Matsutake Mushrooms

Synonymous with the autumn season these mushrooms have become one of the defining characteristics of what it means to be Japanese. These are the truffles of Japan, but a single mushroom is much more expensive than a single truffle given that they are cooked and shrink considerably in size. One reason matsutake are so expensive is the number of matsutake mushrooms are harvested in Japan has decreased sharply due a bug that kills the trees they grow in, around and under.

These large capped matsutake are seriously delicious when cooked correctly and or served in a broth or with some rice. Each part of the mushroom is used accordingly and no one single strand of mushroom is thrown away. The best way to treat the matsutake is to eat them in a restaurant where the skill of the chef is expert enough to enhance the overall authentic experience.

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Matsutake are harvested from around the end of September through the middle of November and not later. The highest grade is given to mushrooms that have an even plumpness to the stem. More importantly than size alone is to be sure that the cap has not yet opened. A matsutake mushroom can loose up to a third of its value once the cap separates from the stem and the gills become visible underneath.