Oyster mushrooms come in various forms and kinds, and the pink oyster mushrooms are part of this big mushroom family. Pink oyster mushrooms are one of the fastest-growing mushroom species and are also a favorite choice among mushroom growers. Many people are clueless that there are pink mushrooms in nature, and this article will help you know them well.
How can I recognize pink oyster mushrooms?
The pink oyster mushrooms are quickly recognized through their vibrant pink color. This kind of mushroom has a shape and structure akin to other oyster mushrooms you are familiar with. The pink oyster mushroom possesses the distinctive shelf-like or fan-shaped cap typical among oyster mushrooms.
Pink oyster mushrooms can grow in small to medium sizes, where their caps can reach a diameter range of 2 to 5 centimeters (0.79 to 1.97 inches). In most cases, this class of oyster mushroom grows in clusters.
This mushroom is all pink - from the top of the cap to its underside, gills included. Pink oysters are at their most colorful when they are still young. Their hue begins to fade as they become older and turns creamy pink. The mushrooms are well-liked by chefs and customers when offered at markets because of their remarkable appearance.
Growers of pink oyster mushrooms should not be surprised when their mycelium starts as white because this is normal. As the mycelium develops, this will alter and begin to become pink.
I would advise that mushroom growers will tell their customers that the pink coloring of these mushrooms will mainly disappear once cooked, whether you're selling to restaurants or straight to consumers.
After cooking, the pink color will transform into a cream or brown hue. In order to avoid confusion or disappointment, I recommend clarifying this information to potential clients.
What do pink oyster mushrooms taste like?
Pink oyster mushrooms are a superb meat substitute in many meals because their flavor and luscious texture are similar to meat. When cooked, the bacon- or ham-like flavor of these delectably delicate oyster mushrooms is enhanced.
Even pink oysters, which are vegetarian-friendly alternatives to bacon, taste fantastic when cooked until they have become brown and moderately crunchy.
The oyster mushroom has a strong scent that is unique to it. Additionally intriguing is the cooking quick prep time of the pink oyster mushroom; for a more casual appearance, the mushrooms can be swiftly sliced or torn into bits.
When consumed fresh, pink oyster mushrooms produce a bitter flavor. By cooking the pink oyster mushrooms well, the bitter flavor is removed.
Pink oysters exhibit a variety of textures, from delicate and thin to meaty and thick, depending on the growing conditions. They do, however, typically tend to be a little chewier than other varieties of oyster mushrooms.
When and where do pink oyster mushrooms grow?
A pink oyster mushroom is known as a warm type and gives us a hint on where we can usually find it. You will find clusters of pink oyster mushrooms in places where there is a tropical climate and high humidity.
Pink mushrooms' love for warm temperatures makes them a typical sight on tropical hardwood trees of Indonesia, Mexico, and other countries with identical climates. Comparatively, the pink oyster mushroom is not naturally found in North America and mainly in Europe because of their chilly weather.
Pink oysters bloom in the tropics from April to September, when the weather is warmer. One known upside of pink oyster mushrooms is that they are grown easily in the middle of summer thanks to their heat-tolerant capability.
A common technique by growers is they alternate between raising pink oysters in the sweltering summer seasons and blue oysters in the cooler months. Compared to their blue counterparts, pink oysters are more manageable to cultivate since they do not demand much fresh air.
Why grow pink oyster mushrooms?
Pink oyster mushrooms have strong growth rates, rapid colonization rates, and high yields. These mushrooms are a favorite among farmers and markets because of their striking appearance.
Pink oyster mushrooms are easy to cultivate.
These mushrooms are an excellent option for both newbie and seasoned mushroom gardeners. If you are a beginner, the pink oyster mushroom is a good choice since you can get your hands on its spawn easily, less effort in cultivating the mushroom, and you have a high chance of growing the pink oyster mushroom.
Pink oyster mushrooms require low maintenance.
When you are all set up and the mushrooms are out for incubation, there is not much work to be done for the pink oyster mushroom. A quick misting of the crop and its growing environment is all that there is to do. It will only take a few sprays from a water bottle per day to achieve this.
Pink oyster mushrooms are healthy.
