The Fungus Files: KIKURAGE

One of our favorite things about the Autumn season is the opportunity to really dive into recipes featuring root veggies and lots of fungus! We are huge fans of the mushroom, both for it’s nutritional benefits and its tastes. Our favorite varieties include kikurage (wood ear), Tremella (snow), Maitake (oyster), Eryngii (king oyster), shiitake, and reishi.

KIKURAGE: Wood ear mushrooms get their name from their obvious appearance: they grow on wood and are shaped like ears. They’re full of B vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. You’ll commonly see them as a ramen topping… sliced to look like a shredded garnish. While you can obtain them fresh, it’s more common to find wood ear mushrooms in dried form. In order to eat dried mushrooms, just re-hydrate them before cooking them or integrating them into a cold dish.

NUTRITIONAL BREAKDOWN: 100 GRAMS (percentage is Daily Value)

  • 7% B1 (thiamin)
  • 16% B2 (riboflavin)
  • 40% B5
  • 6% B6
  • 5% B9 (folate)
  • 32% Copper
  • 5% Iron
  • 8% Magnesium
  • 16% Selenium
  • 6% Zinc

Wood ear mushrooms are also a good source of dietary soluble fiber and omega fatty acids. They are also considered anit-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-parasitic. They have been used to reduce inflammation and ease symptoms associated with cardiac health, diabetes and tumor growth.

Cooking with wood ear mushrooms is a matter of preference. They have a light, crunchy (almost squeaky) texture, and will absorb the flavor of whatever spice is included in the dish. They work well with thin pastas, ramen, soups, and as a topping for sandwiches and mixed in salads. They shine in lightly seasoned and flavored dishes, and work well with chili, cilantro, vinegar and soy.

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