What You Should Know
Pleurotus ostreatus, also known as the oyster mushroom, is a tasty edible mushroom that can be found in the wild growing on dead hardwood trees in the north temperate zone. It is also commonly cultivated and sold in supermarkets. One way to identify it is by its decurrent gills, which run down the stem if present. The mushroom's color can range from white to dark-brown, and the flesh is firm and white. The gills are white to cream and the stem, if present, is short and thick. Additionally, it can be a saprotroph and a carnivorous mushroom, feeding on dead matter and killing and digesting nematodes for nitrogen. It was first cultivated during World War I as a subsistence measure in Germany and is now widely grown for food.
The flavor and texture of oyster mushrooms can vary greatly, with some strains having a mild taste and soft texture, while others can have a strong, sweet, anise-like aroma and a chewy texture. The texture can also change depending on the time of year, with mushrooms being more chewy during colder months. The stem and cap skin of the oyster mushroom can be tough, so they should be finely chopped and cooked for a long time in dishes. It is best to remove the tough base of the stem. The oyster mushroom is a popular ingredient in Asian cuisine, particularly in Japan, Korea, and China, and can be used in a variety of dishes, such as soups, stuffed, or stir-fry recipes with soy sauce, and it can also be used as an ingredient in oyster sauce.
Other names: Oyster Mushroom, Tree Oyster, Pearl Oyster Mushroom, Hiratake, Tamogitake, Straw Mushroom, German (Austernseitling), Netherlands (Gewone oesterzwam), Czech Republic (Hlíva ústřičná), France (Pleurote en huître).
Pleurotus ostreatus Mushroom Identification
White, cream, brown, or blue-gray in color, these mushrooms have a bracket-like shape and a radial or eccentric stem. They start off convex in shape, but become centrally depressed with a wavy margin. The fruit body is typically 1.97 to 7.09 inches (5 to 18 cm) in size and is often found growing in groups, with each stem separately attached to the substrate.
White, turning pale ochre with age; crowded; decurrent.
White or cream in color, these mushrooms have a woolly base. They can be stemless, but usually have short stems, measuring 0.39 to 1.18 inches (1 to 3 cm) in length and 0.39 to 0.78 inches (1 to 2 cm) in diameter. The stem tapers towards the base and does not have a stem ring.
Subcylindrical to narrowly kidney-shaped, smooth, 8-12.5 x 3-4.5µm.
White to faintly yellowish, or lilac.
Odor and Taste
Smell and taste pleasant but not distinctive.
Saprobic, these mushrooms are found on dying or dead standing deciduous broadleaf trees, particularly beech and oaks, and sometimes on fallen trunks and large branches.
January to February.
Spores 7–11 x 2–4 µm; cylindric-ellipsoid; smooth; hyaline in KOH; inamyloid. Basidia 4-sterigmate. Hymenial cystidia not found. Pileipellis a partially gelatinized, tangled cutis of elements 2.5–10 µm wide, smooth, hyaline to yellowish in KOH, inconspicuously clamped.
Pleurotus ostreatus Look-Alikes
Has a frosted cap; its stem has a short-lived ring.
Often paler, and appears between late April and September.
Found on the wood of quaking aspen.
Has a lighter color of the caps and shorter gills that run less on the stem.
It is extremely bitter and hot to the taste. It has white spores and belongs in the Tricholomataceae like the oyster mushroom, but it has serrate (saw-toothed) gill edges.
Often has olive shades on the cap and the gills are orange, not whitish.
16 Awesome Facts About Pleurotus ostreatus Mushroom
Oyster mushrooms contain ergothioneine, a compound that promotes better immune health by protecting cells and enhancing immune responses against infections.
They have powerful anti-microbial and antibacterial properties, thanks to compounds such as benzaldehyde.
Oyster mushrooms can help people with high blood pressure and cholesterol levels as they are naturally low in sodium and contain statins that lower cholesterol levels.
They break down wood and toxic chemicals such as oil and pesticides.
They are powerful absorbers of mercury and can remove it from the environment.
