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This item was last sold on : 02/14/20
|Food Buzz: History of Mushrooms|
Nameko mushrooms are small to medium in size with caps averaging 2-5 centimeters in diameter and slender, straight stems. The smooth, rounded caps are orange to amber with a glossy sheen caused by a natural layer of gelatin coating the surface. With age, the caps will slowly flatten and flare at the edges. Underneath the cap, there are many light yellow to white gills and the stem is tan, 5-7 centimeters in length, flexible, and thin. When cooked, Nameko mushrooms are firm and silky with a cashew-butterscotch aroma and a mildly fruity, nutty, and earthy flavor.
Wild Nameko mushrooms are available in the fall through winter, while the cultivated versions are available year-round.
Nameko mushrooms, botanically classified as Pholiota nameko, are one of the most popular mushrooms in Japan falling just behind shiitake mushrooms and are members of the Strophariaceae family. Also known as the Forest Nameko and the Butterscotch mushroom in English, Nameko mushrooms are found growing in small clusters on the dead trunks of oak and beech trees, but the majority of the mushrooms sold in the market today are cultivated. Known for their slippery texture, Nameko in Japanese translates to “slimy mushroom” and is cultivated in Japan for use in miso soup. Nameko mushrooms can be found in fresh, dried, and canned form.
Nameko mushrooms are a good source of vitamins including thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, and minerals including calcium, potassium, and sodium.
Nameko mushrooms are best suited for cooked applications such as sautéing, grilling, or boiling. The gelatinous covering on the caps acts as a natural thickener and is often used in soups, stews, risotto, and sauces. The best way to enhance the thickening agent is to sauté the mushrooms. To create a caramelization or glaze, it is recommended to roast or grill the mushrooms with meat and vegetables. Nameko mushrooms can be mixed into pasta or topped on pizza. They are also commonly added to stir-fries, cooked into a mushroom pate, chopped into salsa, or sliced and served on a crostini as an appetizer. Nameko mushrooms pair well with meats such as poultry, game, steak, and fish, tofu, shallots, garlic, onion, Italian parsley, thyme, daikon radish, nori, cabbage, bean sprouts, carrots, almonds, cashews, goat cheese, black olives, quinoa, miso, soy sauce, lemon zest, sherry, sake, pinot noir, and tobachan sauce. They will keep for 2-3 days when loosely wrapped and stored in the refrigerator.
In Japan, Nameko mushrooms are most popularly incorporated into miso soup as a natural thickener and flavor enhancer. They are also traditionally served with steamed rice and soy sauce, wrapped in sushi rolls, or boiled in nabemono, which is a hot pot filled with vegetables, meat, and broth. Nameko mushrooms are also used for their medicinal properties and are believed to help prevent staph infections.
Nameko mushrooms are native to the hardwood oak and beech forests of Asia and have been growing in the wild for centuries. While the exact date of cultivation is unknown, these mushrooms are largely grown in Japan, being exported all over the world, and are also cultivated in Southern California in the United States. Today Nameko mushrooms can be found fresh at local markets and in dried and in can form at specialty grocers in Asia, Europe, and North America.
Recipes that include Nameko Mushrooms. One is easiest, three is harder.