How gourmet mushrooms differ from Buttons, Portobellos and Creminis

We have been asked before if we sell mushrooms commonly found in grocery stores. These are the button, portobello and cremini mushrooms. The answer is no because those are different than the mushrooms we grow in a few ways.

By the way, did you know button, portobello and cremini mushrooms are all versions of the same mushroom? They are all Agaricus bisporus mushrooms, but the creminis are a brown strain of the white button, and portobellos are a mature version of creminis.

It’s time to look at four ways our JCB Gourmet Mushrooms differ from the button mushrooms.

Different looks, different tastes

One of the more difficult questions to answer to customers is which of our mushrooms are the most like buttons, creminis or portobellos. Each gourmet mushroom looks completely different than the button mushrooms – we have pink, yellow, spined and clustered types of mushrooms.

Each mushroom also has a different taste and texture. Oyster mushrooms have more of a complex, savoury flavour than button mushrooms because of glutamic acid. This amino acid is the main factor in an umami taste. Raw oyster mushrooms have almost twice as much glutamic acid as raw button mushrooms.

Some of our mushrooms have a mild nutty flavour, which is similar to cremini and portobello mushrooms. The Italian Oyster and Yellow Oyster have a slight nuttiness, but they are more delicate. Chestnut and Pioppino mushrooms have more of a nutty flavour than the button and Oyster mushrooms. The Blue Oyster mushrooms also have a slightly earthy flavour like buttons, so each mushroom has some similarities and many differences.

Button mushrooms grow in composted manure and straw instead of a hardwood pellet mix

The button mushrooms usually grow in a factory-like building with large growing rooms. Instead of growing out of bags, the mushroom mycelium spreads throughout a long bed of composted manure, straw and hay. This growing mix is rich in nitrogen, which the button mushrooms enjoy.

When the button mushrooms are ready to fruit, the temperature is dropped to below 20 Celsius (68 Fahrenheit). That triggers the process to grow and to drop more spores so the mushroom cycle of life continues, according to Canadian Food Focus.

Our mushrooms, which include Oyster mushrooms, Lion’s Manes, Shiitake, Chestnuts, Pioppini and Reishi, grow out of blocks. These blocks are made of hardwood sawdust pellets, a lot of water, and either wheat bran and gypsum powder or soybean hulls.

All these mushrooms are native to dying or dead hardwood trees in the wild. The mycelium breaks down nutrients in the hardwood and other ingredients before growing. Growing gourmet mushrooms in a bagged block mimics how they would grow in the wild.

Button mushrooms have a slightly longer shelf life

Gourmet mushrooms are difficult to find in grocery stores because they have a short shelf life. They must be kept in the coolest part of a fridge quickly after they are harvested. They usually last between 3 to 5 days if they were harvested on time.

Mushrooms have a short shelf life because of their high water content. Oyster mushrooms contain between 85 and 90 percent of water.

Button mushrooms have roughly the same water content, but they can last up to a week in the fridge. Portobello mushrooms can last a couple of days longer because of their size.

Our fresh gourmet mushrooms are generally more delicate and tender than the Agaricus bisporus mushrooms. The button mushrooms are also bought in sealed-tight plastic packaging. The gourmet mushrooms can store longer if they are cooked, and any leftovers can be frozen for up to a year.

Gourmet mushrooms have different nutrients and vitamins, according to USDA data

Button mushrooms have a similar amount of protein to Oyster mushrooms at about 2.9 grams per 100g, according to nutritional data from the United States Department of Agriculture. These mushrooms have more protein than Lion’s Mane and Shiitake mushrooms. The Pioppino mushroom has more protein at about 3.5 grams per 100g.

The gourmet mushrooms also have more carbohydrates than Button mushrooms – Shiitakes (8.17g/100g) and Lion’s Manes (7.59g/100g) have about twice as many as the Buttons (4.08g/100g).

Some other quick stats, according to the USDA data:

  • Oyster, Lion’s Mane and Pioppino mushrooms have more iron than Buttons, which has more than Shiitakes.
  • Lion’s Mane and Pioppino mushrooms have more potassium than Buttons, which has slightly more than Oyster mushrooms and Shiitakes.
  • Oyster, Lion’s Mane, Shiitake and Pioppino mushrooms have more magnesium than the Buttons. The Buttons have more calcium than the other four.
  • Shiitake mushrooms have some Vitamin D, which is said to help with bone health and the immune system, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

There are some similarities and differences between the gourmet mushrooms we grow and the Button mushrooms. If you’re wondering how different the mushrooms taste, why not try out some JCB Gourmet Mushrooms? Perhaps you’ll find your new favourite mushroom. Head over to our shop page for fresh mushrooms or grow kits.

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