Tanba Shimeji Mushrooms
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Tanba Shimeji mushrooms are edible mushrooms usually found growing in dense clusters in forested areas. Each mushroom bears a white stem that grows to around 10cm in length and 2cm in thickness. Tanba Shimeji mushrooms have dome-shaped, convex caps that range from 4 centimeters to 10 centimeters in width. The brown skin of the cap tends to be wet, but not slimy. The cap is dark brown when young, but lightens in colour as it grows in size. The flesh of the Tanba Shimeji mushroom is white, firm, and mild-tasting, with hints of radish notes. Raw shimeji mushrooms in general have a bitter taste, but develop a nutty flavor upon cooking.
Wild Tanba Shimeji mushrooms are available in the late autumn while greenhouse-grown Tanba Shimeji mushrooms are available year-round.
Tanba Shimeji mushrooms are botanically classified as Lyophyllum descartes, and are also known as Hatake Shimeji mushrooms. They are found in the wild in Japan and northern Europe on arable land, in deciduous and coniferous forests, and alongside roads and grasslands. The Tanba Shimeji mushroom, however, refers specifically to those growing in Japan’s Tanba province, a valley located to the north-west of Tokyo.
Tanba Shimeji mushrooms contain potassium and are a good source of vitamins B and D. They are low in calories and fat, and may have anti-tumor properties as they are rich in polysaccharides.
Tanba Shimeji mushrooms are a versatile ingredient that can be used in soups, stews, sauces and stir-fries. They hold up well to deep frying, and may be used in tempura dishes. A common application is to stir-fry them with soy sauce and butter. It is not recommended that they be eaten raw, as they have a slightly bitter taste and are said to be difficult to digest when uncooked. To prepare Tanba Shimeji mushrooms for use, cut off the body ends and lightly rinsed, but be careful not to soak. Tanba Shimeji mushrooms are best stored in the refrigerator, where they can last up to 10 days.
“Shimeji” is a broad Japanese term that refers to some 20 different fungi. The name roughly translates to “mushrooms that grow deep in the forest in the rainy season”, and wild Tanba Shimeji thus are regarded as field mushrooms. Out of all the shimeji mushrooms, the hon shimeji is the most sought-after by gourmets, being regarded as the true shimeji mushroom. Thus, cultivation of the Tanba Shimeji is not a priority for Japanese mushroom farmers.
Tanba Shimeji mushrooms found in supermarkets were likely cultivated by the biotechnology company, Takara Bio Inc. The shimeji mushroom has been difficult to breed and grow indoors on a large scale, but Takara Bio Inc has patented techniques for greenhouse-growing of this finicky shimeji. One of its large factories for shimeji production is located in Tanba, which is an area also famed for the cultivation of the famous matsutake mushroom. The climate of Tanba is humid, with large temperature differences between the days and nights, perfect for mushroom-growing. In general, the Tanba Shimeji mushroom prefers wet, loose, nutrient-rich soil.
Recipes that include Tanba Shimeji Mushrooms. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Serious Eats||Green Salad With Pickled Mushrooms, Cucumbers, Onions,and Pecorino|
|I Ate the Whole Thing||Bacon Wrapped Shimeji Mushroom Kushiyaki|
|Serious Eats||Shimeji Mushroom Laab Recipe|