Wood ears

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Suffolkrafter

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Dec 25, 2019
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Hi all.
Has anyone had any luck cooking wood ears? I love finding these in the wild. I have rehydrated and boiled them but they turn out quite slimy and not very appetising. Any advice on cooking these will be gratefully received.
 

baggins

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Apr 20, 2005
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Dry them, then rehydrate them in cherry brandy and dip in plain chocolate. Best grown up sweets ever!!!
But if you prefer savory, they are best dried and then added to stews and soups etc.
 

Toddy

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Jan 21, 2005
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Slice them up and stir fry them with other veggies, noodles, etc.,
Slice them up and dry them, and re-hydrate them and then add to stir fries or stews.
Very good, nice texture, and I like the taste too.

If you don't slice them up into strips then they pop and spatter in the pan.
 

Nice65

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Apr 16, 2009
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I leave them on the tree
Used to be called Jews Ears but aren’t anymore due to political correction. This this is excellent advice above, not at all good to eat, but I like the cherry brandy idea. :) Latin name, Latin being the system for naming species.

Auricularia auricula-judae
 

Toddy

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Used to be called Jews Ears but aren’t anymore due to political correction. This this is excellent advice above, not at all good to eat, but I like the cherry brandy idea. :) Latin name, Latin being the system for naming species.

Auricularia auricula-judae
Yep, the promotion of medieval religious bigotry and the physical maiming of people is now frowned upon. The elder tree doesn't even grow in the middle east, let alone be in sufficient strength to be used to hang Judas. On the other hand the original British tales of the hag in the tree that one must ask before either climbing it or removing a stick from it, have some background to the reality of a timber that breaks all too easily underfoot as the unwary clambers up trying to gather flourish, fruits, or even tree ears. You hope lady luck's thinking favourably towards you if you try it.
 
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Toddy

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Are those the one that feel like boiled Pig’s ears?

If yes, they are very beautiful still attached to the tree!
:)

I have never felt a boiled pig's ear, thankfully :)
I know that the tree or jelly ears are an interesting addition to dinner. They're easily found, they're easily prepped, and I don't think I've ever seen any infested with insects as many fungi can be.
 

Janne

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Feb 10, 2016
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Felt?
No, eaten! Kind of crunchy, but less so than when deep fried.
Mainland Asian cuisine. Plus in some Central and South American countries, in the form of cracking

IMHO Bolete is the best, but so often riddled with insect larvae and uneatable!
 

Suffolkrafter

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Dec 25, 2019
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Mine were any thing but crunchy. Picture boiled pig's ear left in a nest of damp slugs for a few days. The 'food for free' book suggested boiling them 45 mins. I'll stick 'em in a frying pan next time I think. I do love how they dehydrate though.
 

Toddy

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45 minutes !.... to hang with that. Even a stew doesn't (okay, I'm vegetarian, one of my stews) doesn't even boil for 45 minutes.
Try them sliced up in stir fry, it's an interesting texture and not crunch but al dente kind of thing. Unami type flavour too. Not strong or intense in any way.

M
 

Nomad64

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Nov 21, 2015
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Yep, the promotion of medieval religious bigotry and the physical maiming of people is now frowned upon. The elder tree doesn't even grow in the middle east, let alone be in sufficient strength to be used to hang Judas. On the other hand the original British tales of the hag in the tree that one must ask before either climbing it or removing a stick from it, have some background to the reality of a timber that breaks all too easily underfoot as the unwary clambers up trying to gather flourish, fruits, or even tree ears. You hope lady luck's thinking favourably towards you if you try it.
Thanks for the reminder - I transplanted a few self seeded elders today and made sure I asked permission first!

Despite their scruffy appearance this time of the year, I really like elders and their blooms and fruits but as Toddy says, strength is not one of their attributes and an elder is unlikely to be anyone’s first choice of gibbet if you decided to end it all.

I was confused by the name “wood ears” - I’ve only ever known of them as “jelly ears” or their older name. I did eat one raw once - no real recollection of any significant flavour or particular toughness, perhaps cooking makes them tougher?
 
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Toddy

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I have to admit that I prefer the Jelly Ears name. I know both Tree Ears and Jelly Ears are descriptive, but wood vs jelly for eating ??
Jelly Ears has it :)

I find the Elders trying to come up through my Beech hedge. I blame the birds; they guzzle the elderberries, and poop out the seeds in a rich fertile matrix, and lo and behold the blooming things take root. Useful shrubby tree though. Not only for the edibles, but a snapped off branch will split easily lengthways and the inner core makes a really good base for a hearth board for the firebow or handdrill. You don't even need a knife or an axe to prep it :)

M
 

Dave Budd

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i've only ever fried them up. Sliced thinly and fried with butter, onions and garlic; the crunch gives a nice contrast to the soft onions

I'm intrigued by the idea of rehydrating in cherry brandy though!
 
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Broch

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Jan 18, 2009
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Mine were any thing but crunchy. Picture boiled pig's ear left in a nest of damp slugs for a few days. The 'food for free' book suggested boiling them 45 mins. I'll stick 'em in a frying pan next time I think. I do love how they dehydrate though.
If you fry them, make sure you follow Toddy's advice - any that are uncut (or even large pieces that are cut) have a habit of puffing up and exploding in the pan; in oil that could result in burns, or even worse, a fire!

I quite like them :) - I fry them in butter with plenty of black pepper then stir an egg in.