Mushrooms are available all year round. Oyster, Wood Ear and Honey Fungus have limited availability.
Storage and Handling
Store in the refrigerator in a paper bag. Handle all fresh produce with care and wash before eating.
Mushrooms have been eaten in Europe, Russia, China and Japan for thousands of years and throughout history they have been used as medicine.
- There are over 250 edible mushrooms throughout the world. Although only a few are commercially available here, the variety is increasing
- Button mushrooms: These are harvested when still small and unopened. Once the mushrooms open to a stage where the gills are visible they are generally referred to as cups. Button and cups are the most commonly consumed mushrooms in New Zealand
- Swiss Browns (also known as Brown Buttons or Gourmet Browns): these have a darker brown top than button or cup mushrooms, but similar looking gills. They are generally harvested when 3-5cm in diameter. Swiss Browns have a rich flavour which is similar to field mushrooms
- Shiitake mushrooms: These have a traditional mushroom shape with a dark brown cap and often with small speckles around the rim
- Oyster or Phoenix Tail: (also known as abalone and pleurotte): These mushrooms have a very attractive fan shape and a delicate seafood/oyster flavour. The colour can vary from a soft grey to a deep brown. Underneath is a delicate and distinctive fan shaped gill formation that is a soft cream colour
- Wood Ear (also known as Black Fungus, Jews Ear or Black Ear): This mushroom has a brown velvety / leathery texture which looks a bit like seaweed
- Honey Fungus (also known as Jelly Fungus or White Ear) This unusual looking fungus resembles a cream coloured frilly sea sponge with a gelatinous texture and distinct but subtle honey aroma and flavour
- Portobellos (also known as Brown Flats or Flats): These are button mushrooms which have been allowed to grow larger. They are usually harvested when about 8-10 cm in diameter, flat and with well formed gills underneath
- Mushrooms grow from spores not seeds – these are so small they are invisible to us
- Mushrooms love moist, damp soils in a dark, cool spot with a humid climate
- Typically, the easiest way to grow mushrooms is to purchase a mushroom kit
Mushrooms are a good source of niacin (vitamin B3) and riboflavin (vitamin B2) and a source of potassium, selenium and vitamin B6.
You will find the full Nutrition Information Panel on the New Zealand Food Composition Data website. This website is owned jointly by Plant & Food Research and the Manatū Hauora Ministry of Health. This website holds the most comprehensive collection of high-quality nutrient data for New Zealand foods. The Database is managed and maintained by dedicated Plant & Food Research staff.