I remember the days when eating mushrooms for dinner meant throwing them in a lasagna. Or cream of mushroom soup! Anyone else grow up on that?
Needless to say, mushrooms were never a main course in my household.
Nowadays, in the era of food, there are so many cool varieties of fungi out there that are waiting to be explored. Perhaps you’ve heard of lion’s mane mushrooms, reishi teas, or even the classic portobello.
Mushrooms have reclaimed their place as the highlight of a dish, no longer cast off to the side.
Well, there’s a new player in town: the one, the only - wild blue oyster mushroom, the zero-waste fungus of my dreams.
What is a Blue Oyster Mushroom?
Blue oyster mushrooms are a subspecies of the oyster mushroom family, which includes pink oyster and pearl oyster ‘shrooms too. The exact scientific name is Pleurotus ostreatus, for anyone curious.
These delicious mushrooms grow in clusters, with heads that begin a rich shade of blue but eventually fade to gray. Their underbellies have gorgeous white gills that contrast with the darker head.
Wild blue oyster mushrooms are native to subtropical and temperate forests, which makes them super easy to grow at home. In nature, you would find them growing on dead hardwood trees. Although they don’t kill the trees, blue oyster mushrooms do help them decompose. Thereby making them an epically zero-waste mushroom!
So, yes, alright, the blue oyster mushroom is super cool and beautifully colored, but what difference does that make? Well, that’s where the flavor comes in!
Blue Oyster Mushroom Taste, Flavor, and Texture
The blue oyster mushroom is aptly named as it has a pretty fishy taste. And I mean that in the best way.
This mushroom has a flavor not dissimilar to oysters or other seafood, along with a strong umami taste. Some even claim to pick out faint licorice and anise undertones.
Blue oyster mushrooms are definitely a savory godsend. When cooked, they have a meaty texture with just a slight bit of chewiness to them.
But be warned: you should always cook them before you eat them. While they’re completely edible when raw, they will be bitter and rather unappetizing. You have to cook them to bring out those delicious seafood and umami flavors. Trust me on this one.
How to Cook Blue Oyster Mushrooms
Well, let me count the ways:
Soups and stews
Dehydrated (mushroom chips, anyone?)
Folded into omelets or quiches
Sauces and gravies
Clearly, the possibilities are endless when it comes to blue oyster mushrooms. The only method I’d stay away from is eating them raw. But, other than that, the world is your oyster (mushroom)!
You could add some cooked blue oysters to any starchy meal, like pasta or quinoa, for a nice umami twist. Or add them to your favorite roast or another Asian-inspired dish, like this sticky sesame cauliflower. Sesame oil and soy sauce are your friends when it comes to blue oyster mushrooms.
But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself.
Blue Oyster Mushroom Recipe Recommendations
Although soy flavors are always a classic with blue oyster mushrooms, there are hundreds of flavor combinations out there. These mushrooms are wonderful in part because of how versatile they are. Frankly, “versatile” is an understatement!
Here are some recipes that may become your new go-to:
Whether you want something sweet (that vegan pulled pork, right?) or spicy, there are options aplenty for blue oyster mushrooms. So, get out there and try something new!
Blue Oyster Mushroom Nutrition
Aside from their beautiful appearance and even yummier taste, blue oyster mushrooms will keep you proper fit!
They’re chock full of vitamins B and D, as well as a good source of fiber and protein. Like most other mushrooms, they’re also antioxidant-rich and, well, really good for you.
Of course, everything in moderation, but these mushrooms would make a great and healthy addition to most people’s diets.
Are Blue Oyster Mushrooms Psychedelic?
No! Blue oyster mushrooms do not have any psychoactive effects.
Blue Oyster Mushroom Benefits
Now, we here at Robust Kitchen are not medical professionals and therefore cannot validate any of the alleged health benefits of any food, including blue oyster mushrooms. So, take everything with a grain of salt and understand that we did not go to medical school. Or, at least, I didn’t!
