White Button mushrooms are the largest part of the Ontario crop. They range from white to cream and brown and vary from small "buttons" to jumbos.
Responding to a more sophisticated market, growers are also producing other varieties:
- Shiitake (large, densely textured, cocoa-colored with umbrella-shape caps).
- Oyster (large fluted caps, close-set gills, fine texture and pale, almost translucent coloring).
- Portobella (brown, flat-topped with exposed gills).
- Crimini (similar to White Button with color ranging from tan to dark brown).
Mushrooms are a source of Vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, folacin, and fibre. A 2/3 cup serving contains only 12 calories.
Before mushrooms were cultivated, people ate the wild varieties. The Japanese were probably the first to grow mushrooms, raising Shiitakes some two thousand years ago.
Today there are thousands of mushroom varieties in the world of which only 25 are cultivated. The rest are not palatable.