Oyster mushrooms contain statins which can reduce "bad cholesterol" (LDL).
They contain beta-D-glucans which may stimulate the immune system to fight cancer.
Some people may be allergic to oyster mushrooms and experience symptoms such as hives, swelling, nausea, vomiting or cramps. If this happens, discontinue use and talk to your doctor.
Oyster mushrooms contain a small amount of arabitol, a type of sugar alcohol that can cause gastrointestinal symptoms in some people. People sensitive to sugar alcohol or following a low-FODMAP diet should limit their intake.
Oyster mushrooms contain a good amount of purines, which can be broken down into uric acid in the body. High levels of uric acid can aggravate gout symptoms, such as pain, swelling, and redness in the joints. It may be helpful to limit your intake of purine-rich foods if you have a history of gout or are experiencing a flare-up of symptoms.
They have bacteria-fighting substances, such as pleuromutillin, which was found to kill various bacteria, including Salmonella and Pseudomonas.
Recent research has shown that extracts from oyster mushrooms, called Pleurotus ostreatus, are able to weaken the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.
Oyster mushrooms have the scent of anise due to the presence of benzaldehyde, an organic compound that is widely used in the industry and pharmaceuticals because of its nice scent.
The fruiting body of P. ostreatus contains approximately 100 different bioactive compounds, which are mainly considered a potential new source of dietary fiber.
Oyster mushrooms have a mild flavor, similar to button mushrooms when eaten raw. But when cooked, their flavor becomes earthy, aromatic, slightly sweet and may have a hint of anise. Cooking them in a gentle sauté brings out a briny flavor.
It is also used to create mycelium bricks, mycelium furniture, and leather-like products.
Five Reasons Why You Should Grow Oyster Mushroom
Pleurotus ostreatus is the second most cultivated edible mushroom worldwide after Agaricus bisporus.
It has economic, ecological, and medicinal value, and it also has a shorter growth time compared to other edible mushrooms.
The substrate used for cultivation does not require sterilization, only less expensive pasteurization.
Growing oyster mushrooms convert a high percentage of the substrate to fruiting bodies, increasing profitability.
P. ostreatus demands few environmental controls, and their fruiting bodies are not often attacked by diseases and pests, and they can be cultivated in a simple and cheap way.
Pleurotus ostreatus Cultivation Tips
The substrate is milled to a length of about 0.79-2.36 in (2-6 cm). One of the most common substrates used for modern mushrooms is a mixture. This mixture of cotton-seed hulls and wheat straw has a higher water holding capacity than cottonseed hulls used alone. Pasteurization, used on some commercial mushroom farms, is carried out by filling the ingredients into revolving mixers, water is added to the desired level, and live steam is injected into the mixer while it is in operation.
After completion of pasteurization (60 °C for 1 to 2 h), the substrate is cooled and spawned with the desired strain. At the time of spawning, a delayed-release supplement (rate of 3% to 10% of dry substrate weight) may be added to increase the yield and size of the mushroom production cycle.
Filling plastic bags with the substrate
The pasteurized substrate is spawned and filled (from 25 to 30 lbs) into clear or black perforated polyethylene bags. Incubation The bags are incubated for 12 to 14 days at 25 °C and then transferred to the production room.
The mushroom begins to form around the edges of bag perforations. The bags are maintained under optimal temperature, moisture and other conditions for mycelium growth, and the conditions that favor fruiting. Mushroom shelves and suspended systems are the main systems used for Pleurotus cultivation. Studies on the mushroom cultivation on the use of different strains, different lignocellulosic substrates, different types of spawn, moisture, physicochemical conditions, etc. are important for the cultivation productivity of each particular mushroom.
The mushrooms are harvested from the substrate approximately 3 to 4 weeks after spawning depending on the strain, amount of supplement used, and temperature of spawn run.
Pleurotus ostreatus Nutrition Facts
One cup of raw oyster mushroom provides about 28 calories and 0.35 grams of fat, 2.85 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. The same amount provides 361 mg of potassium, 0.095 grams of Vitamin B6 and 33 µg of folate. The nutrients found in the mushroom vary when accompanied with meat or bread. It could be sautéed, stir-fried or added to various dishes such as roast, stew, and salads.
