Curious food #17: Instant Jew’s Ear Fungus

6 Jan

A check on good ol’ Google tells me that Jew’s Ear Fungus is an actual food, not an unpleasant malady. And since this is Instant Jew’s Ear Fungus, it fits into the same category as Instant Snail Seasoning (see post # 6). I think that I would have no problem waiting a considerable amount time for either of these food products, but for the busy person who just can’t wait for their snails and/or fungus, you are in luck!

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This was another Chinatown find, and the back of the package informs me that this is “your most convenient way of preparing Jew’s ear fungus with great authenticity.” The package includes a five-spice seasoning packet to be added before serving. The serving instructions indicate that it is to be eaten cold and could benefit from the addition of green and red pepper “to enhance color to the dish”. What? Cold brown fungus isn’t attractive enough?

The Hunter-Gather-Cook blog provides us with an excellent description and some rather beautiful photographs of Jew’s Ear Fungus along with the history of its name. “The Latin name Auricularia auricula-judae hints to its past, eventually adapted from ‘Judas Ear’ to ‘Jew’s Ear’. It was so named under the belief that Judas Iscariot hung himself on an elder tree, the principle host on which you will almost always find this fungi growing.” OK, that doesn’t really help with the attractiveness of the product. But apparently the fungus has phenomenal health benefits so there’s that anyway.

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Photo by Nick Weston

For those who prefer slow food, The Hunter-Gather-Cook also includes a recipe for Jew’s Ear Broth with Sorrel and Ginger.  The date on his blog is January, and apparently the fungus can be found in Britain at this time of year, so off you go! Send photos.

Posted by Truly Scrumptious

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One Response to “Curious food #17: Instant Jew’s Ear Fungus”

  1. The Erratic Cook January 12, 2013 at 8:14 am #

    You make fungus look good. Aren’t mushrooms in general kind of a quick food anyway? Why the instant package, interesting.

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