Ever cook with wood ear mushrooms?

A naturalist told us they are used primarily by Asians.
I have several limbs down in the yard that are covered with them. Haven’t tried any yet.

My parents (Asian) cooked with them sometimes. I avoided all mushrooms so cannot say for sure if they were the really earthy ones that I would pick out and shovel aside apart from the other foods. Some Chinese restaurants in Boston included them as an ingredient.

Please make absolutely sure your shrooms are indeed safe to eat!

The ones I eat come from a can.

Oh, I thought you were going to eat the ones from the downed tree limbs.

Some (bottled) oyster sauce, maybe soy sauce, and fresh ginger go nicely with what I call The Dark Shrooms. These were in the dishes I had in Chinese restaurant. Yes, as an adult I developed some taste for them, but the only ones I cook with are the bland white ones.

Identifying mushrooms is not always easy. And there are some that are deadly poisonous, so make sure you are certain of the identification and comfortable with the potential risk. There is a saying about mushroom hunters:

There are old mushroom hunters and bold mushroom hunters, but there are no old, bold mushroom hunters.

Be sure you have correctly identified it, or the person who identified it for you knows what they are talking about and is a cautious person…

I heard the following story about mis-identification of mushrooms, which luckily is somewhat comical instead of tragic. A group of my brother’s friends thought they had properly identified an edible species of mushroom while on a hiking trip (this was back in the days when Euell Gibbons was a folk hero). They were wrong. They all got deathly sick, except for a 12-year-old boy who hated mushrooms and therefor hadn’t eaten any. It was the 12-year-old boy who drove them all to the nearest hospital, something like an hour away. The person relating the story to my brother described how during the trip to the hospital, he was sitting in the back seat of the car, barfing into a bag, and there was some kind of brain toxicity going on too because every time he would bend over to barf into the bag, he had the perception of diving toward the bag from a great height, as a hawk might perceive when diving to catch a mouse.

Based on several discussions we had here years ago where certain people were absolutely certain they had correctly identified a snake based on comparison to a picture online, yet it turned out that their eye for relevant details was just incredibly poor and what they saw as “the same” wasn’t even remotely similar, I wouldn’t trust a layman’s ability to identify mushrooms one bit!!!

And here I was thinking this was a carry-over from the toe fungus thread. I just couldn’t figure out how you’d get your foot all the way up to your ear though…

I’d only eat wild mushroom in a survival scenario, and only the unmistakable giant puffball. Even then I’d just about gag trying to get it down. I’m not big on slimy textures to my food.

Not Looking Through the Glass
(An unjarring ballad of raw mushroom dining)
by the Sedro Woolley Silly Silo Bin Project

I was eatin’ wood ear mushrooms
as I picked ‘em from the trees,
dictatin’ my adventures to Lewis Carroll
sportin’ Chesire kitty cheese,
but my mycological machinations
was ’ bout to throw me to my knees,
off with my head them cards had played me
as fun guy in I malice seized.

Quite a number of edible mushrooms are easily identifiable, but there are also deadly ones that look much like other edible ones that are a great danger.

I hear some of those wood ear mushrooms can be used to start the cooking fire. Chicken of the woods (a bright orange/yellow)
is edible. Please be safe about mushrooms and don’t rely on guys like me for info. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ve eaten a number of wild mushrooms but have never tried wood ears. I eat oyster mushrooms, fall oyster mushrooms, several types of inky caps/shaggy manes, wild Agaricus (close relative of the store bought kind), morels, chantrelles, and a few others. I’m also extremely careful and never eat anything unless I’m either positive what it is, or positive its not poisonous. But even some non-poisonous mushrooms can cause reactions in certain people (just like any new-to-you food), or if eaten within a day or two of alcohol. So you always want to start by eating only a small amount, then try a bit more the next time.

Its also best, as much as you might hate it, to learn the scientific names which in the case of wood ears is Auricularia auricula-judae

Mushrooms can have more than one common name, as does this one, but each species can only have one current scientific/Latin name. Common names can lead to mistakes and mistakes can lead to uhh, pain and death. With Latin names, you always know you and someone else are talking about the same thing.

This is a great site for help identifying mushrooms, but you always have to be the final judge of what you decide to ingest.

Lastly, it doesn’t sound like a very choice edible so unless you already know you like them you might want to start with something more toward the choice end of the edibility-meter.