White mushrooms may already be a staple of your diet, but there is a wide array of edible fungi available at your grocery store. Brush up on the six most common types and learn how to prepare mushrooms (to wash or not to wash?), and you'll be ready to use them in a variety of recipes.
Prized for a fruity aroma, chanterelles range from yellow, orange, and brown to pale white or black. The funnel-shaped caps have wrinkles instead of gills on the underside, which should be washed quickly but carefully before using.
The most common type, white mushrooms range in size from tiny—called button, which are harvested when young and have the mildest flavor—to jumbo, which can be stuffed and baked. Creamy white to pale tan, they have a firm texture and a delicate flavor.
Velvety and trumpet-shaped, oyster mushrooms have delicate brown, gray, or reddish caps on gray-white stems. They have a peppery flavor that becomes very mild when cooked. Young, small specimens are considered the best.
Up to 6 inches across, portobellos have a big, steak-like taste and texture; in fact, the huge, umbrella-like caps are often eaten as vegetarian burger substitutes. Remove the woody stems before eating.
With meaty tan to dark-brown umbrella-like caps, shiitakes have a distinctively smoky flavor and taste best when cooked. Available fresh or dried, they work well in stir-fries as the flavor doesn’t fade next to ginger and garlic. Although the stems are too tough to eat and should be removed from the heads before cooking, you can use them to flavor stocks and sauces before discarding.