The Pleurotus Ostreatus is a rather common, edible and considered good mushroom. Also called Oyster Mushroom, pleurotus mushrooms belong to the Pleurotaceae family and are a species that lends itself well to cultivation thanks to which I can give great satisfaction to fans who want to try it.
Other Names of Pleurotus Mushrooms
The Pleurotus Ostreatus is also commonly called “Oyster Mushroom”. In italy we also call it: fungo orecchione, orecchietta, gelone, Agarico Ostreato, ear mushroom.
Other examples belonging to the “Pleuroto” family are the Pleurotus Cornucopiae, the Pleurotus Dryinus (also called Pleurotus of Oaks), the Pleurotus Djamor, the Pleurotus Ferulae (also called Cardoncello in Italy), the Plerotus Opuntiae.
Pleurotus Ostreatus: Description
The cap of the Oyster Mushroom is very fleshy. Initially it is convex and then becomes first floor and at the end shell-shaped (it is called ostreatus because of the oyster shell hat).
The surface of the Pleurotus Ostreatus mushrooms is smooth and also shiny. Often the surface of the cap is also wavy. At the beginning of the growth the cap is indistinguishable from the stem. Then it takes the shape of an oyster and then switches to a spatula or fan shape once the fungus is in its adult phase. In the centre, a depression often forms on the upper part.
Stem of the Pleurotus Ostreatus
The stem is very compact and firm. At the top, the stem is thin and at the base it is enlarged. The base is often covered by a fine, whitish, downy, villosity. The insertion on the cap is always eccentric and also lateral.
Pleurotus Ostreatus lamellae
The lamellas are very thick, branched. They run along part of the stem. The colour of the gills can range from white with cream shades to white with ivory to greyish shades.
Meat of the Pleurotus Ostreatus
The meat is compact but tender. The colour is white, the smell is pleasant and the taste is sweet. It does not smell very much and is almost odourless.
Pleurotus Ostreatus: Variability Appearance
The colour of the cap of the oyster mushroom ranges from dark grey with violet hues to light hazelnut, even to dark hazelnut. Tones it takes on can be brownish – dark, brown – reddish, black-purple up to blue-blue when in the final stage, that is when it tends to pale and whiten.
The stem can be very developed but also short. Of irregular cylindrical shape, it is usually short and stocky.
The period of growth of the pleurotus ostreatus is autumn – winter . It usually appears in late autumn and prolongs the growing season until spring. The development stops with the frost but if the days become mild then it quickly resumes growing.
Oyster Mushroom Habitat
The Pleurotus is a saprophyte fungus and only occasionally a parasite fungus. It sticks to stumps mainly of poplars and mulberries.
The oyster mushrooms develop in small groups of individuals very close to each other. Often the various hats of the various individuals overlap with each other like the tiles of a canopy.
These fungi develop on the trunks even at a considerable height from the ground. They usually grow on broadleaf trunks and rarely on conifers. Very common also in city parks and also at the edges of roads and highways. This fungus can grow from the plain to the mountain and can be easily cultivated.
For this purpose, pre-packaged boxes of substrate full of pleurotus spores are available on the market and can be comfortably grown at home.
Cultivation of Pleurotus
The cultivation of pleurotus mushrooms can give great satisfaction. There are two ways to cultivate this fungus, as well as other fungi such as the poplar. The first way is a “manual” cultivation on the ground and the second, what we recommend, is an “industrial” cultivation using substrates (bales) already prepared and easily purchased from home.
We have talked about it a lot on this page: bales of mushrooms pleurotus.
Pleurotus mushrooms cultivation by hand “on the ground”
In winter, trunks are cut, possibly of poplar, with a diameter of more than 20 cm. The winter period is important because the tree must have stopped growing. Once cut, the stumps are kept in a shady place, standing, waiting for use, which usually occurs in the period of April – June.
Now the trunks are shortened to 30 cm segments and a pit 1 metre wide and 120 cm deep is dug. A layer of mushroom mycelium is placed at the bottom of the pit and vertically placed trunks are placed on top of it. Then another layer of mycelium and trunks and so on. Now the upper part is covered with boards and a plastic sheet and then use a layer of soil of 15 cm.
The heat and humidity that will form inside the pit will make it easier to distribute the mycelium on all the cut logs. In September, all the trunks are removed and buried one by one by 15 cm, spaced 30 cm apart. After about twenty days, production will begin and will be repeated in each of the following seasons.
Pleurotus cultivation with Industrial Substrate:
This is a way of growing pleurotus that everyone can do directly and comfortably at home, without the need for land or space.
In this case we do not use cut trunks but small “cubes” of substrate, composed of straw, corn, wheat and legumes. This pasteurized compound is inseminated with mycelium cultures and then stuffed into a plastic container.
The “cube” thus composed is ready for incubation which lasts about 20 days and must be done in a place with a temperature of about 25 °. Once the mycelium has invaded the entire cube, remove the plastic and place the cube on a shelf or in a sunny place and maintain a temperature of about 15 °.
The compound will continue to produce mushrooms in cycles, artificially interrupted by artificial temperature drops.
Mushrooms Pleurotus Recipes
The gastronomic interest of Orecchione Mushrooms is given by two factors. First of all for the good edibility of the mushroom. Second of all is the fact that the Pleurotus Ostreatus can be cultivated easily (as we wrote in the previous paragraph).
The oyster mushroom can be cooked in various ways. The baked pleurotus mushrooms au gratin or the breaded pleurotus mushrooms are quite well known. In general they can be made on the grill, breaded with butter or stewed. They are also excellent if preserved in oil.
The stem is often recommended to eliminate it because it is not very tender and too woody. As far as cleaning is concerned, instead, pleurotus mushrooms can be cleaned like all other types of mushrooms.
The pleurotus is excellent to cook on the grill with or without filling. It is also excellent breaded as if it were a cutlet, especially if the specimens are of soft meat.
Pleurotus seasoned with oil
After a short boil of a couple of minutes the orecchione mushroom can be eaten raw, seasoned with oil, lemon, salt and pepper.
After a couple of minutes of preboiling, the orecchione mushroom can also be stuffed with mayonnaise and garnished with parsley and chopped chives. To boil the mushroom pleurotus in this case add vinegar to the water, with salt and pepper and it is recommended to use young specimens.
Pleurotus in oil
The Oyster mushroom, if put in oil or even vinegar, maintains its fleshyness. Thanks to this preparation the pleurotus is suitable to be used for fillings, rice salads, Russian salads etc. …
The mumps are also suitable for drying and pulverizing. In this case it is advisable to add to the dust of the fungus pleurotus more aromatic fungus powders than the pleurotus.
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