Edible mushrooms are used extensively in cooking, in many cuisines (notably Chinese, European, and Japanese). Though mushrooms are commonly thought to have little nutritional value, many species are high in fiber and provide vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, biotin, cobalamins, ascorbic acid. Though not normally a significant source of vitamin D, some mushrooms can become signifcant sources after exposure to ultraviolet light, though this also darkens their skin. Mushrooms are also a source of some minerals, including iron, selenium, potassium and phosphorus.
Most mushrooms that are sold in supermarkets have been commercially grown on mushroom farms. The most popular of these, Agaricus bisporus, is safe for most people to eat because it is grown in controlled, sterilized environments, though some individuals do not tolerate it well. Several varieties of A. bisporus are grown commercially, including whites, crimini, and portabello. Other cultivated species now available at many grocers include shiitake, maitake or hen-of-the-woods, oyster, and enoki.
There are a number of species of mushroom that are poisonous, and although some resemble certain edible species, eating them could be fatal. Eating mushrooms gathered in the wild is risky and should not be undertaken by individuals not knowledgeable in mushroom identification, unless the individuals limit themselves to a relatively small number of good edible species that are visually distinctive. More generally, and particularly with gilled mushrooms, separating edible from poisonous species requires meticulous attention to detail; there is no single trait by which all toxic mushrooms can be identified, nor one by which all edible mushrooms can be identified.
People who collect mushrooms for consumption are known as mycophagists, and the act of collecting them for such is known as mushroom hunting, or simply "mushrooming".
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