It is a sporophore saprophyte, i.e., a spore-bearing Fungi which is edible but not all its types can be consumed. It gets its nutrition for growth by consuming organic matter of non-living nature.
Usually, a Fungus which has a stalk or a stem, a cap and gills are called a mushroom. Some of these mushroom’s fruiting bodies often grow in arcs which are called Fairy Rings as they resemble ring-like structures.
Generally, a Mushroom which is grown commonly for commercial purpose has 90% water while the rest 10% is the mix of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, mineral salts, and vitamins. The best part about mushrooms is that these are cholesterol free. It also gives you essential amino acids and vitamin B.
But, even after so much that it can give to you it is not always safe to consume mushrooms as wild mushrooms are often a cause for poisoning which may be the reason for slight or mild reactions or even cause severe cases of poisoning.
Mycologist (i.e., people who have done an in-depth study of Fungi) suggest that there may be over 10,000 various types of mushrooms and thus, to ease classification they are categorized under four broad categories:
(A) Saprotrophic Mushrooms
(B) Mycorrhizal Mushrooms
(C) Parasitic Mushrooms
(D) Endophytic Mushrooms
Each of these categories of mushrooms further has varieties of mushrooms under them with different looks and tastes.
The various types of mushrooms under each category distinctively are as follows:-
(A) SAPROPHYTIC MUSHROOMS
Saprophytes are those fungi which feed on dead or decaying organic matter to live. Thus, these mushrooms are decomposers of the dead and decaying, to do so they release enzymes and acids which help in the breakdown of the dead tissue into molecules so small that they can be absorbed.
Many mushrooms fall under this category, Types of Saprophytic mushrooms are following:
The taste of this type is great, and these mushrooms possess medicinal properties as well. Their name comes from the name of the tree they grow on which is ‘Shii’ especially found in parts of Japan and Korea.
2) WHITE BUTTON
This is the most easily and commonly available type of mushroom. Its flavor and taste are not very intense rather it adds a mild flavor to all dishes it is added to whether it be soups or salads.
These mushrooms usually have a very earthy, nutty and yet smoky flavor to them. Due to its intense taste, these are expensive and thus popular amongst the hunters.
4) CREMINI & PORTOBELLO
These are a little brown in their appearance and taste a lot like the white buttoned mushrooms. These mushrooms can be consumed as is or can be let to mature more and turn to a larger size and a more famous type called the Portobello.
The Portobello mushrooms have a mild taste, and they can be used as a substitute for non-vegetarian dishes due to their fleshy taste.
This type supposedly has a lot of medicinal qualities. These mushrooms protect us against various illnesses like fatigue, stress, skin disorders, anxiety. Additionally, in some cases, even heart diseases, digestive problems, and asthma patients have benefitted from the use of these types of mushrooms.
Even Oyster mushrooms have a medicinal effect, and these can be used to reduce cholesterol. They have a whitish appearance regarding color and have a mild odor to them.
7) TURKEY TAIL
This type of mushroom is mainly famous for its immune boosting benefits. These grow on fallen dead trees. Turkey tail significant benefit is the aid to chemo patients and patients who have breast cancer along with help in other illnesses like cold and indigestion.
This type of mushroom can be recognized distinctively due to their long stalk and a small shiny head. Enokitake can be cultivated easily and have a lot of flavor in them. They usually have a very mild crunch associated with their distinctive flavor.
9) BLACK TRUMPET
This type of mushroom savor a smoky flavor which is rich in its taste and thus, are often called the best-tasting mushrooms available.
10) YELLOW HOUSEPLANT MUSHROOM
These mushrooms often can be seen in plants potted in our backyards. Their heads are flat or balled, and these often appear to be light yellow.
(B) MYCORRHIZAE MUSHROOMS
These mushrooms usually are found interwoven with the tree or plant roots. They help in the growth of these trees and plants by bringing in nutrients for these associated plants and trees along with extra moisture too. This type of mushrooms often occur naturally and cannot be cultivated. It is available in the following types:
These are large mushrooms with an odor similar to sourdough. They are fleshy and creamy in taste and are commonly a part of Italian cuisine.
These are expensive as they are a sweet and savory delight. These are often found in parts of Italy.
The slight depth in the center gives this type of mushroom a flower like a look. With a goldish appearance, the chanterelles are usually fleshy and have an odor similar to that of an Apricot.
You can find this type of mushroom from September to January, and these mushrooms are a symbol of happiness and fertility. They have strong odor and taste which do not suit everyone’s taste buds.
5) CAESAR’S MUSHROOM
This type of distinctive mushroom feature is the orange tinge visible in its cap. It is so similar in appearance to certain poisonous varieties that it is only safe to eat if picked by a mycologist.
(C) PARASITIC MUSHROOMS
These mushrooms infect the plant they grow on and eventually kill it. Some noticeable types of parasitic mushrooms are:
1) HONEY FUNGUS
These mushrooms inherit the name from the color they appear in. They have a nutty and chewy flavor and are often a loved variety of mushrooms.
2) CATERPILLAR FUNGUS
This type of mushroom is found in the Himalayas. It is a uniquely rare combination of a fungus with a caterpillar.
As rare as it may sound, but its presence makes a vast impact on the human illnesses like blood sugar, hearth ailments, renal immunity and the overall immune system of our bodies.
3) LION’S MANE
This mushroom can truly be called a superfood as it enhances the health of our brain. It can even be beneficial to lower the risk of cancer.
It is mostly black in appearance due to its high melanin content. But however black it may be, high antioxidant content makes it one of the sought-after varieties of mushrooms.
(D) ENDOPHYTIC MUSHROOMS
Similar to the mycorrhizal mushrooms, the endophytic mushrooms also enhance the growth of the host they reside in, but unlike mycorrhizal mushrooms, this type can easily be cultivated elsewhere and not just naturally.
These like many other varieties are believed to be immune potentiates.
After the whole understanding of all categories, you can easily say mushrooms come in all sizes and shapes. With such diverse varieties to choose from and so many healthy options mushrooms will always be a healthy and balanced meal for us whether consumed raw, in soups or else ways.