Wood Ear fungus is for the braver of the foragers amongst you – as it looks and feels distinctly like a cold, clammy ear. However it’s prized for its anti-inflammatory properties, eaten to relieve tonsillitis, swelling, but is also regarded as a powerful anti-carcinogen, used to prevent and treat tumours. It is used in restaurants in soups and stews and we have supplied 36 on the Quay and the award-winning Earl of March in Lavant.
Adam, the head chef of the Earl of March, uses the wood ear whole, blanching it slightly, before sauteeing in seasoned butter and the rendered fat of wild duck such as Widgeon. It goes well alongside aromatic salt baked heritage carrots. Another use is to pickle them for use alongside a game terrine.
The wood ear fungus is available all year round, but it growing in abundance in this wet weather at the moment. It grows on rotten Elder branches and with almost no other foraging available at this time of year, provides a good excuse for a walk.