If you’ve ever been curious about pink oyster mushrooms, then you’re in luck! This blog post is designed to provide you with all the information you need to know about this unique and delicious fungi. We’ll cover where they come from, how they grow, their nutritional benefits, and more. So if you’ve ever wanted to learn more about pink oyster mushrooms, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to discover everything you need to know about pink oyster mushrooms!
What Do Pink Oyster Mushrooms Look Like?
The pink oyster mushroom shares the same fan-shaped cap structure as other oyster mushrooms, typically ranging from 2 to 5 centimeters (0.79 to 1.97 inches) in diameter. These small to medium-sized mushrooms tend to grow in large clusters.
What distinguishes the pink oyster mushroom is its vibrant pink color, which covers both the cap and gills. Their stunning appearance makes them a sought-after item at farmer's markets and for chefs.
While young pink oyster mushrooms exhibit the most vibrant coloration, they gradually fade to a creamy pink as they age. It's worth noting that the mycelium of these mushrooms starts off white but matures to a pink hue.
It's important to inform buyers upfront that the pink hue of these mushrooms will largely disappear once cooked, leaving them with a cream or brown color. This avoids any confusion or disappointment when purchasing them, whether selling to restaurants or directly to consumers.
How Do Pink Oyster Mushrooms Taste?
When consumed raw, Pink oyster mushrooms have a bitter taste, which can be eliminated by cooking them thoroughly. Once cooked, they possess a mild flavor similar to most oyster mushrooms, but with a richer and deeper taste than button mushrooms.
Some individuals have claimed that the pink oyster mushroom has a slight seafood flavor. Additionally, cooking them until they're brown and slightly crunchy makes them an excellent vegetarian substitute for bacon.
The texture of pink oysters can vary from delicate and thin to meaty and thick, depending on their growing conditions. While they are generally chewier than other types of oyster mushrooms and may even seem woody and tough at times, this quality can be useful in certain recipes, particularly soups or stir-frys, where the mushrooms should retain their shape instead of becoming mushy.
Pink Oyster Mushrooms: Where and When Do They Grow?
Pink oyster mushrooms thrive in warm temperatures and prefer to grow in tropical climates with high humidity. They are typically found growing on tropical hardwood trees in locations such as Mexico and Indonesia.
Unfortunately, pink oysters do not grow naturally in colder climates like North America and much of Europe. Thus, encountering them in the wild is highly unlikely unless one lives in a tropical or exceptionally warm environment.
In the tropics, pink oysters grow primarily during the warmer months, typically from April to September. The heat tolerance of pink oysters makes them easy to cultivate during the middle of summer, and many growers alternate between cultivating blue oysters during colder months and pink oysters during the summer.
One advantage of growing pink oysters is that they do not require as much fresh air as blue oysters, which can be challenging to grow due to the need for proper ventilation and adequate airflow.
How To Start Growing Pink Oyster Mushrooms
Rather than repeating the general information about growing oyster mushrooms, let’s focus on the specific differences for growing pink oyster mushrooms.
Substrate for Pink Oyster Mushrooms
Pink oyster mushrooms can be grown on the same substrates as other oyster mushrooms such as cardboard, coffee grounds, mulch, soy hulls, straw or hardwood.
However, based on experience, straw is the best substrate for pink oysters and provides the fastest colonization. Hardwood pellets or supplemented hardwood sawdust blocks can also be used, but they may produce thicker and tougher pink oyster mushrooms.
Colonizing Pink Oyster Mushrooms
Pink oyster mushrooms have a thinner and more wispy mycelium than other oyster mushroom varieties. The mycelium initially appears white, but it will eventually turn pinkish towards the end of the colonization phase.
Poly tubing is a great option for holding the straw and spawn. Alternatively, large plastic buckets with holes drilled in the side can be used to minimize plastic waste.
Fruiting Pink Oyster Mushrooms
Pink oyster mushrooms thrive in high humidity levels of at least 70% (at GroCycle, they prefer around 85%) and a temperature range of 20 to 30 C (68 to 86 F). They are the fastest-growing oyster mushroom variety, and the mycelium often starts pinning before fully colonizing the substrate, sometimes as early as day 9.
With 5 lbs (2.27 kg) of straw and spawn, at least 1 lb (0.45 kg) of fresh pink oyster mushrooms can be harvested.
Harvesting Pink Oyster Mushrooms
Pink oyster mushrooms should be harvested when the caps begin to curl up and before they start dropping spores. Pink oyster mushrooms produce the largest amount of spores of any oyster mushroom variety.