I will discuss this in much depth later but allow me to state that pink oyster mushrooms are packed with nutrients and have a low amount of calories.
Oyster mushrooms have long been employed for their therapeutic capabilities, but only recently have they gained recognition for various health advantages and constituents.
How do you grow pink oyster mushrooms?
Pink oyster mushrooms are cultivated in the same means that you will grow other kinds of oyster mushrooms. But of course, there are a specific set of procedures that you must observe to tend to pink oyster mushrooms properly.
The Pink Oyster Mushroom Substrates
Pink oyster mushrooms can be grown on any of the substrates you would use for other oyster mushrooms. This includes paper, cardboard, mulch, soy hulls, straw, or lumber. You may even add other materials such as coffee grounds.
However, straw performs the best and promotes colonization quickly, as many growers testify. It is possible to utilize hardwood sawdust blocks or pellets with other hardwood. However, your pink oyster mushrooms are often thicker and tougher when grown on a wood-based substrate.
The Pink Oyster Mushroom Colonization
Compared to other oyster mushroom kinds, pink oyster mushrooms have a thinner and wispy mycelium. At first, the mycelium will be white. So when you first notice it, there is no need to worry that you bought the wrong strain.
The mycelium will take on a reddish hue towards the end of the colonization phase. For holding all of your straw and spawn, poly tubing works excellently, just like other oyster mushrooms. A different option is to use sizable plastic buckets with holes drilled into the side. The plastic buckets are reusable, which is an excellent way of decreasing your plastic trash.
The Pink Oyster Mushroom Fruiting Process
Pink oysters require fruiting environments with humidity of at least 70% (but I prefer around 85%) and temperatures between 20 and 30 C. (68 to 86 F).
Pink oyster mushrooms produce fruit fast, abundantly, and effortlessly. To fruit them successfully, a variety of techniques can be used. I shared below my tried-and-true advice:
Open the mushroom grow bag and fold the tops over. Afterward, slice across the front of the bag to start the fruiting process. The plastic bag serves as the tree bark, and the slit serves as the fissure in the bark through which the oyster mushrooms would eventually grow. This setup mimics how oyster mushrooms grow in nature.
Put the grow bag in the fruiting chamber of your choice. Make sure your fruiting site is situated so that no portion of the fruiting chamber will block the growth of your mushrooms.
Hint: The location of your mushroom kit matters since it will impact how effectively they develop. The grow bag tends to dry out in drafty environments, such as those adjacent to open windows or doors. Look for a location with enough ambient light that is out of direct sunlight.
Your spray bottle must be set to a fine mist, and spray your fruiting spot from a distance of about 30 cm. It's sufficient to mist your mushrooms two to four times daily.
The Pink Oyster Mushroom Harvest
The ideal time to collect your pink oysters is just when the caps start to curl up. Gathering your pink oyster mushrooms before they begin to spore is crucial.
A number of mushroom growers confirm that of all the mushrooms they have cultivated, pink oyster mushrooms yield the most spores. For this reason, waiting too long to harvest pink oyster mushrooms is unadvisable. One practical reason is that pink spores will cover your grow room, resulting in unnecessary cleanup.
How do you clean and store pink oyster mushrooms?
The fact that pink oyster mushrooms have a shorter shelf life than most other mushrooms is a significant drawback. Pink oysters can occasionally only be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days before going wrong, even under optimal circumstances.
Making the most of your mushrooms requires proper cleaning and storage. Never wash pink oysters before keeping them since doing so will hasten their deterioration.
How do you store pink oyster mushrooms?
Given the fact that pink oyster mushrooms have a short shelf life, the most practical thing to do is to consume them after their harvest. However, if this is not applicable, there are some correct ways of storing them.
Pink oysters that have been refrigerated will last a few days before becoming bad. Instead of hiding the pink oysters inside of the produce drawer, please keep them in the main section of your refrigerator.
Make sure to keep your pink oysters away from anything with a strong aroma, such as onion, garlic, or ginger. They will take in the aromas of the meals around them, changing their taste eventually.
Place your pink oysters inside a paper bag because this helps extends their shelf life. The paper will help keep your mushrooms from becoming soggy because it will absorb some extra moisture.
