Golden Ear mushrooms can be found growing wild in China’s Yunnan province in the southwestern part of the country that lies just north of Myanmar and Laos. Golden Ear mushrooms are predominantly found along the Jinsha River Basin, and are still largely consumed there. They were first identified and named by American mycologist Lewis David von Shweinitz in 1822. Tremella aurantia can be found on conifer wood, whereas Tremella mesenterica can be found growing on dead or decayed oak and some other hardwoods. Because of the symbiotic nature of Golden Ear mushrooms, they are difficult to cultivate. The fungus is often confused with yet another species, Dacrymyces palmatus, which can only be differentiated through microscopic tests. Golden Ear mushrooms for consumption are primarily found in China and exported around the world.
Fresh Golden Ear mushrooms stand out in the forest compared to the usually more muted colors typical of mushrooms. They look more like a small brain then they do a mushroom. The bright orange or yellow hued fungus is stemless and is composed of clusters of wrinkled and folded lobes and measures about 5 to 10 centimeters across. Fresh Golden Ear mushrooms have a wet look and a gelatinous or opaque appearance. When dried, they take on a golden matte finish and can be brittle. This mushroom species has a symbiotic relationship with two other types of types of wood fungus, meaning it grows on top of the other species, sometimes completely enveloping it. Once fully developed, there is little to no trace of the host mushroom. When cut, the Golden Ear mushroom resembles orange cauliflower florets. The taste of Golden Ear mushrooms is not distinct. They have a slightly rubbery texture similar to other jelly mushroom varieties.
Golden Ear mushrooms are a type of jelly fungi and can be one of two identified species, Tremella aurantia or Tremella mesenterica. The two can only be distinguished microscopically, so the common name is used for both. The two species are among only a few varieties that have a symbiotic relationship with another fungus, just like lobster mushrooms. The two can be found growing on the curtain crust mushrooms, Stereum hirsutum and some Peniophora species. The species name Tremella refers to the wobbly, jelly-like appearance of the mushroom. It is sometimes called Witch's Butter, Yellow Ear or Yellow Brain fungus.
Golden Ear mushrooms are a good source of carbohydrates, potassium, iron and calcium. It is also a source of the trace elements, among which is manganese, a beneficial antioxidant and has a role in the production of collagen. Golden-White Ear nourishes the Yin and the lungs, removes the phlegm and stops coughing, and also produces more saliva and removes heat. Rich in proteins, various amino acids and micronutrients. It is sweet in taste, mild in nature.
How to use: Soak the Golden-White Ear for an hour in water. Cut the hard part of the stalk. Rinse and ready for cooking. Golden Ear mushrooms must be cooked before they are eaten. Most often, the orange mushroom is added to soups and stews for added nutrition. Golden-White Ear is delicate and texture slippery and tasty, with strong aroma and beautiful color. Suitable for a range of dishes. Good for stewing or anything with meat or vegetarian. It can also be sauteed along with other mushrooms, leafy greens and onions.