The Lobster mushroom is actually a parasitic hybrid of the fluorescent red-orange fungal parasite, Hypomyces lactifluorum, and the brittle white mushroom, Russula brevipes.
The largest of all tree-borne fruits, jack fruit is oval-shaped and knobbly-skinned. This fruit can weigh up to eighty or ninety pounds.
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The Matsutake mushroom has a large rugged umbrella-shaped cap and thick-skinned stem. The coloring ranges from creamy white to rusted brown throughout the flesh. Often compared to a jellyfish, it is toothsome and crunchy in texture. Matsutake mushrooms have definitive spicy and clean aromatics and a pine-like fragrance when cooked.
Matsutake mushrooms are available in the early fall and can be found through mid-winter.
The Matsutake mushroom is a deep mycelium fungi, scientifically classified as Tricholoma matsutake. Matsutake means pine mushroom and it is the odor of this mushroom that truly identifies it. As it thrives in pine forests, it resembles the aromas of the woods.
The Matsutake resembles the truffle, which lends its aroma best to simple preparations. A broth with several slices of this mushroom would be served in a lidded bowl or pot, for example, so that the scent of earthy pine with a tinge of cinnamon swirls within the container until it is finally released. Matsutake are most commonly used in simple soups and rice dishes, and pair well with seafood, seaweed, soy, ginger and garlic.
One of the rituals of the Matsutake season is to prepare a sukiyaki, the Japanese version of a hot pot, in the woods during a hunt. The broth is a combination of dashi (fish stock), sake, mirin (sweet cooking sake) and a touch of sugar.
The North American Matsutake, aka Pine mushroom, is a different mushroom species than the Japanese Matsutake. It has become a suitable substitute for the Japanese Matsutake, but should not be confused with the Japanese species. The North American variety, Tricholoma magnivelare, releases the same complex, spicy fragrance as the rare Japanese species, Tricholoma Matsutake. Matsutakes prefer the company of fir and hemlock trees in the north, pine trees a little further south, and tanoak and madrone trees in California. In the United States Pacific Northwest, the Matsutake season usually starts the first part of September. Generally, by November the growing range will have stretched into Northern California and the season can stretch as far as late January. Rainfall determines early growth and continued production.
Recipes that include Matsutake Mushrooms. One is easiest, three is harder.
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