Lobster mushrooms are big, white-capped mushrooms with a red fungus on the top that makes them taste and feel like a lobster. Find out how tasty these mushrooms are and how to clean and cook them with the help of our guide. Lobster mushrooms have fiber, which helps your body digest food, and copper, which helps your body make red blood cells and absorb iron. The mushrooms also have small amounts of vitamins B, D, and K, which help keep the body healthy.
What are Lobster Mushrooms?
Lobster mushrooms are white, meaty mushrooms that have been taken over by a fungus called Hypomyces Lactifluorum, which makes them red and changes their taste and texture. These mushrooms don’t last long, but they can add a rich, crustacean-like flavor to vegetarian and meat-based dishes if they are cleaned, prepared, and eaten at their best. Mold usually grows on white mushrooms with big caps, such as russula recipes and Lactarius mushrooms.
When the parasite Hypomyces lactifluorum attacks lLactariusand russula mushrooms in the wild, it turns them into lobster mushrooms. You can find these mushrooms in the fall, mostly in the northern parts of New England and the West Coast. The parasite covers the wild mushrooms and turns them red. This makes the flesh firm and gives the fungi a meaty flavor that wasn’t there before. When cooked, the lumpy mushrooms take on the smell and taste of shellfish, especially lobster.
The lobster mushroom gets its name from how it tastes, feels, and bright orange-red color. There are also white lobster mushrooms, but they are not as common as the ones with warm colors. The white lobster mushrooms taste the same as the red ones, but they don’t look like chunks of lobster meat and have a lighter texture.
How to Identify Lobster Mushrooms?
Here is an overview of properly identifying lobster mushrooms ready to be harvested.
1. Look for a red-orange color. Lobster mushrooms are easy to spot because the hyphomycetes fungus gives them a bright, reddish-orange color. This fungus usually grows outside the mushroom, while the inside stays white and meaty. People should not pick purple lobster mushrooms out to find food.
2. Make sure the weight is right. Lobster mushrooms are dense and heavy when ready to eat, like a paperweight. Anything too light might be too old, so you shouldn’t eat it.
3. Do a smell test. Before you cook lobster mushrooms you find in a store or the wild, make sure to smell them. If they smell fishy and wet, they are past their prime and shouldn’t be eaten.
4. Search for them on the right trees in the right season. In North America, you can find lobster mushrooms from the middle of summer to the end of fall. You can find lobster mushrooms on birch, pine, and hardwood trees with russula recipes and Lactarius mushrooms.
How to Clean Lobster Mushrooms?
Lobster mushrooms can pick up a lot of dirt from the forest floor, so you should clean them well before you cook and eat them. Here’s a quick look at how to clean lobster mushrooms correctly.
1. Clean Dirt Away Using a Brush.
Before you rinse your lobster mushrooms, you can use a small brush to lightly scrub the dirt out of the cap, cracks, and gills. Scrub the mushroom softly, just hard enough to get rid of dirt but not hard enough to wear away the red coating and change the taste.
2. Rinse your Mushrooms
If you brush your mushrooms and there is still dirt on them, you can briefly rinse them under cold water. Lobster mushrooms are tough and can handle being rinsed.
3. Leave your Mushrooms to Dry
Put your mushrooms in a strainer to dry. Don’t rub them to clean them after you’ve rinsed them because the extra friction could wear away the red fungus. When ready to cook them, use a paper towel to dry any wet spots gently.
How to Cook with Lobster Mushrooms?
The first step in cooking lobster mushrooms is to clean them. This can be hard to do because the mushroom has a lot of folds and a cup-shaped cap. The best way to clean them is to knock off any dirt with a dry bar vegetable brush. You can also clean them gently with a damp paper towel. Just be careful not to rub the color off when you do this. Depending on whether the mushrooms are dirty, you may have to break them up to get all the dirt out.