When you freeze your pink oyster mushrooms, their shelf life can be extended up to a month. It would be best if you break your pink oyster clusters into individual caps prior to placing them inside freezer bags. Newly-harvested mushrooms and those that you have cooked can both be frozen.
All you have to do to prepare frozen mushrooms for consumption is allow them to thaw for around 30 minutes. Note, however, that one drawback of freezing pink oyster mushrooms is that this practice could change their texture.
In this process, your goal is to drain the mushrooms of moisture so their life span will increase. In other words, you will dry the pink oyster mushrooms.
If you dehydrate the mushrooms properly, they are safe to eat for six months. There are a couple of steps to take to dry your harvested pink oysters:
- Use a dehydrator
- Use an oven
- Dry them under the Sun (It is believed that this step gives the mushrooms additional vitamin D!)
In drying the mushrooms, do not be surprised if your produce shrinks in size. This is absolutely normal because water has been drained, which also comprises the mushrooms' overall weight.
When you decide to cook the dried mushrooms and would want to rehydrate them, you can simply soak them in water for a couple of minutes. This step will make your dried mushrooms look like they are fresh.
How do you clean pink oyster mushrooms?
Pink oysters mushrooms grown for commercial purposes do not get that extremely dirty. As a result, they require minimal cleaning. It is preferable to wipe any specks of dirt or substrate off with a mildly damp paper towel or cloth.
If you have a mushroom brush, you can use it. This type of brush is something that you can buy online. It is important to remember that pink oysters are incredibly delicate, and even a simple mushroom brush can do a lot of harm. So, when cleaning them, exercise particular caution.
Water should only be used as a last resort when cleaning pink oysters. The mushrooms act like sponges and suck up water because they are porous.
What are the health benefits of pink oyster mushrooms?
One good reason to cultivate pink oyster mushrooms is they provide several health benefits to consumers. Here is a short list of them for your reference:
Multiple studies examined the biochemistry of the pink mushroom in particular and discovered numerous compounds with proven therapeutic benefits.
For instance, one study particularly examined the antioxidant activity of a mushroom extract and discovered that consuming the mushroom may have associated health advantages. However, these were purely in vitro experiments, not trials of existing therapies on people or animals. (Sasidhara R., Thirunalasundari T. (2014). Phytochemicals and Antioxidant Potentials of Pleurotus djamor. Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research. 6(4): 950-953.)
In a particular study, one species tested for antibiotic efficacy was the pink oyster mushroom. Although it did not possess similar potency to the species in the study, the differences were negligible. From here, it is safe to conclude that the pink oyster extracts work effectively against the bacteria. (Dharmaraj K., Kuberan T., Mahalakshmi R. (2014). Comparison of Nutrient Contents and Antimicrobial Properties of Pleurotus djamor, Agaricus bisporus, and *Gonoderma tsugae. International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences.* 3(6); 518-526.)
Immune system support
An extract of the pink oyster mushroom was found to considerably improve a particular element of immunological function in a trial involving groups of rats[viii]. Oddly, the rats were not sick; instead, the goal was to test the animals' immune system with a chemical intended to provoke an immunological response but unable to cause illness. (Raaman N., Jegadeesh R., Hariprasath L., Kumaresan K., Srikumar R., Ayyappan S. R. (2011). Effect of Pleurotus djamor var. roseus, an Edible Mushroom on Neutrophil Functions Journal of Food and Agricultural Immunology. 22(3).)
How do you cook pink oyster mushrooms?
As already mentioned above, pink oyster mushrooms have a similar taste to bacon. So, you would have a lot of options to prepare them in your kitchen.
If you are on a vegetarian diet yet have cravings for meat, then you can prepare pink oyster mushrooms as an alternative to bacon chips. Chop the mushrooms into small pieces, then add olive oil to your preheated frying pan. When the pan is ready, cook the chopped pink oysters and for a few minutes, enjoy these "bacon-flavored" mushrooms.
Sauteed pink oyster mushrooms also work well to improve the taste of your favorite pasta recipes. Some even add these oyster mushrooms to their pizzas to introduce a meaty taste without actually adding meat!