Recipe: Roasted Oyster Mushrooms
1/2 pound oyster mushrooms 230 grams
If using the oven method:
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
While the oven preheats, prepare the mushrooms. Separate the bunches into individual mushrooms. Give them a gentle rinse and dry them with a paper towel. Use a knife to cut off and discard any dirty or tough parts on the stem end. If any of the mushrooms are much larger than bite-size, cut or tear them in half along the stem.
Prepare a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Spray a light coat of oil onto the foil. Place the mushrooms onto the foil. Spray a light coat of oil onto them and season them with salt and pepper.
When the oven is heated, place the baking sheet of mushrooms in the oven. Bake until the bottom side of the mushrooms is blistered and golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Flip each of the mushrooms and return the sheet to the oven until the other side is golden, 8-10 minutes. Serve immediately.
If using the air fryer:
Preheat air fryer to 360 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 8 minutes.
Prepare the mushrooms as described above while the air fryer preheats.
When the air fryer has finished preheating, remove the basket from it. Spray a light coat of oil onto the grate surface of the basket. Place as many mushrooms as will fit in a single layer. Spray a light coat of oil onto the mushrooms and season them with salt and pepper.
Return the basket to the air fryer and cook at 360 F (180 C) until the mushrooms are nicely browned as shown in the photos, 8-10 minutes, flipping them once halfway through. Serve immediately.
The smaller and thinner pieces will be crispier than the larger and thicker pieces (which will be juicier). I tore the mushrooms into large and small pieces to create variety (some crispy bits, some juicy ones).
If you want all your pieces to have a similar texture, try to tear (or cut) them into even-thickness pieces. It is possible to shred them thinly to achieve a texture similar to shredded chicken or pork.
Recipe: Oyster Mushrooms and Trout
4-6 oz yrout fillets
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup shallot, chopped
8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
4 oz oyster mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup light soy sauce
1/3 cup dry sherry
1/3 cup water
Black pepper (salt), to taste
In a large pan, heat oil and shallot over medium high heat. Cover, cook until shallot is tender. Add mushrooms. Continue cooking covered until mushrooms are soft.
Add soy sauce, sherry, and water. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly.
Remove from heat. Season with pepper and salt if desired. Set aside. Sauté trout, flesh side down over medium heat in lightly oiled pan 2-3 minutes.
Turn and cook until trout is opaque (about 3 minutes).
Serve with warm mushroom sauce.
Recipe: Oyster Mushroom Soup
Makes 5 gallons
2 sticks of butter
4 or 5 large onions
2 lbs carrots
1 stalk celery
6 lbs oyster mushrooms
15 lbs potatoes
Peel and cook 15 lbs potatoes, mash to a creamy base.
Add 4 pints of cream to taste and to thicken.
Add vegetables and let simmer.
Add salt, pepper and parsley.
Recipe: Chicken (or fish) with Oyster Mushrooms
2 whole chicken breasts or 4 fish fillets
6 Tbsp. of butter
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound oyster mushrooms
1 cup white wine (dry)
1/2 cup cream
Top chicken or fish each with 1/2 Tbsp. butter and lemon juice, broil until done. Melt 4 Tbsp. butter in skillet.
Add minced garlic and onion, saute about 5 minutes until tender.
Add mushrooms and saute 5 minutes more.
Add wine and cream, and reduce for about 5 minutes. Pour reduced sauce over chicken or fish. Season to taste.
Recipe: Pork with Oyster Mushrooms
12 oz. pork fillet
1 large red onion
12 oz. Oyster Mushrooms
6 oz. cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for frying
Slice pork, onions and mushrooms into thin strips. Saute pork until just cooked, add onions and mushrooms and fry until cooked through. Season, then add cream, reduce and serve.
