With over 38,000 different varieties of  mushroom , anyone who is mad about  mushrooms  sure has plenty to choose from. Take a look at the distinct characteristics of some of the more popular varieties and a few handy tips for preparing your favorite variety.Agaricus  Mushrooms 

More popularly known as button  mushrooms  or white  mushrooms , these are the most commonly used variety. They are abundantly available fresh, frozen or canned at any supermarket. Agaricus  mushrooms  have a mild flavor if eaten raw, but the flavor gets intensified when they are cooked.

Porcino  Mushrooms 

Considered one of the finest among  mushrooms , their high price is no deterrent to those who love the meaty texture and distinctive flavor of the Porcino  mushroom . They are available in variable sizes and have a very characteristic shape.

Shiitake  Mushrooms 

Originally cultivated only in Japan on natural oak logs, shiitake  mushrooms  are now available in larger grocery stores around the world. Large in size and black-brown in color, shiitake  mushrooms  have an earthy-rich flavor. Dried shiitakes have a more intense flavor and are often preferred to the fresh variety. They are commonly used in soups and stir-fried dishes.

Portobello  Mushrooms 

Large, circular and flat, Portobello  mushrooms  can sometimes grow to the size of a regular-sized hamburger. They have an dense, chewy texture and are an excellent choice for roasting and grilling.

Pleurotus  Mushrooms 

Pleurotus  mushrooms , also known as oyster  mushrooms  because of the remarkable similarity in taste, are available in colors that range from off-white to different shades of brown. Their texture is more suitable for use in cooked dishes.

Morel  Mushrooms 

Highly prized, with a price to match, these conical  mushrooms  with a honey combed surface are much sought after for flavoring stews and sauces with their intense earthy flavor. Morel  mushrooms  are small and dark brown and can also be used for stuffing.

Girolle or Chanterelle  Mushrooms 

Trumpet shaped and yellow-gold in color, Chanterelle  mushrooms  have a rich flavor that ranges from apricot to earthy. They are best eaten fresh, but are also available canned or dried.

Enokitake or Enoki  Mushrooms 

Native to Japan, Enokitake  mushrooms  have a sprout-like appearance with thin, long stems and small caps atop them. They are typically white in color, have a light, fruity taste and are served raw in salads and soups.

Crimini  Mushrooms 

Also called Italian Brown because of their dark brown color, Crimini  Mushrooms  are dense in texture and possess a rich flavor.

Handy Hints and Tips for Preparing  Mushrooms 

Cooking With  Mushrooms 

Remember dried  mushrooms  have an extremely concentrated flavor and should be considered more as seasonings rather than vegetables. Dried mushrooms  need to be soaked in hot water for about 20 to 30 minutes, rinsed, chopped and then added to soups, sauces and stews.

Most  mushrooms  can be eaten raw as well as cooked. However the stems of certain varieties included Portabella and Shiitake are often tough and must be removed. They can be used as flavoring agents in certain dishes if need be.

Stuffed  mushrooms  are a much sought-after delicacy. For stuffing  mushrooms , remove the stem, scrape out the gills and hollow out the  mushroom using a melon baller. You’ll have plenty of space for any delicious stuffing.

Source by Lisa Paterson