Pleurotus populinus, an oyster mushroom sometimes known as the aspen oyster, is a delicious mushroom that appears in Southern Ontario in late May or early June. All the rain we’ve had in the last couple days was likely a trigger for the appearance of these mushrooms so the dogs and I piled into the station wagon this morning and headed for the Enchanted Mushroom Forest.
Sometimes you’ll find them on fallen trees but other times they grow high in the trees, out of reach. I confess I’ve used long dead saplings found on the forest floor to knock choice oysters from high perches.
Oyster mushrooms tend to be quite clean, sitting up in trees and all, but watch for tiny black beetles that sometimes take up residence in their short stems and hide between the gills. I carefully inspect each mushroom when I get home.
Oysters are mild mushrooms with a delicate texture. They’re very nice in stir fries, or in omelets, or try them fried up in butter served up on toast. They dry up well too, which is a good thing because oyster mushrooms are a feast or famine kind of mushroom. When you find them, you usually find plenty. I’m drying a batch in an inexpensive hardware store dehyrdator now.