Shiitake mushrooms have a unique earthy taste and are commonly used in many East Asian dishes.
The first thing you want to do is wipe away any apparent dirt on the shiitakes.
It’s best to use a damp paper towel or a cloth to wipe away the dirt.
You don’t need to worry about getting rid of every speck of dirt.
Mushrooms are full of moisture already and also absorb tons of moisture which is why you don’t want to get it too wet during the cleaning process.
Rinse the mushrooms quickly, you don’t want to allow too much water to get in them.
Some choose not to wash their shiitake mushrooms, especially if you know they haven’t been treated with any chemicals, you can skip this step.
If you do run them under water, shake them to get rid of excess water.
If any water is left under the mushroom, hold it by the stem and shake vigorously.
Inspect the mushroom and if there is still dirt, you may want to give it another rinse. #
You should remove the stems when preparing mushrooms, you can do this by pinching the stem where it meets the cap.
Slowly pull the stem away from the cap, you can get rid of them or keep them to use in soups.
If you’re using dried mushrooms you’ll need to re-hydrate them first before using, you can do this by leaving them to soak overnight in room temperature water.
If the dried mushrooms have stems, it’s best to remove them before rehydrating the mushrooms as you can snap off the stems easily.
Once soaked, the dried mushrooms may need to be cleaned, you can run them under cold water until any dirt has been removed.
Do you need to soak fresh shiitake mushrooms?
Fresh shiitake mushrooms are full of moisture, you want to avoid washing or soaking mushrooms before storing them, as the excess moisture can cause them to rot much quicker.
Dried mushrooms can be stored for a much longer period of time compared to fresh mushrooms.
Fresh mushrooms can be stored in the fridge for around 7-10 days if whole and 5-7 days if cut.
Dried mushrooms can be stored for up to a year, especially when stored correctly.
Because mushrooms are naturally full of moisture, when dried, they need to be reconstituted.
To rehydrate them it’s best to soak them overnight in room temperature water.
Once rehydrated dried mushrooms can now be used.
Even when washing fresh mushrooms you want to avoid getting them too wet as mushrooms soak up moisture quickly and you’ll be adding excess water to the mushrooms.
To wash fresh shiitake mushrooms, wipe them gently with a damp paper towel, and rinse quickly to wash away any remaining dirt.
Some even choose not to wash mushrooms under water, especially if they’ve not been treated with any chemicals.
Can I use fresh shiitake mushrooms instead of dried?
Dried mushrooms can be stored for much longer than fresh mushrooms.
Fresh mushrooms only last for around 710 days in the fridge, when cut, they last around 5-7 days.
They can go off quicker than this especially if they aren’t stored correctly.
Mushrooms need to be kept in an airy, and cool space.
Dried mushrooms can be stored for up to a year.
This makes them much more convenient and means you don’t need to race to use up your mushrooms in time.
Dried mushrooms also have a much more enhanced flavor when compared to fresh mushrooms.
If you want to make the most of this stronger flavor, you may want to choose dried mushrooms over dried mushrooms.
Of course, if you don’t want this strong flavor, then fresh mushrooms are your best choice.
You can also freeze mushrooms to store them for longer, but dried mushrooms may be easier to store.
Dried mushrooms should be stored in a dark and dry place.
Almost all dried mushrooms can be used as a substitute for their fresh counterparts.
Dried mushrooms once reconstituted are almost the same as using fresh mushrooms, there is not much difference aside from dried mushrooms having a stronger flavor.
Texture-wise fresh shiitakes have slightly different dried mushrooms, and you may prefer using fresh mushrooms.
But there is not a huge difference and unless you’re a mushroom connoisseur it’s unlikely you’ll notice a stark difference.
When cooked, fresh shiitakes have a light but noticeable umami taste, but dried mushrooms have a much deeper umami taste.
Dried shiitakes are also cheaper than fresh mushrooms as they’re less likely to perish.
Fresh shiitake mushrooms are best used for frying and sauteing, and dried mushrooms are best used in soups, stews, and stir-fries.
Dried mushrooms add a rich umami texture and flavor to these dishes and provide a strong flavor.
What is the healthiest way to eat shiitake mushrooms?
Shiitake mushrooms are one of the healthiest mushrooms you can consume, even known sometimes as “the medicine mushroom”.
They contain polysaccharides that help boost your immune system.
They also contain nutrients that help protect you from disease and improve heart health.
Mushrooms are the only plant-based source of vitamin D, shiitakes provide vitamin D which is important for immune function and bone health.
Shiitakes are high in protein, low in carbs and fat, and have tons of nutrients such as B vitamins, iron, and potassium. As healthy as shiitakes are, the way you prepare them can make them unhealthier.
Different ways of preparing mushrooms such as sauteing or frying them in butter can add tons of fat and calories to the dish.
Some healthier ways to prepare them to include grilling, in fact, this is one of the most healthy ways to eat shiitake mushrooms.
You can also add them to soups and stews, which depending on the dish itself can be fairly healthy. Some mushrooms like portobello mushrooms are commonly grilled due to their size and meaty texture as they’re used as a substitute for meat.
Shiitakes also have a meaty texture and can be used as a meat replacement.
You can slice shiitakes, add them to skewers, and grill to make meatless kebabs.
There are a few different ways to prepare mushrooms and avoiding using excess fat is one way to ensure that shiitakes are true “the medicine mushroom”.