There are dozens of mushrooms that play regular roles in Japanese cuisine, including maitake, shiitake, nameko, and, of course, enoki mushrooms. These small mushrooms have long, very thin stalks and tiny button caps. They are rather cute to look at, especially when you see a grouping of them still attached at the base.
Also known as golden needle mushrooms, seafood mushrooms, winter mushrooms and lily mushrooms, among other names, fresh enoki mushrooms are most often used in soups. However, they can be featured in other dishes, in salads, or eaten as a snack.
You can easily find fresh enoki mushrooms in Asian supermarkets and many regular grocery stores in the United States. The cultivated mushrooms are white and are the most common, though you may also find wild enoki mushrooms, which are dark brown or golden in color.
Health Benefits of Enoki Mushrooms
Either type of enoki mushroom is highly nutritious, making them a great addition to your diet. They contain a wide array of important vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, phosphorus, iron, selenium, thiamin, calcium and copper. The mushrooms also contain healthy amino acids and dietary fiber, and low in cholesterol.
Helps to Improve the Immune System
The healthy amino acids in enoki mushrooms serve to improve immune system strength and health. In fact, enoki mushrooms have been used for centuries in Asian culture as a remedy for high blood pressure, stomach ailments, high cholesterol and liver disease.
Reduces Body Fat and Increases Metabolism
Enoki mushrooms contain linoleic acid, which specifically targets and helps you reduce belly fat when added to your regular diet. Regular consumption of enoki mushrooms also serves to improve the metabolic process and the absorption of important nutrients.
The dietary fiber found in enoki mushrooms helps improve digestion, reduce constipation and regulate bowel movements. They are an excellent source of low-calorie, dietary fiber for those seeking easy ways to add more healthy dietary fiber to their diets.
Balances Sugar Levels
The dietary fiber also helps to manage blood glucose levels in the body. This serves to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Improves Mental Development
The healthy amino acids in enoki mushrooms help to improve mental development. It also helps to improve memory function for adults and the elderly.
Reduces the Chance of Developing Allergies
Consuming enoki mushrooms regularly also helps prevent the development of allergies, as well as other maladies such as asthma or eczema.
In addition to soups, you can use enoki mushrooms in various dishes. Look for the ones that are firm and dry, rather than slimy or mushy. Make sure to use them within a few days of purchasing. They usually do not stay fresh for too long even in the fridge.