Thanks to their increasing popularity and widespread use, oyster mushrooms that are grown in tufts or clusters are available in most organic grocery stores and supermarkets. As with other popular edible mushrooms, there are many different ways to prepare them, and they can also be eaten raw. However, it is best to cook them before eating if they have been collected growing wild in the forest. This serves to prevent any possible pathogens.
From Wikipedia: “Pleurotus ostreatus, the oyster mushroom, is a common edible mushroom. It was first cultivated in Germany as a subsistence measure during World War I and is now grown commercially around the world for food. It is related to the similarly cultivated king oyster mushroom. Oyster mushrooms can also be used industrially for mycoremediation purposes.
The oyster mushroom is one of the more commonly sought wild mushrooms, though it can also be cultivated on straw and other media. It has the bittersweet aroma of benzaldehyde (which is also characteristic of bitter almonds).”
“The mushroom has a broad, fan or oyster-shaped cap spanning 5–25 cm; natural specimens range from white to gray or tan to dark-brown; the margin is inrolled when young, and is smooth and often somewhat lobed or wavy. The flesh is white, firm, and varies in thickness due to stipe arrangement. The gills of the mushroom are white to cream, and descend on the stalk if present. If so, the stipe is off-center with a lateral attachment to wood. The spore print of the mushroom is white to lilac-gray, and best viewed on dark background. The mushroom's stipe is often absent. When present, it is short and thick.
Omphalotus nidiformis is a toxic lookalike found in Australia and Japan. In North America, Omphalotus olivascens, the western jack-o'-lantern mushroom and Clitocybe dealbata, the ivory funnel mushroom, both bear a resemblance to Pleurotus ostreatus. Both Omphalotus olivascens and Clitocybe dealbata contain muscarine and are toxic.”
“The oyster mushroom is frequently used in Japanese, Korean and Chinese cookery as a delicacy. It is frequently served on its own, in soups, stuffed, or in stir-fry recipes with soy sauce. Oyster mushrooms are sometimes made into a sauce, used in Asian cooking, which is similar to oyster sauce. The mushroom's taste has been described as mild with a slight odor similar to anise. The oyster mushroom is best when picked young; as the mushroom ages, the flesh becomes tough and the flavor becomes acrid and unpleasant.
Oyster mushrooms are widely cultivated and used in Kerala, India where a wide variety of dishes are prepared from them. Oyster mushrooms are mainly cultivated in large clear polyethylene bags with buns of hay layered in the bags, and spawn sown between the layers.
Oyster mushrooms are also used in the Czech and Slovak contemporary cuisine in soups and stews in a similar fashion to meat.
Oyster mushrooms contain small amounts of arabitol, a sugar alcohol, which may cause gastrointestinal upset in some people.”
“One manufacturer has proposed using the mycelium along with the growing substrate as a substitute for petroleum derived expanded polystyrene packing material or as an insulating material. Researchers in Mexico have shown that oyster mushrooms can break down disposable diapers.
One preliminary study showed that consumption of oyster mushroom extracts lowered cholesterol levels, an effect linked to their content of beta-glucans.
Oyster mushrooms produce the cholesterol lowering drug lovastatin.”