Getting to know: Italian Oyster mushrooms

The Italian Oyster mushrooms may remind you of a Lamborghini and Ferrari with how quickly they grow.

Along with most Oyster mushrooms growing in our facility, they only take three to five days to go from pinning to harvesting. The Italian Oysters have a smoky grey hue and develop more of a stem than our Snow Oysters.

These Oysters have more carbohydrates than the Blue, Snow, and Pink Oyster mushrooms, according to nutritional information gathered by mycologist Paul Stamets. This includes complex carbohydrates, such as polysaccharides, which are sources of energy and fibre but can also have other health benefits.

Some polysaccharides extracted from the Italian Oyster can target viruses, according to researchers in Russia. They noticed the mushroom extract was active against influenza viruses. The more polysaccharides meant more antiviral activity, said the study.

Beta-glucans, a type of polysaccharide found in mushrooms, can have positive effects against diseases, allergies, and inflammation. A glucan from the Italian Oyster was found to reduce some inflammation and pain, based on research on mice in Brazil. It targeted a type of cytokines, which are proteins that help tell the immune system when and how to respond to inflammation or diseases. The glucan in the Italian Oyster slowed down pro-inflammatory cytokines, which sometimes cause pain to continue instead of anti-inflammatory cytokines promoting healing.

Fun fact: These mushrooms are aggressive. Wild Italian Oysters are not picky either when it comes to trees – they grow on oaks, maples, alders, cottonwoods, poplars, aspens, elms, firs and spruces. Our grow mix containing hardwood pellets is an all-you-can-eat feast for the Italian Oysters, and they are hungry.

Meal options: Like most mushrooms, the Italian Oysters go well when chopped up and added to a stir-fry. They go well with fish, lamb, pork, and vegetarian dishes.

Disclaimer: Despite the references provided, the information on this page, specifically the Italian Oyster’s potential health benefits, are for educational purposes only. Contact your health provider for personal medical advice.