A mushroom (or toadstool) is the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground on soil or on its food source. There are many mushrooms that are edible that are available in the market.
Prized for a fruity aroma, chanterelles range from yellow, orange, and brown to pale white or black. The funnel-shaped caps have wrinkles instead of gills on the underside, which should be washed quickly but carefully before using.
The most common type, white mushrooms range in size from tiny—called button, which are harvested when young and have the mildest flavor—to jumbo, which can be stuffed and baked. Creamy white to pale tan, they have a firm texture and a delicate flavor.
Velvety and trumpet-shaped, oyster mushrooms have delicate brown, gray, or reddish caps on gray-white stems. They have a peppery flavor that becomes very mild when cooked. Young, small specimens are considered the best.
With meaty tan to dark-brown umbrella-like caps, shiitakes have a distinctively smoky flavor and taste best when cooked. Available fresh or dried, they work well in stir-fries as the flavor doesn’t fade next to ginger and garlic. Although the stems are too tough to eat and should be removed from the heads before cooking, you can use them to flavor stocks and sauces before discarding.
Similar to white mushrooms but with a firmer texture and deeper flavor, creminis are actually immature portobellos. The button-like caps range from pale tan to rich brown. The stems are edible.