The blue version of the common edible mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus, or the oyster mushroom, is the variant columbinus, an easy-to-grow mushroom you can cultivate at home. A cold weather mushroom, the blue oyster mushroom prefers temperatures of up to 65 degrees F. Use old phone books and coffee grounds as the substrate for these mushrooms, and after harvesting, saute them in olive oil for a nutritious and exotically tasty dish.
Forming tight clusters of small individual mushrooms amassed together, blue oyster mushrooms have bright blue to brown-gray fruit bodies with caps 8 to 10 cm in diameter. Stems are white. In the wild, blue oyster mushrooms can weigh 44 pounds and measure 10 feet in circumference.
Called "silky" and "satiny," blue oyster mushrooms have a firmer texture than other oyster mushrooms and hold their shape well during brief cooking.
With a seafood flavor, blue oyster mushrooms are more flavorful than other oyster mushrooms. The taste has been called shrimp-like.
Special Conditions, Properties
Blue oyster mushrooms are resistant to nematodes, unlike other mushrooms, because it produces a metabolite that stuns the nematode. It grows well on hardwoods and wheat straw. When cultivating them at home, note that this is a cold weather mushroom that prefers temperatures of 45 to 65 degrees F. The blue oyster mushroom contains many healthful substances such as B vitamins and vitamin D. It is also a good source of chitin, which is found in shellfish, and glucosamine, which is beneficial for joint conditions.
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