Fresh cloud ear mushrooms can only be stored refrigerated for several days before they begin to spoil. The dried variety will store in airtight containers for long periods of time, but are lacking significantly in flavor. The older the mushroom, the greater the chance that it will be tougher in texture when cooked, so it is always wise to cut the mushroom into narrow strips for cooking and serving. Cloud ears can be served in salads, soups, stews, and stir-fried dishes.
Cloud ears may also be referred to as black fungus, tree ear, wood fungus, mouse ear, or jelly mushrooms.