wood ear fungus

[English] plural wood ears or wood ear funghi

The wood ears commonly include the Judas's ear fungus, so-called as it is usually found on elder, the tree from which Judas is reputed to have hanged himself. It may also refer to the cloud ear mushroom. These mushrooms are often grown on oak logs and are available fresh or dried. If dried they are black and are broken into small pieces. They swell hugely when soaked. If fresh, they are slightly crunchy and have a bland flavour but take up the flavour of the foods with which they are cooked. Silver ears are an albino variety of these large dark mushrooms. They should not be fried as they explode, but should be stewed for at least an hour. If dried they may 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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