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Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms are one of the most popular types of mushrooms in the world. They are prized for their earthy and smoky taste. It’s very popular in many Asian dishes as it is rich in umami taste which draws out the other flavors of the dish. Shiitake mushrooms are also becoming extremely popular as it is very affordable and it has a lot of health benefits thanks to its high levels of antioxidants. They are also very popular as a meat substitute for vegans and vegetarians thanks to its really “meaty” taste.

Shiitake Mushroom Trivia

  • While many people are skeptical about medicinal claims of shiitake mushrooms, they’re still one of the tastiest medicinal vegetables (or fungi, whichever term you prefer) out there. Taking supplements have never been tastier.
  • Shiitake mushrooms have been around for thousands (even millions) of years, but it was only 600 years ago that they were started to be cultivated in China.
  • Shiitake mushrooms are frequently dried for longer shelf life and to develop a deeper, more intense flavor.
  • Many chefs prefer to use dried shiitake mushrooms as the drying process draws out the umami flavor of the shiitake, making it a natural taste enhancer to any dish it is added to.
  • There is an allergic reaction called shiitake dermatitis, it’s a toxic reaction that looks like scratches. This comes from the consumption of raw or undercooked shiitake mushrooms.

Shiitake Mushroom Buying Guide

For shiitake mushrooms, the rule of thumb is, the bigger, the better. But here are some tips on how to buy the best shiitakes if you’re in the market for them.

  • Fresh shiitake mushrooms
    • Look for thick domed caps that slightly curls under itself. There should be a light bloom or some pale spots.
    • Avoid shiitake mushrooms that look and feel wet, these are signs of spoilage.
    • Avoid fresh shiitake mushrooms that are starting to look shriveled.
  • Dried shiitake mushrooms
    • If possible, purchase your dried shiitake mushrooms from places that allow you to select them by piece and not by the pack.
    • Don’t buy pre-sliced dried mushrooms. While these might look to be super convenient, try and avoid them as these are usually made from lower quality shiitakes.
    • The highest quality dried mushrooms have a flower pattern on the cap. This comes from the top of the mushroom naturally splitting while it was still fresh.
    • Just like fresh shiitakes, look for dried shiitake mushrooms that have thick and meaty caps.
    • Carefully inspect the mushrooms for any sign of mold.

For a milder mushroom dish, fresh shiitake mushrooms are your best choice. If you want the shiitake mushroom to be the star of the dish, try going for high quality dried mushrooms with the flower patterns on top.

Shiitake Mushroom Production & Farming in Texas

Texas shiitake mushrooms are some of the best in the country. Many of the locally produced shiitake mushrooms follow standard organic practices and are the shiitake mushrooms of choice by many chefs in and outside of the state.

Freshly picked shiitake mushrooms can also be found in many of the supermarkets, specialty stores, and farmers’ markets around the state.

Check out our directory for local mushroom producers and you should be able to find one that supplies fresh shiitake mushrooms in your area. Even if they do not list it as a product, try giving them a call and asking, you’ll never know if the listing is just outdated or they haven’t gotten around to updating their website as most mushroom growers will grow many varieties of mushrooms in their facilities.

Packaging:

Fresh commercial shiitake mushrooms are usually packed in plastic trays with a breathable cling wrapping. They can also be packed in plastic or cardboard clamshells.

Enjoying Shiitake Mushrooms

Of all the commercially available fresh mushrooms, shiitakes are some of the most savory and flavorful. There is always a debate on whether fresh or dried shiitakes are better, but for us, it’s all about the cooking method. For fresh shiitake mushrooms, the best cooking methods would be the shorter styles like sautéing, stir-frying, and roasting. For other applications like stewing and for soups that can use the punch of mushrooms, then dried shiitakes are the best for these.

Storage:

To store shiitake mushrooms, place them in a brown paper bag in the fridge. They should last for three to five days in good storage conditions. Avoid storing them near food with strong odors as the mushrooms will absorb them like a sponge.

Do not stack things on top of the mushrooms as they bruise very easily. Not only are bruised shiitakes unattractive to look at, but they spoil much faster.

If you decide to freeze shiitake mushrooms, freeze them immediately. Don’t wait until the last moment to transfer them to the freezer as spoilage may have already started.

Fresh Shiitake Mushroom Stir-fry:

If you’re in the mood for something fast, try this quick recipe that’s better than most Chinese takeout!

Ingredients:

Shiitake Mushrooms, 8 large pieces
Oil for stir-frying, ½ tablespoon
Salt and pepper to taste
Oyster Sauce, 2 tablespoons

Step 1:

Wipe the shiitakes clean with a damp paper towel. Separate the tops from the stems. Slice the stems lengthwise and the cap into strips around a centimeter thick.

Step 2:

Heat a wok or a pan until smoking hot. Add the oil and swirl around until it starts smoking up.

Step 3:

Add the mushrooms and spread out in a single layer until it’s browned on one side. Toss the mushrooms to cook the other side.

Step 4:

Just before the mushrooms are fully cooked, turn off the heat and add the oyster sauce and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over steaming hot white rice and enjoy!

Nutrition

DV%

  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 78.3 4%
  • Carbs: 20g 7%
  • Sugar: 5.2g
  • Fiber: 3g 12%
  • Protein: 2.3g 5%
  • Fat: 0.3g 0%
  • Saturated Fat: 0.1g 0%
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 348mg 14%
  • Vitamin C 0.4mg 1%
  • Vitamin A 0IU 0%
  • Calcium 4.4mg 0%
  • Iron 0.6mg 4%
  • Potassium 170mg 5%
  • Vitamin B6 0.2mg 12%
  • Folate 30.5mcg 8%
  • Magnesium 20.3mg 5%
  • Phosphorus 42mg 4%
  • Manganese 0.3mg 15%
  • Copper 1.3mg 65%
  • Zinc 1.9mg 13%

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