Straw Mushroom

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(Scientific Name: Volvariella volvacea) An Asian mushroom which is cultivated to sell in two forms, unexpanded (unpeeled) or expanded (peeled). The unexpanded mushrooms are oval shaped and white to pinkish tan in color. They are 1" to 1 1/2" long and have a tissue like shell that covers them. The expanded mushrooms do not have the tissue covering and their tan caps are umbrella shaped with a brownish black center and blackish streaks. The caps are 3/4" to 1 1/4" wide and the stems are only 1/2" to 1 1/4" long. They are grown on decomposing rice straw stacks in Southwest Asia. Attempts to grow the Straw Mushroom in the United States have not been successful. Also known as "paddy straw mushroom."

The mild flavored, smooth textured mushroom has a pleasing appearance and the entire mushroom is edible. The unexpanded form is stronger flavored than the expanded and both require little cooking time. It is one of the highest consumed mushrooms worldwide and is a good source of vitamin C, protein, and amino acids.

The straw mushrooms are available year round, canned and dried. Canned mushrooms should have the fluid they are stored in removed and discarded and the mushrooms should be rinsed thoroughly. Unused canned mushrooms should be covered with water and stored in a covered container and refrigerated. Water should be changed every two to three days. Mushrooms will keep up to seven to ten days. Dried mushrooms should be checked for insects and larvae and rinsed with water before use.

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