Foodie Friday: Wood Ear Fungus

Wood ear fungus: a twisty-shaped mushroom

wood ear

Upon first hearing the words, “wood ear,” it sounds kinda gross. Actually, this mushroom is a delicacy. It has a heavy-sounding description, but the fungus really looks lacy and light. Although bland in flavor, it provides a chewy texture to add complexity to dishes. The mushroom grows on dead and live wood, particularly on elder trees. Here are three interesting facts about wood ear mushrooms:

  • Imported from Australia to China in the 19th century
  • Used in hot and sour soup
  • Boosts immune system and is prescribed for colds and fevers

Are you a fungi fan?


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  1. Yeah I admit the title grossed me out but it sounds great. I love mushrooms. I especially love using portabello mushrooms as a “bun” for a veggie burger.

    • Jennifer J. Chow says

      Yep, weird title. Some people say “cloud mushrooms,” so that sounds better.

      I just bought some baby bella mushrooms from the store–yummy!

  2. Veronica Roth says

    You know, last Sunday at the farmer’s market, there was a farmer selling all sorts of mushrooms/fungi and a distillation which he claimed had medicinal properties. Maybe I should look more into it? But I love all sorts of fungi, and, I’m on of those mid-Europeans who know what to collect in the autumn and do. Nothing beats fresh wild mushrooms. :D

    • Jennifer J. Chow says

      Interestingly enough, we have this mushroom guy at our farmers’ market, and people rave about his wild truffles. I’m one of those girls that are horrible at discerning things that grow in the natural world and stay away from all plant life (unless I have a knowledgeable friend) while hiking.

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