In this week’s mushroom spotlight we’re talking about Beech mushrooms!
Beech mushrooms are very popular in East Asian cuisine and culture. In fact, they are one of the most popular mushrooms in Japan, right alongside enokis and shiitakes.
These mushrooms are often found growing on beech trees in the wild, and foragers are always thrilled to find a cluster of Beech mushrooms! These mushrooms are also known as clamshells, and it’s easy to see why. Beech mushrooms are somewhat unique in that they grow in fairly large clusters of white edible stems topped by tiny round caps. If someone asked us to name a “cute” mushroom, we know beech mushrooms would be at the top of the list.
R&R Cultivation offers two varieties of beech mushrooms: brown and white. If you’re looking for a delicate, subtle flavor, White Beech mushrooms are for you. They’re a great “starter mushroom” for anyone who hasn’t been a fan of supermarket mushrooms but would like to get into cooking with the organic, gourmet version of this nutritious ingredient.
Brown Beech mushrooms have a quite prominent nutty flavor that works nicely in a variety of recipes. There is also an underlying sweetness to this variety. They’re great on their own as a side dish. They can also add some umami pizzazz to your entrees!
Cooking with Beech Mushrooms
Their gourmet flavor makes beech mushrooms a great addition to many recipes. These versatile little guys are fun to eat whole or chop up and add to your dinner. Every part of this mushroom is edible, so don’t throw away the stems! Beech mushrooms are also a near-perfect substitute for shiitake, enoki, and even oyster mushrooms in many recipes.
It’s easy to maintain beech mushrooms’ nice firm texture even when they are cooked thoroughly. Whereas some gourmet mushrooms tend to be more delicate, beech mushrooms retain their textural integrity and can handle nearly any cooking method. We love beech mushrooms in soups and hot pots because they don’t get soggy even when placed in a broth and cooked at high heat.
Many of our gourmet mushrooms can act as a substitute to meat in main dishes, and beech mushrooms are no exception. Add them to an all-veggie stir fry, or chop them up to take the place of ground beef in a meaty marinara. But, even though their meaty texture can be enough to satisfy your hunger for meat, don’t forget that beech mushrooms are also delicious with a nice cut of steak!
Do you need a few recipe ideas to get started cooking with beech mushrooms? Try out our mushroom lasagna with a delicious smoked mozzarella cream sauce. If you like the idea of more Meatless Mondays using mushrooms, here are some tips for creating effective meat substitutes.
You can find R&R Cultivation’s beech mushrooms at Lunds and Byerly’s or your local co-op. Use our interactive map to find them near you.