Also known as cloud ear mushroom, elephant’s ear mushroom and black fungus mushroom, Woodear mushroom grows on dead trees in masses of clusters. It has a dark brown to blackish hue but is also slightly translucent. Popular in Asian cuisine, woodear mushroom has a drastically different texture from most other mushrooms with its crunchy bite and almost slippery feel.

Woodear mushroom come in two forms in Asian markets- dried and fresh. In the dry form, they are typically packaged in plastic bags with some transparency so you can see the fungus. Dried, they are more shriveled up and take on a smaller appearance than their fresh form. The fresh fungus is found in the produce section of the markets and maintain their original appearance and size, which varies from the diameter of a large coin to as large as that of a medium sized tomato.

Asian physicians have long believed in woodear mushroom’s health benefits, including its potential lowering of LDL “bad” cholesterol and behavior as an anticoagulant. In Asian cuisine, woodear mushrooms are used predominantly in soups, salads and spring roll stuffing.

Some of our favorite Woodear Mushroom recipes:

Three Mushroom Salad
Miso Mushroom Stirfry
Hot & Sour Soup