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wildmushroomonline.co.uk Identifying Edible Mushrooms. The Jews Ear
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Copyright www.willesleywood.co.uk

Jews Ear

Auricularia auricula-judae

Jews Ear is a rubbery ear-like fungus that is also known as Judas's ear fungus, or as the jelly ear fungus. This fungus is conspicuously ear shaped, ranging from purple to dark brown or black in colour with a rubbery texture, and most often found on dead elder trees but also on elm and beech trees. It was said that Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, hanged himself on an elder tree, which is the origin of the name.

This intriguing name stuck, as the taxonomic name Auricularia means ear and the epithet "auricula-judae" means "the ear of Judas."

It is pale brown in colour, and really does resemble a human ear in size, shape and texture. Generally it is about 6 cm across. When young it is gelatinous and pliant, but as it gets older it goes black and hard. The spores are white and it grows singly or in groups on old wood. There are no poisonous species that it would be confused with.

 It is one of the few fungi that has the ability to withstand freezing temperatures. This is a useful attribute, since it develops new growths in January, which is normally the coldest month of the year in Britain. It can actually freeze solid, and when thawed out shows no ill effects. It can be found all year long. It is found throughout Europe, Asia, the United States and Australia.

 This species is used often in Asian cooking because although it lacks a strong taste, it absorbs the flavours of other foods and provides delicate texture in Chinese and Japanese dishes.

 Besides its culinary value, Auricularia also has significant medicinal properties and has been used for used for thousands of years for the treatment of various things in traditional herbal remedies, especially in China. Chinese believe them good for infections of the lungs because they remove irritations an smooth it surface. They also recommend them

for haemorrhoids and as cleansing agents for both stomach and intestines. It was used to treat such widely varying conditions as hemoptysis (spitting up blood), angina (cardiac pain), diarrhea, and warding against gastrointestinal upset. According to the Doctrine of

Signatures, a theory popular in Europe in the 1800's, plants and fungi resembling certain parts of the body could be used to treat ailment of that part of the body. Since the fungus resembles the folds of the throat, Auricularia boiled in beer, milk, or vinegar was used to treat throat ailments. Because its gelatinous consistency could bind eye medicine, it was also often used as a salve to treat eye ailments.

"Modern" medicine has yielded other secrets from Auricularia. It has been shown to block blood clotting by obstructing the platelets. There have actually been cases of internal bleeding from particularly sensitive people who accidentally ate too much sweet and sour soup combined with stir-fry containing this fungus. There is some evidence

that ingesting Auricularia regularly in small doses can be therapeutic in preventing strokes and heart attacks.

Other therapeutic uses of Auricularia from modern medicine include lowering blood cholesterol and triglycerides. There is even some evidence it can play a role in treating diabetes They have also been found to have antitumour, cardiovascular, antiviral, antibacterial and antiparasitic effects.

 Hot and Sour Soup recipe using Jews Ears (serves 4 to 6)

 About 1 ounce Jews Ears

2 tablespoons canola oil

1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 tablespoon red chilli paste

1/2 cup sliced bamboo shoots

1/4 pound barbecued pork, shredded

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground white pepper

Pinch sugar

2 quarts Chicken Stock

1 square firm tofu, drained and sliced in 1/4-inch strips

3 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Chopped green onions, for garnish

 Put the Jews Ears in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 30 minutes to rehydrate. Drain and rinse the Jews Ears; discard any hard clusters in the centres.

 Heat the oil in a wok or large pot over medium-high heat. Add the ginger, chilli paste, Jews Ears, bamboo shoots, and pork; cook and stir for 1 minute to infuse the flavour. Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar in a small bowl, pour it into the wok and toss everything together - it should smell really fragrant. Pour in the Chicken Stock, bring the soup to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the tofu and cook for 3 minutes.

Dissolve the cornstarch in the water and stir until smooth. Mix this into the soup and continue to simmer until the soup thickens. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in 1 direction to get a current going, then stop stirring. Slowly pour in the beaten eggs in a steady stream and watch it spin around and feather in the broth (it should be cooked

almost immediately.) Garnish the hot and sour soup with chopped green onions before serving. And Parsely


 
wildmushroomonline.co.uk Comments
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Posted By,  rachat de credit on December 16,2010
 
Looks like you are an expert in this field, you really got some great points there, thanks.

- Robson
Posted By,  Dagmar Gross on April 28,2011
 
I have just discovered a large number of what looks very much like Jew's Ear on the ground of my outhouse, beside a large pile of oak staves from old whisky casks. I have read that this fungus often grows on oak in China and in the above article it says it cannot be confused with anything else, so these must be of this species then? I certainly hope so, because it would mean I have a very large supply of them virtually in my own home!
If anyone can help me with this, please don't hesitate to post something here! Thank you in advance,
- Dagmar.
Posted By,  RJ on August 28,2014
 
I picked some Jelly Ear last year and it has been kept dry in a plastic bag. Will it still be ok to eat?
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Wild Mushroom Identification - Recommended Books for All Skill Levels:
Every amateur mycologist should have a decent library of books, here are the top five books I highly recommend for wild mushroom identification:
 
1) Field Guide to Edible Mushrooms of Britain and Europe (Field Guides)  - Great layout with superb images - Peter Jordan
3) Mushrooms: A comprehensive guide to mushroom identification  - This one is a proper belter with loads and loads of good technical data - Roger Phillips
4) Complete Mushroom Book: The Quiet Hunt   - A lovely book by a lovely man. Antonio Carluccio
5) Mushrooms: River Cottage Handbook No.1 - Always a favourite from Hugh's fungi specialist friend, John Wright

It is important to have at least 3 books so you can cross reference and cover as many species as possible