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Eating mushrooms is good for the health and tasty too! It’s a good thing that there are many varieties of mushrooms used in Japanese cuisine! Probably the most internationally known Japanese mushroom is a type of mushroom called Shiitake (シイタケ) Mushrooms. Shiitake Mushrooms are sometimes used as garnish for misoshiru or miso soup (味噌汁). They are also good to buy if you have a tight budget because they are relatively cheaper than other mushrooms.
The Enokitake (エノキタケ) mushrooms are easily obtainable mushrooms that you buy at your local supermarket. The ones in the supermarket are cultivated mushrooms. The cultivated variety is long, thin and white colored, but the enokitake mushrooms that grow in the wild are often shorter and darker in color. Enokitake mushrooms are often used in Japanese soups. Studies show that enokitake mushrooms possess antioxidants and may even boost the immune system.
Matsutake (松茸) mushrooms are hard to obtain. That’s part of the reason why they are very pricy. One of the reasons why matsutake mushrooms are so sought after is its smell. Matsutake mushrooms have this spicy, fragrant smell that provides a pleasant odor for soups and stir fried dishes. The demand for matsutake mushrooms is so high in Japan that some Japanese people are willing to buy imported matsutake mushrooms.
Maitake (舞茸) mushrooms are fan shaped mushrooms with multiple layers that grow in clusters. This mushroom can be found growing in great quantities in the northeastern part of Japan. It’s especially prized for its medicinal properties and used in Japanese dishes like nabemono (なべ物), which is like a kind of steampot dish. Research shows that maitake contains a wealth of minerals and may even help regulate insulin, glucose and blood pressure.