Inventory, lb : 0
This item was last sold on : 11/12/21
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Matsutake mushrooms are small to medium in size, averaging 5-20 centimeters in diameter, and have rounded, convex caps that flatten out with age and are connected to thick, stout stems. The smooth, dry cap is white with distinct curled edges when young and develops brown scales and spots when mature. Underneath the cap, there are many tan to white notched, attached gills that are shielded by a partial, cotton-like veil when immature. The broad stem is firm, solid, and dense, averaging 4-15 centimeters in length, and has a brown and white, two-toned appearance. Matsutake mushrooms are known for their unusual cinnamon and pine aroma, and when cooked, they have a crunchy, toothsome texture with a pungent, spicy flavor.
Matsutake mushrooms are available in the early fall through mid-winter.
Matsutake mushrooms, botanically classified as Tricholoma matsutake, is a rare, wild, and edible Japanese fungi that belong to the Tricholomataceae family. Translating to mean “pine mushroom” in English, Matsutake mushrooms grow under debris on the forest floor by specific varieties of pine trees, fir trees, oak trees, and tanoak trees. There are two closely related species in North America, Tricholoma magnivelare and Tricholoma murrillianum, and these mushrooms are also labeled as Matsutake in the marketplace. Matsutake mushrooms are only found in the wild as their symbiotic relationship with the roots of the trees cannot be recreated in cultivation. Due to their limited quantities and waning habitat in Japan from disease, Matsutake mushrooms are a highly prized variety in China, Japan, and Korea, fetching extremely high prices for their unusual spicy aroma and taste.
Matsutake mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamin D, vitamin B3, copper, and potassium.
Matsutake mushrooms are best suited for cooked applications such as baking, boiling, sautéing, grilling, and steaming. The most valued size for cooking is the young mushrooms that have unopened caps and unbroken veils. Before cooking, the mushrooms should be cleaned with a damp cloth rather than washed as they can become heavy and too wet. They should be cooked in simple preparations such as soups, chowders, rice, or marinated in soy sauce and grilled to showcase the unusual flavor and aroma. They can also be fried to make tempura and served with a ponzu sauce. Matsutake mushrooms pair well with green onions, onion, garlic, ginger, poultry, fish and other seafood, bamboo shoots, cabbage, carrots, celery, snow peas, broccoli, zucchini, potatoes, nori, rice, dry sherry, mirin, sake, tamari, and lemon juice. They will keep up to ten days when stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator and will keep up to a year when frozen.
In Japan, Matsutake mushrooms were only consumed by the imperial court until the 17th century. Today they are still used as a status symbol and are given as wedding or business gifts, often placed in wooden or ornately decorated boxes with a pair of sake glasses. Matsutake mushrooms symbolize good fortune, happiness, and fertility. When given as a gift, these mushrooms are commonly used in sukiyaki, which is the Japanese version of a hot pot combining dashi, sake, mirin, and sugar, and they are also used in Matsutake gohan, which is a rice dish made with kombu dashi, soy sauce, sake, and mirin. In the traditional dish chawanmushi, Matsutake mushrooms are served in a savory egg custard consisting of soy sauce, stock, sake, and sesame oil and are topped with green onions, smoked salmon, or shrimp.
Matsutake mushrooms are native to Japan and have been growing wild for over one thousand years. Today the Japanese variety is quite rare due to habitat loss, but these mushrooms can be found in select regions in China and Korea. There are also different species of Matsutake mushrooms that grow in North America and Europe that are closely related and used as a substitute for the Japanese variety. Matsutake mushrooms are available at farmers markets and specialty grocers in Canada, the United States, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Poland, China, Japan, and Korea.
Recipes that include Matsutake Mushrooms. One is easiest, three is harder.