Whew, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into the fun stuff.
Researchers conducted a study surrounding the potential anti-cancer effects of blue oyster mushrooms. They could even be used as a treatment for cancer-related symptoms.
Since they’re so rich in antioxidants, they could boost your immune system and even have some anti-inflammatory properties. They may even help with high blood pressure!
Again, take this all with a grain of salt. But still–isn’t that cool?
How to Grow Blue Oyster Mushrooms
Although this article is devoted to wild blue oyster mushrooms in the kitchen, I think we can spare a second or two for their growing conditions.
These mushrooms prefer 50-70% humidity and subtropical temperatures, so they’re most happy in spring and autumn. They’re very easy to grow and they mature rapidly, which makes them perfect for beginners.
There are three stages when it comes to growing mushrooms:
The spawning stage
The pinning stage
The fruiting stage
If you start at the tippy-top with the spawning stage, it’ll take you about 60 days total until they’re ready to harvest.
For those who want to learn more, Freshcap offers a more comprehensive growing guide for blue oyster mushrooms, as does Epic Gardening.
When to Harvest Blue Oyster Mushrooms
After the pinning stage, it only takes 4-6 days for them to produce fruit, so it’s quite a quick timeline. You’ll know they’re ready to pick when their tops are gray and their heads curve up instead of down.
What is a King Blue Oyster Mushroom?
King blue oyster mushrooms are essentially the half-blooded son of blue oyster mushrooms. Let me explain…
King blue oyster mushrooms are actually a hybrid between blue oyster mushrooms and king oyster mushrooms.
Although they’re in the same family as blue oyster mushrooms, they don’t look alike. They’re larger than blue oyster mushrooms and have a hard and thick stem.
So, they have the coloring of blue oysters while retaining the thicker stem of the king oyster.
Because of their hybrid status, king blue oyster mushrooms are a great substitute for meat and seafood for any plant-based eaters out there!
Blue Oyster Kit Recommendations
Since blue oysters are so easy to grow, it only makes sense to grow some at home! Or so sayeth my crazy farmer brain.
Here are three wild blue oyster mushroom kit recommendations from me to you:
The key with these kits is patience and a spray bottle. Blue oyster mushrooms love the humidity, so be sure to spray those suckers a few times a day.
Where to Buy Blue Oyster Mushrooms
Blue oyster mushrooms are not the most common mushroom out there, so you may struggle to find them.
You can support your local growers in Utah and purchase hybrid King Blue Oyster Mushrooms from Misfit Mushrooms. Or Texans can purchase them directly from Central Market.
For all you other folks out there, I recommend checking out your local farmers’ market. I’ve got several mycologists at mine who sell a variety of fungi, from lion’s mane to oyster mushrooms.
And, if none of that works, you can always try special, high-end grocery stores, like Whole Foods or Natural Grocers. They’re almost certain to have oyster mushrooms, though they may not have blue oyster mushrooms specifically.
Blue Oyster Mushroom Price
The average pricing for blue oyster mushrooms is around $6/lb wholesale and $12/lb retail. Might be worth trying to grow them at home!
What is the Blue Dolphin Oyster Mushroom?
The blue dolphin oyster mushroom is a natural log strain of the blue oyster mushroom. So, they’re only found out in nature on logs, which makes them, of course, less than ideal for indoor farming.
Go out searching for them in the cooler weather and you just might be lucky enough to munch on these all-natural beauties for dinner!
As the world of food around us expands, it’s our duty, as devoted foodies, to experiment and stay open to trying new things!
At least, that’s what I believe.
So, if you’ve loved mushrooms in the past (on pizzas, in pasta, or whatever else), why not give these wild blue oyster mushrooms a try?
Their savory, seafood-y flavor and meaty texture pairs beautifully with soy, but works just as well when tossed in a quiche.
But remember: never eat them raw.
Here’s to experimenting!