Dried shiitake are generally preferred to fresh because they are more flavorful - a natural result of the drying process. They must be reconstituted by soaking for a while in lukewarm water. For the fullest flavor of the mushroom, soak in cold water overnight. This soaking water will take on a savory flavor and aroma and is often used as a broth in soups and simmered dishes. Dried shiitake also may be used in mixed rice dishes.
- Low in calories, shiitake mushrooms are full of B vitamins and ergostane (changes to vitamin D when it interacts with sunlight and UV rays).
- Glutamic acid, one of the amino acids that contributes to umami, increases metabolism and works to prevent aging.
- Also, the amino acid elitadenin helps remove excess cholesterol from the bloodstream.
- Shiitake mushrooms have components that strengthen immune response and are highly nutritious.
How to pick and store
- Choose mushrooms with thick, half-opened caps and white undersides.
- Store wrapped in the refrigerator.
- Use in fried or simmered dishes and hot pots.