Room to Grow Put the fun in fungi with a Grow-it-Yourself home mushroom kit from Texas Fungus, available in six varieties. Elizabeth Lavin

Home & Garden

A Guide to Locally Grown Mushrooms That Are Almost Too Pretty to Eat

Welcome to the wild and weirdly beautiful world of mushrooms. These local growers offer everything from standard Shiitake to eye-catching Lion’s Mane.

 From tough to tender, stout to slender, smooth to spiny, welcome to the wild and weirdly beautiful world of mushrooms. These culinary delights can add depth and earthiness to your cooking—but you have to know your chanterelles from your shiitakes. Two local growers—Arlington’s Texas Fungus and Denton’s Tree Folk Farm—grow a variety of gourmet breeds, which they sell online and through area farmers markets. Visit texasfungus.com for a complete list of current availability and where to buy.

Shiitake

  • Grower: Tree Folk Farms
  • Flavor profile: Rich and smoky umami with a velvety, spongy consistency
  • How to use it: Separate the caps (which can be chopped or cooked whole) from the tougher stems (which can be used to add flavor to soups or stocks).

Golden Oyster

  • Grower: Texas Fungus
  • Flavor profile: Slightly sweet and nutty
  • How to use it: These yellow beauties can replace white button, crimini, or portobello mushrooms in almost any dish.

Lion’s Mane

  • Grower: Texas Fungus
  • Flavor profile: Similar in taste and texture to savory crab meat
  • How to use it: The furry fronds of this eye-catching variety become crispy when pan fried, or dice the caps and take advantage of their shellfish-like flavor by forming into “crab” cakes. No matter how you prepare it, this mushroom has amazing brain-boosting health benefits.

Chestnut

  • Grower: Texas Fungus
  • Flavor profile: Earthy and woodsy
  • How to use it: This increasingly popular variety can be wood-roasted at high temperatures and still maintain its flavor.

Princess Pearl

  • Grower: Tree Folk Farms
  • Flavor profile: Mild, slightly sweet, and tender in texture
  • How to use it: Separate the base from the cap, which can be sauteed, baked, stir-fried, grilled, or pureed in soups or sauces. High in Vitamin D, this variety dries well and can make excellent seasoning.

Shimofuri

  • Grower: Texas Fungus
  • Flavor profile: Umami flavor with notes of sweetness and a peppery aftertaste
  • How to use it: Thick and juicy, these mushrooms, which hail from the oyster family, cook more tenderly than their brethren.

Black Pearl

  • Grower: Tree Folk Farms
  • Flavor profile: Light and meaty in texture
  • How to use it: Tree Folk’s Andrea Gorham says you can cut these trumpet mushrooms into thick “coins,” but the versatile variety can also be shredded or julienned for alternative textures.

Maitake

  • Grower: Texas Fungus
  • Flavor profile: Also known as Hen-of-the-Woods, this feathery fungus has a firm texture, distinct aroma, and rich, peppery flavor that Texas Fungus’ Jordan Jent describes as “reminiscent of roasted chicken.”
  • How to use it: Skip the chef’s knife and tear this feathery mushroom apart with your fingers. Use to add a richer flavor to any dish that calls for mushrooms and take advantage of its reported healing benefits.

Pioppino

  • Grower: Texas Fungus
  • Flavor profile: Mildly nutty with a firm texture that becomes crispy upon cooking
  • How to use it: High in antioxidants, this mushroom perfectly complements rice, risotto, and meat dishes.

Blue Oyster

  • Grower: Texas Fungus
  • Flavor profile: Slightly sweet and fairly mild with a meaty texture
  • How to use it: This mushroom, marked by a bluish-gray cap and pale gills, can be used as an alternative for more common store-bought varieties in most dishes.

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