms: Before setting out to hunt for oyster mushrooms or any wild mushrooms, it's crucial to become familiar with their appearance, habitat, and identifying features. Oyster mushrooms typically have a whitish to light beige color, with a broad, fan-shaped cap that resembles an oyster shell. They often grow in clusters on the sides of trees, logs, or decaying wood.
Choose the Right Season: They are most commonly found in the late summer to fall, depending on your region's climate. They thrive in cooler, moist conditions.
Find Suitable Habitat: These mushrooms prefer hardwood trees, especially oaks, but they can also grow on other hardwoods and even conifers. Look for them on dead or decaying trees, fallen logs, and branches.
Search in the Right Weather: Ideal weather conditions include rainy periods followed by mild, cool weather. These conditions promote mushroom growth. You can start your hunt a day or two after a good rain.
Be Observant: When searching, pay attention to the details. Look for fruiting clusters of fan-shaped mushrooms that have a smooth, white-to-beige surface. Oyster mushrooms can vary in size, but they generally have caps that range from 2 to 10 inches (5 to 25 cm) across.
Use a Knife: When harvesting, use a knife to cut the mushrooms from the substrate (tree or log). Be careful not to damage the mycelium, which is the mushroom's underground network. Leave some mushrooms behind to allow for future growth.
Inspect Carefully: After harvesting, inspect each mushroom carefully to ensure it's an oyster mushroom and not a look-alike species. Some mushrooms can be toxic, so it's crucial to be 100% certain of your identification.
Leave No Trace: Practice responsible foraging by leaving the environment as you found it. Avoid damaging trees or disturbing the ecosystem while searching for mushrooms.
Safety First: When in doubt about the identification of a mushroom, don't consume it. Some toxic mushrooms can resemble oyster mushrooms closely. If you're new to foraging, consider going with an experienced forager or mycologist to confirm your haul.
Remember that foraging carries inherent risks, and accurate identification is paramount. It's advisable to consult field guides or experienced foragers and consider taking a mushroom identification course before embarking on a foraging expedition. Always exercise caution and prioritize safety.
Oyster Mushroom Recipes We Love
Oysters are known for their smooth-colored caps that have a slightly ruffled edge. Sautéed oysters have a meaty and chewy texture with notes of seafood and anise. They can develop a crispy, crunchy outside and some say oyster mushrooms taste like chicken or bacon when pan-fried.