Can You Eat Mushroom Stems? Considerations to Make Before Eating
People often ask, “Can you eat mushroom stems?” You can with many edible mushrooms, but how palatable the stems are depends on the type of mushroom being considered and how they are prepared
Can you eat mushroom stems? It’s a question that many fungi lovers have posed to us. The reality is that some mushroom stems are easier and tastier to consume than others. In fact, the stem is the most desired part in regards to some mushrooms while others it is the least desired.
Today I’m discussing a variety of edible mushrooms and whether or not eating the stem is a worthy endeavor. I will also provide some insight on other ways to use mushroom stems so you are not always discarding them.
Dive into tips on consuming mushroom stems after we address the cooking of mushrooms
We have been asked many times about whether or not it is a good idea to eat mushrooms raw. In fact, we have been asked so much that we decided to write an article all about it. You can see our article on eating mushrooms raw here.
The brief summation of the article is that we greatly prefer cooking mushrooms over eating them raw because of chitin. Chitin is a fibrous substance made of polysaccharides that form the cell walls of mushrooms. Chitin is hard to digest for humans, and ultimately the cell walls made of chitin make it hard for humans to get the beneficial nutrients from the mushroom if eaten raw. However, when mushrooms are cooked, the chitin walls breakdown, making it easier to digest and absorb the healthful constituents found in mushrooms.
Can you eat mushroom stems? Discover some popular edible mushrooms whose stems are a delicious part of the meal
When considering the ediblity of mushroom stems, the first mushroom that comes to mind is the king trumpet mushroom, also known as the king oyster mushroom. The bulk of this mushroom is made up of stem and only a small cap. The stem and cap of the king trumpet mushroom is edible and quite delicious. I will often cut the stem into medallions and saute them in some butter or olive oil. The stem retains some firmness even while cooked and it typically absorbs the flavor of whatever it is being cooked with. The king trumpet is one mushroom that serves as an alternative to meat as its texture is more firm than many other mushrooms.
Button mushrooms, which also are known as crimini, portobello, white mushrooms or brown mushrooms, have edible stems as well. The caps of these mushrooms are usually more flavorful and more tender, as the stem itself can be more on the woody side. If you are preparing these mushrooms, try cooking the stems a little bit longer so that they get as tender as the caps.
Enoki is another popular mushroom whose stem and cap can be eaten. Enokis are another example of a mushroom that is primarily comprised of a long stem and a small cap, although unlike the king trumpet, the stem of the enoki is much thinner in diameter. Enokis grow in a cluster with sometimes dozens of stems that protrude out with a small white cap at the end. These mushrooms are one of the most popular in east Asian cuisine. Interestingly enough, these mushrooms are different when found growing naturally opposed to being cultivated. The cultivated versions of enokis do not receive light and instead are grown in a dark, carbon dioxide-rich environment. This leads to their long stems. When found in the wild the enoki will have shorter stems and are usually a peach-to-brown color instead of white. These mushrooms are perfect in soups and broths.
Morel mushrooms are another great option for those who want to eat the entire mushroom. Morels are one of the most sought after mushrooms around, particularly because they are difficult to find in the wild and hard to cultivate commercially. However, the flavor is amazing and a culinary treat for those who get the experience. The morel stem can be eaten but it is imperative to cook it beforehand because the mushroom has toxic constituents that breakdown after being cooked. The morel has a meaty texture and a flavor that is earthy and nutty.
Can you eat mushroom stems? Here is a great way to use mushroom stems
Shiitake mushrooms are one of the mushrooms that people inquire about the most because their stems are tough and woody. Many people will discard the shiitake stem and only use the cap in meals. However, the shiitake mushroom stem is perfect for soups, stews, and broths because of its nutty, umami flavor. Add shiitake stems to these dishes to enhance the flavor while eliminating some food waste in the process.
At Fungi Ally, we provide a variety of mushroom growing kits to customers who are interested in growing their own food. We provide gourmet kits for many of the mushrooms listed above, including the popular king trumpet mushroom. Give our mushroom kits a try and you can be growing pounds of fresh mushrooms at your own home, stems and all. Discover all of our mushroom growing kits now.
Back to Cooking with Mushrooms