Frequently Asked Questions

Put those mushroom mysteries to rest as we share answers to your most frequently asked mushroom questions.

Simply put, a mushroom is an edible fungus. Although they may look like plants, mushrooms are actually fungi with “plant-like” features. They contain caps, the “flowers” of the mushroom that produce and scatter spores, stems that connect the cap to the ground, and mycelium, the underground root-like system of fungus that feeds the mushroom.

Mushrooms are a nutrient-dense powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that play a positive role in supporting a healthy lifestyle! They’re low in fat and carbohydrates, have no cholesterol or sodium, and are a source of vitamins D, B2 and B3, copper, selenium, and zinc that offer up vital nutrients to keep you healthy.

Prior to use, wipe mushrooms with a damp cloth or rinse in cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Don’t wash mushrooms until you’re ready to use them, as they may discolour.

Canada is home to eight kinds of mushrooms. White, crimini, portabella, shiitake, oyster, king oyster, enoki, and maitake are all grown and harvested on Canadian mushroom farms.

Canadian mushroom growers, of course! Over 100 farms in Canada produce 153,321 tons (over 300 million lbs) of mushrooms annually! Ontario produces the most at 52%, followed by British Columbia at 39%, and 8% from the remaining provinces.

They sure are! Since mushrooms can be grown indoors, they are harvested and delivered fresh to local stores every day of the year!

These specks are harmless particles of pasteurized peat moss that sometimes stick to mushrooms. Prior to eating, wipe mushrooms with a damp cloth or rinse in cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

Not really! The art of mushroom growing is quite meticulous and rooted in science. Farmers need to manage multiple variables including substrate optimization, growing room humidity and temperature, and a constant analysis and harvesting schedule to ensure a successful mushroom crop. Although production may seem simple, Canadian mushroom growers are skilled in their trade and provide us with the highest quality mushrooms available.

Mushroom growers offer a valuable service to livestock, poultry, and cash crop farmers by transforming their agricultural by-products into mushroom substrate – a nutrient-rich growing medium for mushrooms. Because the needs of mushrooms are green plants are very different, after the mushroom growing cycle is complete, the farmer is left with spent mushroom substrate – a soil-like material that is full of nutrients beneficial for other crops. Spent mushroom substrate is then recycled and offered to cash crop farmers for their fields or is sold by nurseries as a soil conditioner for the average gardener. It’s a beautiful life cycle if you ask us!

Coined the “fifth taste,” umami is a Japanese word meaning savoury or delicious. It extends the finish of foods, making them linger on the palate longer. Mushrooms are full of umami, which is why they’re delicious on burgers, steaks, and in pasta, salads and pretty much any dish. Remember a time you took a bite of sautéed mushrooms and it exploded with flavour? Your mouth tingled as you began to enjoy the food, making you say, “Mmmmm.” That’s umami!

Yes, a few specialty mushrooms are imported into Canada. Most of the fresh mushrooms in Canadian stores are grown in Canada. In fact, Canada exports far more fresh mushrooms than are imported.

We advise NOT to consume wild mushrooms unless you are an expert in mushroom identification or are advised by an expert. Wild mushrooms can be dangerous and cause a multitude of severe symptoms and illnesses. Mushrooms Canada takes no responsibility for the picking and consumption of wild mushrooms. As an alternative, farm-grown mushrooms are always safe to eat and readily available at most grocery stores and farmers’ markets throughout the country.