P. eryngii is the largest species in the oyster mushroom genus, Pleurotus, which also contains the oyster mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus.
It has a thick, meaty white stem and a small tan cap (in young specimens).
Its natural range extends from the Atlantic Ocean through the Mediterranean Basin and Central Europe into Western Asia and India. Unlike other species of Pleurotus, which are wood-decay fungi, the P. eryngii complex are weak parasites on the roots of herbaceous plants, although they may also be cultured on organic wastes.
The mushroom has a good shelf life. An effective cultivation method was introduced to Japan around 1993 and has become popular there in a variety of dishes, and is now cultivated and sold commercially in Australia. Imported product is also commercially available in Australia and South Africa.
It is also cultivated in China, South Korea, Italy, and the United States. It has little flavor or aroma when raw. When cooked, it develops typical mushroom umami flavors with a texture similar to that of abalone. Pleurotus eryngii may naturally contain chemicals that stimulate the immune system.
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