Once they have been cleaned, lobster mushrooms can be cooked like most other kinds of mushrooms. But it is into pieces or used depending on one of the lobster mushrooms and what it will be used for; the b; they cook mushrooms quickly over high heat with olive oil or butter. You can sauté, roast, or pan-fry them.
Depending on the size, it takes about five to ten minutes to fry a mushroom in a pan. The DTheorange color often fades during cooking, especially if the food is cooked for a long time. Some red color stays in the liquid left over from cooking lobster mushrooms, so it can be used to add flavor to the dish.
Lobster mushrooms can be eaten raw, but cooking them makes them taste better. When seafood is heated, its unique flavors come out. You can also cook with dried lobster mushrooms, which many people find even more umami and crustacean-like flavors.
Soak dried mushrooms in water before you cook with them. The best way to use dried mushrooms is to chop them up and add them to sautés, fillings, and soups. You can use lobster mushrooms in any dish that needs a hint of the sea but doesn’t want to use shellfish.
Lobster Mushroom Recipes
In these recipes, you can use lobster mushrooms instead of any other kind of mushroom. This mushroom will change the flavor by giving it a hint of shellfish, but it will still have the same rich, earthy taste as other mushrooms.
What does it Taste Like?
A lobster mushroom tastes like its namesake and mostly tastes like crustaceans. It’s a thick, meaty mushroom with a good bite, just like its seafood counterpart. The lobster mushroom has umami-rich earthy notes, but overall, it has a mild, meaty taste that goes well with cream sauces, pasta, buttery bread, and whole grains. Lobster mushrooms are meaty and smell sweet and nutty, which is also like lobster.
Both Lactarius apparatus and russula mushrooms taste the same, and the mold that turns them into lobster mushrooms makes the taste of both mushrooms better. Before the hyphomycetes fungus takes them over, russula mushrooms are crumbly. When they turn into lobster mushrooms, they get meatier and more tasty.
Where to Buy Lobster Mushrooms?
The best places to buy fresh lobster mushrooms are at local farmers’ markets, from mushroom forgers and small mushroom farmers and sellers. Dried lobster mushrooms are easier to find and can be bought online, in specialty grocery stores, and from real estate agents specializing in mushrooms.
The wild is where most lobster mushrooms come from. They grow mostly on hemlock trees in New England’s temperate forests and along the West Coast’s northern part. They are in season from the middle of July to the end of October. Since they look like poisonous mushrooms, leaving foraging to professionals or people who have done it before is best.
There are at least two kinds of red and white lobster mushrooms. The parasite Hypomyces lactifluorum completely takes over the host fungi and gives it a bright red color. The parasite hasn’t affected the white one as much, so it doesn’t have the same color. Both mushrooms have had their taste and texture changed.
The white one is lighter, and the red one has a meatier, thicker texture. Even though neither type of lobster mushroom is common, the white ones are harder to find, partly because they don’t stand out as much as the red ones. Both can be eaten and taste about the same.
How to Store Lobster Mushrooms?
Lobster mushrooms can be stored in the same way as any other mushroom: in a paper bag or breathable mesh bag in a cool place, like the fridge. Lobster mushrooms should be eaten soon after they are picked, if possible, within a few days. Overall, a cleaned lobster mushroom can last up to a week if kept in a cool place. They can also be frozen after being cleaned.
Dried lobster mushrooms should be kept in a cool place in the pantry, away from direct light and moisture. It is important to keep dried mushrooms airtight because water can ruin the whole bunch before they are ready to be used. It is no longer good to eat if a lobster mushroom is slimy, dark, or mushy. Bad lobster mushrooms also have a bad smell. Any that show these signs should be thrown away or put in the compost.
Even though it looks like a mushroom, the lobster mushroom is not a real mushroom. It happens when a parasitic mold attacks and takes over a wild mushroom, turning it red and making it taste and feel better. In this way, people like lobster mushroom because it tastes like crustaceans, has a meaty texture, and cooks up heartily. This makes it a rare and highly sought-after ingredient. Since the lobster mushroom only grows in the wild, it can be hard to find.