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What Is It?
The edible above-ground portion of the beech mushroom
Beech mushroom, buna-shimeji (brown variety), bunapi-shimeji (white variety), tomo-motashi (Japanese), chiodini, pioppini (Italian)
Asian grocery stores are your best bet, though an increasing number of conventional grocery stores carry them as well
Firm, smooth, dry looking mushrooms. Avoid soggy or slimy looking mushrooms.
Difficulty: Low – Commercial shimeji mushrooms are generally very clean. Wash gently and cut away the tough interconnected bottom portion of the mushroom bundle. You can hand-separate clinging mushroom stalks to ensure even cooking.
Shimeji mushrooms must be cooked. They cook fairly quickly and can be prepared in a number of ways (e.g. stir-frying, in soups, baked, etc.). They don’t overcook too easily, but they’re best when still firm.
Short Term: Shimeji mushrooms are often sold in a breathable plastic wrap. This is an ideal storage system. If they’ve been opened or they’re in non-breathable plastic, wrap uncut and unwashed mushrooms in a paper towel and refrigerate in an unsealed bag. Fresh mushrooms will keep for up to several weeks when stored properly. Raw shimeji mushrooms do not freeze well.
Savoury/Nutty – Shimeji mushrooms have a pleasant and fairly unobtrusive nutty flavour. They retain a firm, somewhat crunchy texture when cooked. Brown and white varieties do not differ substantially in flavour, though brown can be slightly more bitter.
Oyster mushrooms and straw mushrooms are reasonably good substitutes, though somewhat less crunchy/snappy in texture.
Prominent in Japanese cooking, and well-used in a variety of European cuisines too, these mild mushrooms are popular in soups, pastas, hotpots, stir-fries, and even baked dishes.
Excellent with Japanese staples (soy sauce, miso, dashi, mirin, rice, etc.), and excellent with olive oil, mild herbs, pasta, and other relatively light flavours.
The two most prominent varieties are the brown shimeji (buna-shimeji) or beech mushroom, and the white shimeji (bunapi-shimeji). Not to be confused with the hon-shimeji or hatake-shimeji.
High in niacin (35% d.v.), and relatively high in protein and fiber.
For a full nutritional profile, click Need More Detail? below
The entire mushroom is eaten (cooked, not raw). The tough, interconnected lower portion of the stalks is generally cut off and discarded.
Health & Science
Shimeji mushrooms contain compounds that have been linked to anti-cancer activity; research into these effects is ongoing.
Organic vs. Conventional
Both organic and conventionally grown shimeji mushrooms are widely available in both brown and white forms.