Shitake Mushroom Identification

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(Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Vik Nanda)

The shiitake mushroom is a delicacy in Eastern regions of the world and native to East Asia. It is often present in Asian cuisine. It is a traditional-looking mushroom harvested year-round.

Color

Shiitake mushrooms are chocolaty brown and often may look black in color. They contrast with straw mushrooms, which are more gray or off-white.

Shape

Shiitake mushrooms have a traditional mushroom shape with an umbrella-shaped cap and a woody stem.

Location

Shiitake mushrooms are found in East Asian countries such as Japan, typically growing on shii trees, which are related to oaks. The mushrooms are now grown and harvested in America as well.

Medicinal Properties

Shiitake mushrooms have anti-tumor and anti-viral properties and contain cholesterol-lowering compounds, according to the American Cancer Society.

Season

Shiitake mushrooms grow year-round and are also cultivated year-round. They are often found in Asian supermarkets and can now be commonly found in supermarkets in the U.S. They are available fresh or dried.

Cooking

Shiitake mushrooms can be sauteed for vegetable dishes, served in soups or fried and steamed.

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