Pink or Grey? …what’s the difference?
Although they are both members of the same family, their differences stop there. They have very different characteristics, in both flavour and texture, which is described below.
Some Quick Facts
- These are both considered exotic mushrooms, so have been introducing into NZ.
- Of the 40 or so varieties of commercially grown Oyster Mushrooms, in NZ we are restricted to only growing these two (due to biosecurity reasons. So, no, we cannot supply King Oyster Mushrooms
- There is a third, the Blue (or Pleurotus oysteralius) that we can technically grow, but we are having difficulty importing cultures.
- In NZ there are several varieties of endemic or native Oyster Mushrooms (like Pleurotus parsonsaie). However, these are not commercially viable and have a texture/flavour that does not qualify them as gourmet.
Grey (Phoenix) Oyster Mushroom
How to use
- Phoenix oyster mushrooms pair well with fish, chicken, lamb and pork, and may be used in soups, pasta, risotto, casseroles, stir-frys, tarts/pies, terrines, slow cooks and more. Or simply sauté them in garlic and butter and enjoy them on their own with some quality bread. This variety only needs 5-8 minutes of cooking time.
- We usually tell people that you can use them in any dish where you would use chicken, and cook it in a similar way. So it’s a great vegetarian or vegan staple.
- These mushrooms will keep for up to a week if stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator. Even if they dry out a little, they will bounce back when cooked!
Texture and Flavour
The texture is not “spongy” like a field mushroom as it is more fleshy and the flavour is not as earth or strong. Many people who have said that they don’t like mushrooms (often because of the texture), suddenly discover that they love them, and become regular customers.
- Oyster mushrooms contain high amounts of amino acids such as thiamin, riboflavin, folic acid, sterols, and carotenoids. They contain high levels of vitamin C, potassium and iron. We have a great article about their nutritional value in our blog.
- Oyster mushrooms have been scientifically validated to boost the immune system and fight infection and inflammation. They may have medicinal uses for reducing pain sensitivity.
- Ergothioneine has been shown to help fight chronic inflammation and may prevent the build-up of plaque in the arteries, which leads to cardiovascular disease. We have a more comprehensive article about health benefits in our blog
- Phoenix Oyster mushrooms grow in clusters of 5 or 6 mushrooms (more like 20+ with our awesome production process!), and we grow these year-round indoors.
- The flesh is smooth, thick and white, the texture is silken and tender, and its taste is mild and faintly sweet.
- Phoenix Oyster mushrooms scientific name is Pleurotus pulmonarius, and they grow in forests on dead wood, often quickly decomposing the wood they are growing on.
- They tend to prefer conifer trees, and do well growing on firs, spruce, poplar, oak, maple, elm and aspen trees, but can also be cultivated from spores in mediums like straw, hay, sawdust and coffee grounds.
Pinks Oyster Mushroom
How to use
- It is an exceedingly playful ingredient in the kitchen, it works well in curries, is a fantastic topping for pasta dishes and is our favourite in tacos. Tip: fry it as one would do bacon, where it has similar crisp and a slightly smokey or earthy flavour.
- They can be sautéed with other vegetables, added to pasta dishes or soups, and complement white sauces and risotto dishes.
- Due to their meaty texture, they require thorough cooking (around 20 minutes), and their bacon or ham type flavour intensifies the longer they are cooked.
- If stored in a cool place, Pink Oyster mushrooms can be preserved for up to a week. They can also be dried for longer preservation.
- tip: like a ripe cheese that is at their best when that start to go smelly and wet. The wetness or moisture release evaporates quickly in the pan, and they go crispy and hold flavour like you wouldn’t believe.
Texture and Flavour
These have a stronger umami flavour and a have a stronger texture aka a meaty mouth-feel). The flavour is not for everyone, but most of our customers love it, and once hooked buy nothing else.
- Oyster mushrooms are a very good source of protein, fibre, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin D and folate, and are low in carbs, fat, sugar, starch and calories. We have a great article about their nutritional value in our blog.
- They are one of the best mushroom sources of ergothioneine, an antioxidant that may reduce instances of cardiovascular disease by preventing plaque build-up in the arteries. We have a comprehensive article about health benefits in our blog
- The tropical Pink Flamingo Oyster mushrooms are named for their vibrant pink colour, and the scientific name is Pleurotus djamor.
- They are in the Pleurotaceae family, along with the Phoenix or grey oyster mushroom, and are available year-round but grow best in summer.
- They grow in layered clusters like their grey oyster mushroom relative, and their colour is intensely pink when raw, changing to a golden yellow when it starts to cook, then through to an orange-brown colour when fully cooked (this variety needs 20 minutes).
More information about Pink Oyster Mushrooms