Mushrooms are an extremely large family of fungi that include edible and non-edible varieties, large and small varieties, colorful and pale species and many others. While most of us are familiar with the most common mushrooms types, such as with champignons and oyster mushroom, there are some mushroom varieties that are very rare and stand out with some special features – A business that offers mushroom spores for sale says that these rare and interesting varieties that also derive their value from the fact that they are either very difficult or impossible to cultivate, being almost exclusively found in wild environments.
Whether we are speaking of black truffles that come from Europe or white varieties from the US, truffles are currently among the rarest, most special and most expensive mushroom varieties known today. What makes them so special is the difficulty of finding them – unlike other mushroom varieties, truffles do not grow on the surface of the substrate, but underground, with no apparent sign of their presence on the soil surface. Being invisible, truffles need special qualities to find, that is why truffle harvesters use dogs or pigs to sniff out and to dig out their truffles.
Though known and appreciated all over the world, Porcini mushrooms are used in many recipes that can benefit from the special, pleasant flavor and from the large size of the cap.
The Japanese mushroom variety is highly sought for and appreciated for its spicy, strong flavor. The variety is not cultivated, its most abundant habitats being in East and Southeast Asia as well as in Europe, most notably in Finland, Estonia, Norway and Poland. Matsutake mushrooms are notoriously expensive due not only to the impossibility of cultivation, but also to the difficulty of finding them, their preferred homes being in the areas under trees that are covered in thick vegetation.
The world’s most expensive and probably the rarest mushroom species comes from Asia. Yartsa Gunbu is known for thousands of years for its medicinal benefits, used especially as an aphrodisiac. The mushroom is also known as the caterpillar fungus for a very peculiar feature: the fungus lives underground and it lives by infecting the body of a special type of caterpillar. The fungus first infests its host, then kills it and grows out of it. The special features of the mushroom, combined with the difficulty of finding it accounts for its exorbitant price (the standard price for a single ounce can reach a few thousand dollars) and has made it a status symbol not only in Asia, but in Europe and in America as well.
Another wonderful, tasty and attractive mushroom variety, chanterelles used to be found only wild, but nowadays they are successfully cultivated as well. However, cultivation is difficult and yields are small, therefore chanterelles are still pricey. Many mushroom enthusiasts still consider them delicacies worth saving up for – their beautiful, golden-yellow color, their frilly, trumpet-like caps, their unmistakable, mild, yet dominant taste account for that popularity.