The Nutritional Benefits of Enoki Mushrooms
When you talk to people about mushrooms, they’re usually only thinking about culinary mushrooms like portobello, or psychedelic mushrooms like psilocybin. There are tens of thousands of edible mushrooms in the world, but really only a few are ever featured in our cultural lexicon.
Even if we just look at edible culinary mushrooms, most people stay focused on portobello, crimini, or white button. Those who are more adventurous will recognize maitake, enokitake, and shiitake mushrooms.
Luckily, you’re the more adventurous.
Enoki for short, enokitake mushrooms are delicate white mushrooms with long, thin stems native to China, Japan, and Korea. Though enoki are commonly used in cooking, they have been found to contain a host of nutritional benefits along with their great flavor.
The Origin of Enoki Mushroom’s Name
Enoki’s full name is Enokitake. “Take” in Japanese means “mushroom.” “Enoki” in Japanese means hackberry, which is the tree that enoki mushrooms most commonly grow on. It also has nicknames like “velvet foot,” “snow puff mushroom,” and “winter mushroom.” It gets these chilly names because it is best harvested as a wild mushroom in late fall and early winter. Its scientific name is Flammulina velutipes.
Nutrition in Enoki Mushrooms
Enokitake mushrooms can help fill nutritional gaps in your diet, as it is an excellent source of niacin (vitamin B3)[*]. One hundred grams of enoki mushroom is a good source of fiber with 2.7 grams of fiber[*].
It has antioxidant properties that may help to fight free radicals in your body[*]. One of the antioxidants is called ergothioneine and may help support your immune system.
Like other functional mushrooms it has polysaccharides and beta-glucans to support well-being. It also contains two unique polysaccharides: proflanin and flammulin. Both of these polysaccharides, as well as the antioxidant properties, are amazing and support the anti-aging, glowing properties of your skin. It’s why you may have seen it in skincare products.
Culinary Use of Enoki
Enoki is a staple mushroom in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean cuisine. It is very visually appealing with long thin stems, each capped by a tiny round head. The pure white color of the enoki you’ll find in most grocery stores (including Whole Foods Market) is only found in cultivated enoki mushrooms. Those found in the wild are more light brown.
Unlike the bold flavor of earthy shiitakes, enoki have a very light taste and are most commonly used for texture in hot or cold dishes. You can find enoki in most grocery stores, and definitely in an Asian speciality food store.
One of my favorite recipes is for Enoki Mushroom Fries. They’re a delicious appetizer and sure to be a hit at any dinner party.
Enoki Mushroom Fries
Total TIme: 30 minutes
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup coconut flour (or flour of your choice)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 large egg
1/4 cup beer, kombucha, or other carbonated beverage
1 cup frying oil (we like to use a combination of equal parts grapeseed oil and ghee, do not use olive oil here)
2 cups enoki mushrooms
Handful of fresh herbs, chopped (oregano, thyme, dill, etc. — use what you like!)
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, flour, baking powder, turmeric, and cumin. Beat in the egg and beer. You want the batter to be thick, but still “dippable,” so add more liquid if needed.
- In a large wok, stockpot, Dutch oven, or deep fryer, heat the oil to 325°F. Adjust the heat to maintain the temperature.
- Coat the mushrooms in the batter, dipping and turning them in the bowl. Gently and carefully drop a handful at a time into the hot oil. Fry, flipping occasionally, until the mushroom fries are a deep golden-brown color and crisp all over, 4 to 6 minutes total.
- Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with the remaining mushrooms.
- Transfer to a large serving plate. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and serve with ketchup.
Enoki in Four Sigmatic Products
Currently you’ll find 160mg of enoki extract in the 10 Mushroom Blend. It is from the fruiting bodies only (no mycelium), and has no fillers or carriers. The savory 10 Mushroom Blend is a great base for ramen dashi, miso soup, or hot and sour soup.
If you’re feeling jazzed about enoki, head on over to our 'Shroom Club here where you can ask questions to the community about what you just learned, find recipes, and much more!