Recipe: Oyster Mushroom Fettuccini
6 oz. Oyster mushrooms, or a variety of mushrooms
1 pkg. Fettuccini
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 pkg. (3 oz.) sun dried tomatoes, softened and minced
Cook fettuccini according to package instructions. In medium sauce pan, heat oil and saute remaining ingredients for 2-3 minutes. Toss with hot, cooked fettuccini.
Pleurotus ostreatus Taxonomy and Etymology
The Latin name Pleurotus ostreatus, meaning "sideways oyster," is given to this mushroom due to its oyster-like shape. The Latin term ostreatus and the English common name "oyster" both refer to the resemblance of the mushroom's cap to the bivalve of the same name. Additionally, the reference to oyster may also come from the slippery texture of the mushroom.
Pleurotus ostreatus Synonyms and Varietes
Pleurotus floridanus Singer, 1946
Agaricus ambiguus Oudemans (1883), Verslagen en mededeelingen der Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen, serie 2, 18, p. 364
Agaricus atroalbus (Persoon) J. Otto (1816), Versuch einer auf … Anordnung und Beschreibung der Agaricorum, p. 102
Agaricus crispatus Schumacher (1803), Enumeratio plantarum in partibus Saellandiae septentrionalis et orientalis, 2, p. 363
Agaricus dimidiatus Bulliard (1785), Herbier de la France, 6, tab. 288 & tab. 508
Agaricus dryinus Hornemann (1818), Flora danica, 27, p. 10, tab. 1616
Agaricus fuligineocinereus Britzelmayr (1890), Bericht des naturwissenschaftlichen vereins für schwaben und Neuburg, 30, p. 14, fig. 383
Agaricus glandulosus Bulliard (1788), Herbier de la France, 9, tab. 426
Agaricus nigricans O.F. Müller (1782), Flora danica, 15, p. 6, tab. 892
Agaricus opuntiae Durieu & Lév., in Bory de St. Vincent & Durieu de Maisonneuve, Atlas de la Flore d'Algérie ou Illustrations d'un Grand Nombre de Plantes Nouvelles ou Rares de ce Pays, Botanique (Paris): 15 + pl. 32, fig. 1 (1850)
Agaricus ostreatus Jacq., Fl. austriac. 2: 3 (1774)
Agaricus ostreatus subsp.* glandulosus (Bulliard) G. Winter (1882) , Rabenhorst's kryptogamen-flora von Deutschland, Oesterreich und der Schweiz, Zweite Auflage, Pilze, 1(1), p. 736
Agaricus ostreatus var. b glandulosus(Bulliard) Rabenhorst (1844), Deutschlands kryptogamen-flora, 1, p. 516
Agaricus ostreatus var. ß atroalbus Persoon (1801), Synopsis methodica fungorum, p. 477
Agaricus ostreatus var. ß glaucoumbrinus Schumacher (1803), Enumeratio plantarum in partibus Saellandiae septentrionalis et orientalis, 2, p. 362
Agaricus populeti Britzelmayr (1890), Bericht des naturwissenschaftlichen vereins für schwaben und Neuburg, 30, p. 14, fig. 382
Agaricus revolutus J.J. Kickx, Fl. Crypt. Flandres 1: 158 (1867)
Agaricus salignus Pers., Synopsis Methodica Fungorum (Göttingen): 478 (1801)
Agaricus violaceospermus Britzelmayr (1894), Bericht des naturwissenschaftlichen vereins für schwaben und Neuburg, 31, p. 162, fig. 656, 707
Clitocybe ostreata (Jacquin) P. Karsten (1879), Bidrag till kännedom af Finlands natur och folk, 32, p. 87
Clitocybe ostreata var. glandulosa (Bulliard) P. Karsten (1879), Bidrag till kännedom af Finlands natur och folk, 32, p. 87
