This dark brown Japanese wild mushroom has a dense, meaty texture and nutty, fragrant flavor. These mushrooms can be cooked by a variety of methods including braising, grilling, steaming and frying.
Matsutake is the common name for a highly sought mycorrhizal mushroom that grows in Asia, Europe, and North America. It is prized in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese cuisine for its distinct spicy-aromatic odor.
Matsutake mushrooms grow under trees and are usually concealed under litter on the forest floor, forming a symbiotic relationship with roots of various tree species. Matsutakes grow in Canada, China, Estonia, Finland, Japan, Korea, Laos, Norway, the United States, Poland, and Sweden, among other countries. In Korea and Japan, matsutake mushrooms are most commonly associated with Pinus densiflora.
Though simple to harvest, matsutake are hard to find because of their specific growth requirements and the rarity of appropriate forest and terrain, combined with competition from local folk and wild animals such as squirrel, rabbits and deer for the once-yearly harvest of mushrooms, causing the price to be very high at times or as low as $2 per pound for pickers when the market will bear it.