It is the middle of June in Northern Wisconsin, and we see Oyster Mushrooms popping up everywhere! They grow with one flat side attached to the tree trunks of dead wood. Sometimes you have to look high. A lot of the times they lack the traditional mushroom stem, and have gills underneath the cap. Their smell resembles anise, and it is one of the main clues. Mushrooms are whitish yellow in color and can grow quite large, so just watch out for competitors inside, insects love to eat them too!
The Greek name is Pleurotus ostreatus meaning “sideways ear”. They refer to seafood oysters based on their appearance and color, not the taste.
Oyster mushrooms also have lots of vitamins: C, group B, D2 and D4. Also rich in folic acid, iron and potassium, copper and zinc. They reduce bad cholesterol due to high consentration of lovastatin, and keep your blood healthy. This fungi also contain vitamin B5 – Pantothenic Acid, that keeps us healthy, supports our liver, pancreas and kidneys, and also regulates our balance and coordination.
Mushrooms also exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti tumor activity.
Vegetarian and vegan food
Oyster mushrooms are excellent vegetarian and vegan food choice. They contain 27% pure vegetable based protein. There are eight essential amino acids in significant amounts in this mushrooms. They are great for supplementing any diet with extra healthy protein. The taste is delicious, in soup or fried, try it all. It can also be dried and powdered.
Oyster mushrooms decompose wood and also are great at degrading soil and water environmental pollutants. In 2007 after a leak on oil tanker in San Francisco Bay, soil with oyster mycelium was laid out there. Several months later the petrochemicals were significantly reduced and the mushrooms that grew from this were free of toxins. This fungi is very popular for cultivation, so it is greatly useful and highly sustainable.
Skin care benefits
High concentration of vegetal ceramides in oysters help with skin moisturizing and protection. Have fun hiking and explore this great fungi!