Red Chinese Mulberries
The Red Chinese mulberry tree is a broad, spreading bush or small tree dotted with small thorns. Like its mulberry relatives, the fruits are technically not a berries but rather aggregates of tiny fleshy drupes clustered around a single stem
Monterrey pears are a large variety from northern Mexico, botanically a cultivar of Pyrus pyrifolia. The Asian pear hybrid was selected from the tree of a popular southern Texas variety. Monterrey pears are a cross of European pear and a Japanese pear.
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Agitake mushrooms are medium to light brown with a thick broad cap of long tan gills on its underside. Attached to the cap is a bright white truncated stem. There is also a variety of Agitake mushroom that has a white cap and white stem. When cooked, the Agitake mushroom becomes crisp, velvety and buttery in flavor. It is a meaty and tasty mushroom that is rich in umami (savory, meaty) flavor similar to that of Shitake mushrooms.
Agitake mushrooms are available on a very limited basis.
The Agitake mushroom is a variant species of King Oyster mushrooms. Its scientific name is Pleurotus jp takizawa or Pleurotus eryngii var. ferulae, and it is a member of the Pleurotaceae family.
The Agitake mushroom is considered to be an excellent health food. It is rich in beta-glucans that can help prevent certain types of cancer. It contains niacin, ergosterol, vitamin B1, calcium, potassium, iron and phosphorus. In addition, it can help lower blood glucose levels which can be effective for people who suffer from diabetes.
Agitake mushrooms pair well with seafood and white meats. Their meaty texture lends well to steaming, grilling, sautéing and frying. They are often used in Takikomi gohan or Tsukudani in Japan. To store keep them in a paper bag in the refrigerator and use within a few days.
The Agitake mushrooms pictured above were found at the Tsukiji Market near Chuo, in Tokyo, Japan.
Agitake mushrooms are a grassland type saprophyte that prefer subtropical climates. They grow wild in grassland areas of Southern Europe, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, France, North Africa, Central Asia, South Russia and North America. They first made their appearance on the Japanese market in 2008 via Yamanaka, a professor at Kyoto University and a mushroom grower. They chose a variety from China that is only cultivated in a controlled environment and made use of Enoki cultivation facilities to produce the mushroom. The production of Agitake mushrooms has been limited in Japan since they are difficult to produce. They are harvested mainly in Nagano prefecture and Iwate prefecture.