What about the dried shitake grit?

This all sounds kind of wonderfully easy, but...dried shitake has grit in it, and as anyone knows who has soaked it for a recipe, leaves a bunch of dirt in the bottom of the soaking pot/bowl. Aren't we being asked to microplane shitake and its grit onto food?

Nancy Lipner
  • 1030 views
  • 7 Comments

7 Comments

Nancy June 27, 2021
Just a small update. Served what I had on hand - batons of jicama dipped in chili and salt, and in a salad (with a garlic lime mayo). Both delicious. Will work on egg rolls and/or spring rolls after next grocery shop. Thanks, both :)
 
Nancy June 27, 2021
Oops. Meant this for jicama thread...
 
702551 June 24, 2021
I have also never had a problem with grit in commercial shiitakes. Note that commercial shiitakes are mostly grown on oak sawdust not in dirt or sand. Where they grow naturally, it is typically on trees or logs.

As Lori mentions, the powder in the bags are just some small particles that have broken free -- not dirt/sand.

If you want a better quality product, buy genuine donko shiitakes imported from Japan. Like pretty much all Japanese food products (not just dried mushrooms), the quality is uniformly very high to start.

Amazon sells donko shiitakes as will all ***Japanese*** grocery stores (but not necessarily other Asian markets). Here in California, the Nijiya grocery chain sells them.

You can also dry your own from fresh shiitakes purchased from your grocery store or farmers market. When I do this, I cut off the stems (which are tougher), reserve them for stock/dashi and just dry the shiitake caps.

Grit/sand is mostly a problem with certain wild mushrooms. The common commercially grown mushrooms (white button, brown Crimini, Portabello, oyster, enoki, shimeji) are all grown in sterile rooms on a pure medium like manufactured peat moss. There is no dirt/sand involved.
 
Nancy L. June 24, 2021
I've been buying dried shitake mushrooms for over 30 years, from various brands, generally from health food stores, frequently Japanese but not always, and there is always grit left behind in shitake soaking water. I've also seen it on cooking programs and in recipes, and people are always advised to use cheesecloth in a sieve to filter it out before cooking the soaking water. This isn't shitake which has broken off and become pulverized in shipping - it's actual grit - it even feels sandy to the touch and if some accidentally gets in food it has a sandy texture.
 
Nancy L. June 24, 2021
Strainer, not sieve, sigh.
 
Lori T. June 24, 2021
I've never really had a problem with grit in commercially dried shitakes, although there are plenty of mushroom dust particles caused in shipping. Generally I use a small veggie brush to deal with that. Other 'shrooms may have dirt grit- porcini in particular seem bad. Cook's Illustrated did a bit about dealing with gritty mushrooms though, and they rinse and dry in a microwave as a means to control it. Maybe that would work for your shitakes as well?? At any rate, although we call it dirt, most commercially grown mushrooms are not actually grown in the stuff. And it's also sterilized, prior to use, so nothing grows in it EXCEPT the mushroom spawn it gets inoculated with. As far as a grit factor, I don't think it would be any worse than bits of black pepper or some of the other herbs that get sprinkled on things. If you are really concerned, I suppose you could opt to use one of the commercially prepared shitake mushroom powders that are sold. I'd rather risk a bit of grit myself.
 
drbabs June 24, 2021
What an interesting question. I actually planned to make this last night, but forgot that I had used the last of the dried mushrooms a while back. So I can’t answer your question, but I can give you an alternative (which I happened to have in the house): Trader Joe's Mushroom and Company seasoning blend. https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/063804
It has mushroom powder, salt, and some spices. I used it as I would salt on my salmon last night and it was delicious.
 
Recommended by Food52