Autumn is the season for mushrooms, a delicious and flavorful ingredient. Let’s learn about this fascinating fungus!

What Are Mushrooms?

Though mushrooms are often included in the vegetable section of grocery stores, they are not vegetables as they have no roots, seeds, or leaves. So what exactly are mushrooms? They are a fungal growth. The larger top of the mushroom is actually the reproductive part of the fungus; it carries spores, which are similar to seeds in that they spread and allow more mushrooms to grow. Not all mushrooms are edible, but a few types are safe and quite delicious when prepared correctly.

Where Do Mushrooms Grow?

Mushrooms grow well in damp, nutritious environments like forest floors. In the US, forests in the Pacific Northwest are famous among foragers because the moist climate is perfect for mushroom growth. Rather than being gathered, some mushrooms are grown on farms in climate-controlled rooms. This way, mushrooms can be grown and harvested quickly.

How to Gather Mushrooms

Gathering mushrooms is all about knowing where to look. The best method is to go with an experience mushroom forager so they can take you to their favorite spots, teach you which mushrooms are safe to eat, and how to properly cut them from the stalk with a knife. When gathering mushrooms, be sure to carry them in a woven basket so that the spores will spread as you walk and the mushroom population can be replenished for the next harvest.

Types of Mushrooms

As stated earlier, not all mushrooms are edible. Some are even lethal, so always be sure that your mushrooms are safe to eat. Edible varieties include chanterelles (golden mushrooms with fruity, peppery notes), portobello (large, meaty mushrooms), and enoki (thin, mild-flavored mushrooms). Shiitake (rich, umami mushrooms), porcini (nutty and creamy mushrooms), and button mushrooms (white mushrooms often found on pizza) are also commonly used in cooking.

How to Cook Mushrooms

There are as many cooking methods for mushrooms as there are types of mushrooms. Larger mushrooms like portobellos can be grilled and stuffed with savory fillings, similar to meat. Other mushrooms can be sliced thin and placed on top of pizzas. Sauteeing is another common cooking method that really brings out the flavor of mushrooms. Be sure to also try mushrooms in kebobs, pasta, and burgers.

What’s your favorite mushroom? Which ones would you like to try? Let us know!

Here at WN Foods, we co-pack high quality sauces, cooked with the finest ingredients. If you would like us to manufacture your sauce recipe, or if you would like our food science team to help you develop your own sauce, please contact us at (510) 487-8877 or