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Nameko mushrooms are orange, round and gilled; they are roughly one to one and a half inches in diameter. The mushrooms grow in small clusters and have a natural gelatin that coats the coppery tops. Light yellow or white gills line the underbelly of the cap. The cap of the Nameko mushroom can open and flare out as the mushroom matures. These Japanese mushrooms have a mellow earthy flavor with hints of cashew.
Nameko mushrooms are available year-round.
Nameko mushrooms, scientifically known as Pholiota nameko, are one of the most popular mushrooms in Japan falling just behind Shiitake mushrooms. They are cultivated and sold commercially, and are a staple in miso soups in Asia.
Nameko mushrooms are a good source of vitamins including thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, and minerals including calcium, potassium and sodium.
The somewhat slimy texture of the Nameko mushrooms is what makes it so popular among the Japanese. Known as Namerako in Japanese, it literally translates to “slimy mushroom”. The glutinous covering on the caps acts as a natural thickener and has been used in miso soup in Japan for centuries; it is unnoticeable after cooking. Mix with wild mushrooms and top pastas or pizzas. Nameko mushrooms are a nice compliment to dark green vegetables, red meats, and shallot. In Japan, Nameko mushrooms are rolled into sushi. Nameko mushrooms can be stored in the refrigerator, wrapped in a paper towel, for a few days.
In Asia, Nameko mushrooms are known for their medicinal properties. They are thought to increase resistance to staff infections.
Nameko mushrooms have been growing in the hardwood oak and beech forests of Asia for centuries. Also known as Forest Namekos for their flavor and growing environment, they are sometimes referred to as ‘butterscotch mushrooms’ in the US. The mushroom is cultivated in Southern California and can be found organically grown.
Recipes that include Nameko Mushrooms. One is easiest, three is harder.