To get future flushes from the bags, clusters of pink oysters should be cut off with a sharp knife instead of twisting them off, which could damage the mycelium and lead to contamination.
Pink oyster mushrooms can produce a second or third flush, and they are one of the easiest varieties to do so.
Time to Grow Pink Oyster Mushrooms
Pink oyster mushrooms grow quickly and can start producing fruit in as little as 3 weeks. The spawn can colonize grow bags and start to pin in 9 to 14 days. Once placed in fruiting conditions, the first flush can be harvested in under a week, with the fruiting phase lasting up to 12 days. A second flush can be expected after another 7 days or so.
How To Properly Clean and Store Your Pink Oyster Mushrooms
Pink oyster mushrooms have a shorter shelf life compared to other mushrooms, lasting only a couple of days in the fridge even in ideal conditions.
Proper storage and cleaning are essential for maximizing their lifespan. Avoid washing them before storing as it can cause them to spoil even faster.
To store pink oysters, refrigerate them in a paper bag in the main compartment of the fridge, away from strong-smelling foods. They can also be frozen for up to a month, separated into individual caps and sealed in a plastic freezer bag. For long-term storage, properly dehydrated pink oysters can last up to 6 months.
Cleaning pink oyster mushrooms is easy, requiring only a slight wipe with a damp paper towel or cloth to remove dirt or substrate. A mushroom brush can also be used, but they are fragile and require extra care. Avoid using water as they are porous and soak up water easily, making it difficult to crisp when cooking. Check for mold or discoloration and cut off any affected parts.
Health Benefits of Pink Oyster Mushrooms
Not only do pink oyster mushrooms boast a delicious taste, but they're also packed with nutrients while being low in calories.
These mushrooms are rich in protein and fiber, and contain minimal amounts of sugar and carbs. In addition, research has shown that they possess antibiotic and antibacterial properties.
Furthermore, consuming pink oyster mushrooms provides the same health advantages as other oyster mushroom varieties, including lowered cholesterol, antioxidant content, and high levels of iron, zinc, potassium, and selenium. They are also an excellent source of vitamins B1, B3, B5, and B12, making them a great alternative to meat.
Mushrooms Pink Oyster Are Commonly Confused With
Pink mushrooms are rare in nature, but identifying pink oyster mushrooms is relatively easy due to their distinctive appearance.
Pink oysters only grow in tropical regions and are unlikely to be found in temperate areas of North America or Europe.
The pink domecap is a similar mushroom that may be found in the same areas, but it has a toadstool shape and grows in grass.
The ghost fungus, found in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and India, has funnel-shaped caps that may resemble oysters, but they are white or cream-colored, not pink.
How To Cook Your Pink Oyster Mushroom
Pink oyster mushrooms can be used as a substitute for regular oyster mushrooms in any recipe. Here are a few favorite recipes to try:
Pink Oyster Mushroom “Bacon” Recipe
This recipe is surprisingly similar in taste to bacon and easy to make.
Pink oyster mushrooms
Olive oil, butter or other frying substitute
Heat a frying pan and add a good amount of olive oil or butter. For non-vegetarians, fry in leftover bacon fat or pork lard to enhance the bacon flavor.
Fry pink oysters over medium heat, turning occasionally.
Once they start to get crispy and brown, let them fry until they look and feel like mushroom chips.
Once crispy, add salt or any optional spices of your preference.
Serve hot or cold
Tear the mushrooms into small pieces before cooking to make smaller "bacon bits" for salads.
Penne With Pink Oyster Mushrooms Recipe
200 grams (7 oz) penne pasta
250 grams (8.8 oz) pink oyster mushrooms
½ cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
2 cups whole milk
2 tbsp flour
½ cup parmesan cheese
¼ cup white wine
6 tbsp olive oil
Cook the pasta following instructions on the package.
Heat olive oil in a skillet, add mushrooms, and saute for about 5 minutes or until brown.
Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add onion, garlic, and flour to the pan. Stir for 5 to 10 minutes until soft.
Mix in white wine and milk. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Mix in parmesan cheese, pasta, and mushrooms to the sauce and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Garnish with lemon zest and serve.
If you want to cultivate oyster mushrooms at home, pink oyster mushrooms are an excellent choice, particularly during summertime. They can even be grown year-round in tropical climates.
In comparison to other oyster mushroom types, pink oyster mushrooms grow and produce several flushes faster.
Pink oyster mushrooms have a shorter shelf life than other oyster varieties, so it is best to harvest them yourself and use them within two days.
Their bright pink color makes them stand out and can be an advantage when selling to chefs or customers. However, it's crucial to note that their color will fade once cooked.