Also Known as
Chinese black mushroom, Oak mushroom; Forest mushroom, chinese dried mushrooms
Shitake mushroom range in color from tan to dark brown; characterized by broad, umbrella shaped caps up to ten inches in diameter, wide open veils and tan gills; rich, full-bodied flavor, almost steak-like, with a meaty texture when cooked. These are best when cooked in almost any method, particularly sautéing, broiling and baking. Remove stems before cooking but reserve them for soup stocks
How to Select Chinese mushrooms are often sold dried and will keep for up to a year. Select dried mushrooms that are intact and firm, with tightly closed cap. Avoid dried mushrooms that are wrinkled, slimy, ragged, or spotted. If the gills are showing, it's an indication of age, and they are probably past their prime. Discolored, broken and damaged mushrooms with soft spots should be avoided. The more costly are often called "flower mushrooms" as they have a thick cap and a nice curl
" Rinse well, and then soak in hot water for at least 30 minutes. The soaking water can be strained and used to add flavor to a stock.
" The more costly are often called "flower mushrooms" as they have a thick cap and a nice curl. These are the best choice if you are preparing stuffed mushrooms.
" However, the cheaper brands are perfectly acceptable for use in soups and stir-fries.
" Before using, soak them in warm water for between twenty and thirty minutes, and remove the stems.
" Be aware that salt releases the water in mushrooms, so judge the salt usage accordingly for your particular recipe.
" The liquid used to reconstitute dried mushrooms makes a flavorful addition to soups, stews, and stocks. Strain the liquid through a double thickness of cheesecloth or a clean, unprinted paper towel before using.
" Mushroom powder can easily be made by grinding dried mushrooms in a spice or coffee grinder, food processor, or heavy-duty blender. Use to flavor soups, stews, stocks, dips, and sauces.
How to Store
At home, store the shitake mushrooms in a container at room temperature. They will last indefinitely. Paper bags are a good storage alternative. Use fresh shitake mushrooms within three days.
" Shitake Mushrooms are potential cancer-fighters. It contains a compound called lentinan, which is being used as a cancer treatment.
" Shitake Mushrooms are also a good source of riboflavin and niacin and contain no fat or cholesterol.
" Shitake Mushrooms are low in calories, low in fat and have no cholesterol and also low in salt
" It is a good source of minerals, especially potassium and also a good source of vitamins, particularly B vitamins.
" Shitake Mushroom protein is also superior to many other vegetable proteins on account of its essential amino acid content.