Crepidopus ostreatus var. albus(Persoon) Gray (1821), A natural arrangement of British plants, 1, p. 616
Crepidopus subsapidus Murrill (1912), Mycologia, 4(4), p. 216
Dendrosarcus britzelmayrii Kuntze (1898), Revisio generum plantarum, 3, p. 463
Dendrosarcus glandulosus (Bulliard) Kuntze (1898), Revisio generum plantarum, 3, p. 464
Dendrosarcus nigrescens Paulet (1808) , Traité des champignons, 2, p. 106, tab. 19, fig. 1-2
Dendrosarcus ostreatus (Jacquin) Kuntze (1898), Revisio generum plantarum, 3, p. 463
Dendrosarcus populeti (Britzelmayr) Kuntze (1898), Revisio generum plantarum, 3, p. 464
Dendrosarcus populeus Paulet (1808) , Traité des champignons, 2, p. 118, tab. 27, fig. 1-2
Dendrosarcus violaceospermus (Britzelmayr) Kuntze (1898), Revisio generum plantarum, 3, p. 464
Panellus opuntiae (Durieu & Lév.) Z.S. Bi, in Bi, Zheng & Li, Acta Mycologica Sinica, Supplement 1: 286 (1987) 
Pleuropus atroalbus (Persoon) Zawadzki (1835), Enumeratio plantarum Galiciae & Bucowinae, p. 171, n° 2749
Pleuropus ostreatus (Jacquin) Zawadzki (1835), Enumeratio plantarum Galiciae & Bucowinae, p. 171, n° 2748
Pleurotus ambiguus Saccardo (1887), Sylloge fungorum omnium hucusque cognitorum, 5, p. 356
Pleurotus columbinus Quél., 1881
Pleurotus fuligineocinereus (Britzelmayr) Saccardo (1912), Sylloge fungorum omnium hucusque cognitorum, 21, p. 63
Pleurotus glandulosus (Bulliard) Quélet (1873), Mémoires de la Société d'Emulation de Montbéliard, série 2, 5, p. 343(332)
Pleurotus juglandis Saccardo (1895), Sylloge fungorum omnium hucusque cognitorum, 11, p. 27
Pleurotus opuntiae (Durieu & Lév.) Sacc., Sylloge fungorum (Abellini) 5: 363 (1887)
Pleurotus ostreatus (Jacquin) P. Kummer (1871), Der fürher in die pilzkunde, p. 105 (nom actuel)
Pleurotus ostreatus f. ostreatus (Jacquin) Pilát (1935), Atlas des champignons de l'Europe, 2, Pleurotus, p. 118
Pleurotus ostreatus f. salignus (Pers.) Pilát, Atlas des Champignons de l'Europe, II: Pleurotus *Fries: 119 (1935)
Pleurotus ostreatus subf. glandulosus (Bulliard) Pilát (1935), Atlas des champignons de l'Europe, 2, Pleurotus, p. 119
Pleurotus ostreatus subf. typicus Pilát (1935), Atlas des champignons de l'Europe, 2, Pleurotus, p. 118
Pleurotus ostreatus subsp. opuntiae (Lév.) A. Ortega & Vizoso, Documents Mycologiques 22(no. 86): 35 (1992)
Pleurotus ostreatus var. glandulosus(Bulliard) Wünsche (1877), Die pilze. Eeine anleitung zur kenntniss derselben, p. 171
Pleurotus populeti (Britzelmayr) Saccardo (1895), Sylloge fungorum omnium hucusque cognitorum, 11, p. 27
Pleurotus pulmonarius sensu auct.; fide Checklist of Basidiomycota of Great Britain and Ireland (2005)
Pleurotus revolutus (J. Kickx f.) Gillet, Hyménomycètes de France: 347 (1874)
Pleurotus salignus (Schrad.) P. Kumm., Führer Pilzk.: 105 (1871)
Pleurotus subsapidus (Murrill) Murrill (1912), Mycologia, 4(4), p. 217
Pleurotus violaceospermus (Britzelmayr) Laplanche (1894), Dictionnaire iconographique des champignons supérieurs (Hyménomycètes) qui croissent en Europe, Algérie & Tunisie, p. 533
Pleurotus ostreatus Video
All photos were taken by the Ultimate Mushroom team and can be used for your own purposes under the Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.