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|Food Buzz: History of Mushrooms|
Hanaiguchi mushrooms widely range in size from small to large, depending on age and growing conditions. The mushrooms are comprised of convex caps and straight, cylindrical stems and change in appearance with maturity. The convex caps average 4 to 12 centimeters in diameter and are curved when young, flattening, flaring, and warping as they age. The cap is sticky, viscous, and shiny with a wet sheen and ranges in color from red, brown, to yellow with slightly wavy edges. Underneath the cap, many tiny pores range in color from brown, orange, rust, to red. The pores are spongy and distinct, and the semi-woody stem is slender with a streaked burnt orange and yellow hue. When sliced, the mushroom's flesh does not change color and is generally yellow to cream-colored. The stem averages 5 to 7 centimeters in length and is sometimes covered in flaky scales and a ring surrounding the stem from a partial membrane known as a veil. Cooked Hanaiguchi mushrooms have a chewy and springy texture, releasing a garlic-pine aroma with a mild, earthy flavor.
Hanaiguchi mushrooms are available in the summer through fall.
Hanaiguchi mushrooms, botanically classified as Suillus grevillei, are wild, edible mushrooms belonging to the Suillaceae family. The name Hanaiguchi is the Japanese term for the mushroom and is a combination of the words "Hana," meaning "flower," and "Iguchi," a word used to describe the tip of a "boar's nose." Hanaiguchi mushrooms earned this name from the slippery, sticky film on the top of the mushroom's cap, which is a sheen similar to the moist feel of a pig's nose. The genus name, Suillus, is also derived from pig in Latin. Hanaiguchi mushrooms are found in deciduous, coniferous forests worldwide and grow in clumps, allowing for large harvests to be quickly gathered. The mushroom species has been growing wild since ancient times and has remained a foraged ingredient in the modern day. Hanaiguchi mushrooms are also known as Grevillei's bolete and Larch bolete in Europe and North America and as Jikobo, Rikobo, Rakuyo, and Ikuchi in Japan. The mycorrhizal mushroom is not commercially cultivated and is a rarer species compared to other foraged mushrooms, but the species has found a niche market in Japan as a specialty culinary ingredient served in a wide array of cooked preparations.
Hanaiguchi mushrooms are a source of fiber to regulate the digestive tract, potassium to balance fluid levels in the body, and iron to develop the protein hemoglobin for oxygen transport through the bloodstream. The mushrooms also provide copper to produce connective tissues, zinc to boost the immune system, folate to build genetic material, and magnesium to control blood pressure.
Hanaiguchi mushrooms must be cooked before consumption and suited for preparations such as boiling or sautéing. Before cooking, the mushroom caps should be peeled, and any slimy or slippery membranes should be removed from the surface. The caps should also be cleaned of dirt and soaked in salt water for 5 to 10 minutes to remove any hidden insects from within the flesh. Once prepped, Hanaiguchi mushrooms are favored in soups due to their firm, juicy consistency and popularly simmered into miso soup. The mushrooms are also boiled and served with grated daikon radish or mixed into noodle and rice dishes. In Japan, one specialty dish to which Hanaiguchi mushrooms are added is a mixture of mushrooms and cooked mung bean sprouts. Hanaiguchi mushrooms can also be sliced and dried for extended use. Hanaiguchi mushrooms pair well with aromatics such as chiles, garlic, ginger, leeks, and shallots, seaweed, fermented soy, and spices such as cardamom, allspice, and cumin. The mushrooms will keep for a couple of days when stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator. They can also be blanched and frozen.
On the island of Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island, Hanaiguchi mushrooms are a seasonal specialty ingredient traditionally foraged and used in nabe, or Japanese hotpot. Nabe is also known as nabe ryori and nabemono and is a type of cooking using a single pot to simmer various vegetables, vegetarian proteins, and meat. Nabe was thought to have been created during the Jomon or the Yayoi period and was a favored meal during winter. Historically, a communal earthenware pot was heated over a fire, and once the ingredients were cooked, each person would take their own bowl and eat at their respective table. Later in the Edo period, from 1603 to 1868 CE, restaurants began serving nabe, but only vegetarian ingredients were allowed as meat was illegal beyond medicinal needs. This law was disbanded in the Meiji Restoration from 1868 to 1912, and during this period, families began cooking nabe at home in a style where everyone would eat at the same table, gathered around a shared pot, evolving the dish. In Hokkaido, one of the most famous types of nabe is known as Ishikari-Nabe, a boiled dish comprised of salmon and vegetables in a miso-based soup. Ishikari-Nabe is named after the city in Hokkaido, and within the town, the Ishikari River was a source of salmon for the predominately fish-based community. The dish was initially created by Ishikari fishermen who added salmon to miso-based broths. Over time, restaurants in Hokkaido began serving the fishermen's dish, adding various ingredients to the recipe. Nabe became a popular dish served year-round in Japan, and Hanaiguchi mushrooms are a treasured foraged ingredient consumed in flavorful broths during the fall season.
Hanaiguchi mushrooms are native to deciduous, coniferous forests throughout Asia, Europe, and North America and have been growing wild since ancient times. The species is found growing beneath or near Larch trees, which are generally present in cooler climates at high altitudes. Suillus grevillei was recorded by German botanist-mycologist Johann Friedrich Klotzsch in 1832, and the species was named by Rolf Singer in 1945. Historically, Hanaiguchi mushrooms were foraged from wild populations, and the species has remained wild as cultivation efforts have been unsuccessful. Today Hanaiguchi mushrooms are found throughout North America, in Europe, specifically the British Isles, and in Asia. The species has also been naturalized in parts of New Zealand and Australia. When in season, Hanaiguchi mushrooms are sold through fresh markets, select grocers, and distributors.
Recipes that include Hanaiguchi Mushrooms. One is easiest, three is harder.
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