You may think mushrooms are limited to those cheery button and closed cup mushrooms you get in the supermarket - well think again! Mushrooms are part of a larger family, the fungi, which includes mushrooms, puffballs, truffles, moulds and yeasts amongst other things. Obviously not all of them are edible; far more aren't than are. It is estimated there are around 1.5 million species of fungus of which around 70,000 have been studied in detail.
Button and closed cup are the most common edible mushrooms; however in most supermarkets you can also get what are typically known as large flat, or breakfast mushrooms, and chestnut mushrooms. Less commonly are shiitake and oyster mushrooms. However, there aren't many mushrooms you'll manage to find selling truffles…
If you are skilled enough, there are many edible varieties of mushrooms and fungi that can be harvested from the wild. This should not be done by just anyone - it's extremely difficult in some cases to distinguish between edible and not edible, and in other cases, so-called edible mushrooms must be cooked in a certain way to break down toxins. The only way to really learn this information is to join a local fungus group who can teach you.
- Mushrooms - Not many varieties of mushroom are edible - they're not even really plants!