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Enokitake (Enoki or Golden Needle Mushrooms) is a cultivar of Flammulina velutipes which is long-stemmed, thin, white and tiny-capped mushroom. It is native to the northern mountain ranges of Japan and is prized as food. Wild forms are vary in color, texture, sliminess, and are often referred to as winter mushrooms, velvet foot, or velvet stems.
Enoki is available fresh or canned, with the fresh being preferred by many. Enoki is often used in Chinese, Japanese and Korean cuisine, and can be used in soups, salad, stir-dry dishes. It has a crisp texture. When buying fresh enoki, look for those with firm, shiny caps, and avoid those with slimy or brown stalks.
The mushroom is naturally grown on the stumps of the Chinese Hackberry, mulberry and persimmon trees. Cultivated muhsrooms are white as they are not exposed to sunlight, whereas the wild forms usually have a dark brown color.
Enoki mushrooms contains antioxidants such as ergothioneine, while the stalks contain protein which helps regulate the immune system.