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Golden Ear Mushrooms
Inventory, 5 lbs : 0
This item was last sold on : 05/20/17
Fresh Golden Ear mushrooms stand out in the forest compared to the usually more muted colors typical of mushrooms. They look more like a small brain then they do a mushroom. The bright orange or yellow hued fungus is stemless and is composed of clusters of wrinkled and folded lobes and measures about 5 to 10 centimeters across. Fresh Golden Ear mushrooms have a wet look and a gelatinous or opaque appearance. When dried, they take on a golden matte finish and can be brittle. This mushroom species has a symbiotic relationship with two other types of types of wood fungus, meaning it grows on top of the other species, sometimes completely enveloping it. Once fully developed, there is little to no trace of the host mushroom. When cut, the Golden Ear mushroom resembles orange cauliflower florets. The taste of Golden Ear mushrooms is not distinct. They have a slightly rubbery texture similar to other jelly mushroom varieties.
Golden Ear mushrooms are available year-round with a peak season in the fall months.
Golden Ear mushrooms are a type of jelly fungi and can be one of two identified species, Tremella aurantia or Tremella mesenterica. The two can only be distinguished microscopically, so the common name is used for both. The two species are among only a few varieties that have a symbiotic relationship with another fungus, just like lobster mushrooms. The two can be found growing on the curtain crust mushrooms, Stereum hirsutum and some Peniophora species. The species name Tremella refers to the wobbly, jelly-like appearance of the mushroom. It is sometimes called Witch's Butter, Yellow Ear or Yellow Brain fungus.
Golden Ear mushrooms are a good source of carbohydrates, potassium, iron and calcium. It is also a source of the trace elements, among which is manganese, a beneficial antioxidant and has a role in the production of collagen.
Golden Ear mushrooms must be cooked before they are eaten. Most often, the orange mushroom is added to soups and stews for added nutrition. It can also be sauteed along with other mushrooms, leafy greens and onions. Store fresh Golden Ear mushrooms for up to a week in a brown bag in the refrigerator. Dried Golden Ear mushrooms will store for up to three months in an airtight container.
Golden Ear mushrooms are one of 850 varieties of fungus that can be found in the rich climate of China’s southwestern Yunnan province. There, Golden Ear mushrooms have been used for culinary and medicinal purposes for centuries. In traditional Chinese medicine, the Golden Ear mushroom is used to increase metabolism, detoxify and promote healthy liver function and help lower cholesterol. In Europe, the jelly-like fungus earned the name “Witch’s butter”. Ancient folklore says that if Witch’s Butter fungus appears at your gate or front door, a witch has put a spell on a member of the family. The mushroom must be pierced to remove the curse.
Golden Ear mushrooms can be found growing wild in China’s Yunnan province in the southwestern part of the country that lies just north of Myanmar and Laos. Golden Ear mushrooms are predominantly found along the Jinsha River Basin, and are still largely consumed there. They can also be found throughout North America and in the countries of western Europe, from Norway to Portugal. They were first identified and named by American mycologist Lewis David von Shweinitz in 1822. Tremella aurantia can be found on conifer wood, whereas Tremella mesenterica can be found growing on dead or decayed oak and some other hardwoods. Because of the symbiotic nature of Golden Ear mushrooms, they are difficult to cultivate. The fungus is often confused with yet another species, Dacrymyces palmatus, which can only be differentiated through microscopic tests. Golden Ear mushrooms for consumption are primarily found in China and exported around the world.