[Photo-white fungus]

Herb name: White Fungus. Also called Snow Fungus, White Tree-Ear, and Tremella Fuciformis.

Herb name in Chinese: 雪耳 (xuě yi)

Description:

  • White Fungus is an edible fungus that grows on various deciduous trees in Asia.
  • It is flavorless. Has an al dente crisp texture like wood ear.
  • Used in Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years to heal various ailments.
  • Usually sold in a dehydrated dried form.
  • High quality white fungus should be a light yellowish-white color on the outside, with a hard yellow center. Ones that appear really white may have been bleached during processing.
  • High quality white fungus should also have tightly packed florets like the ones shown in the photo above.

White Fungus Uses and Health Benefits:

  • In Chinese medicine, white fungus nourishes and moistens the lungs, as well as improves skin complexion.
  • It removes what Chinese medicine calls dryness and heat in the body by moistening and increasing body fluids. White fungus eases physical symptoms like dry skin, chapped lips, thirst, dry nose and throat, constipation, and dry coughs.
  • Some clinical data have shown that white fungus has the potential of lowering elevated blood sugar, and an inhibitory effect on cholesterol levels.
  • According to a report by Cancer Research UK, white fungus is also used as an immune tonic and for treating debility and exhaustion.
  • See a list of soup recipes using white fungus.

Preparation:

  • Rinse and soak the whole white fungus in cold water.
  • Soaking time depends on how tightly packed the fungus florets are. Dense white fungus like the one shown in the picture above can be soaked in cold water overnight. Lose white fungus florets can be soaked as fast as 15 – 30 minutes.
  • To speed up the soaking process, soak the white fungus for 30 minutes. Cut it into quarters and soak again for another 2 hours, or until soft. The yellow center will still be a little hard, but this shortened soaking process is fine if the white fungus will be used in a long boil (e.g. 2 – 3 hours cooking time). The long cooking time will help to soften the hard center.

Where to buy:

  • Available in many Asian grocery stores.
  • Also available online at Amazon.

How do you cook your White Fungus? Leave a comment below to share your ideas.

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Resources: Wikipedia
 

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