cloud ear fungus

[English] plural cloud ear fungi

The cloud ear fungus is a type of edible jelly or wood ear fungus, that grows on dead wood, usually oak logs. This fungus is closely related to the Judas' ear fungus and, like those, are available fresh or dried. If fresh, they are slightly crunchy, grey in colour and have a bland flavour but take up the flavour of the foods with which they are cooked. They should not be fried as they explode, but should be stewed for at least an hour. If dried they are black and are broken into small pieces. They swell hugely when soaked. Dried mushrooms may also be ground to a powder, in which form it may be used to flavour soups and stocks. Unlike most mushrooms this can be found all year round. (If gathering mushrooms you must be absolutely certain what you have before you eat them as many are very poisonous.)

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