(also known as Silver Ear/Snow Fungus/White Wood Ear/Bai Mu Er)
Image Source: Steve Axford
At some point you’ll realize we’re a little obsessed with mushrooms. Their mysterious beauty, health-boosting properties, and some peculiar theories of their “alien” origins have us mesmerized. Enter Tremella Fuciformis - a jiggly, semi-transparent beauty that looks like it could be an underwater coral species. This gelatinous white mushroom is an incredible force of nature. Similar to most mushrooms, it contains a host of immune-boosting, anti-tumour, and antioxidant-rich polysaccharides and beta-glucans, which help manage blood glucose levels (1,2).
It has also been shown to have neuroprotective and neurotrophic effects, as it promotes neurite outgrowth and helps prevent b-amyloid toxicity, making it a potential precautionary agent in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's (3).
When it comes to skin, its ability to hold nearly 500 times its weight in water helps protect it from water and collagen loss, potentially rivalling the effects of hyaluronic acid. There have also been studies that show it can alleviate UV-induced photodamage in the structure of skin(4).
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tremella is a Yin Herb, said to act on the Lung and Stomach meridians. It helps treat dry coughs, loosen congestion, and alleviate heat in the body, especially if too much Yang is present (5,6).
One of our favourite ways to enjoy this amazing fungus is in this sweet Chinese dessert recipe below (though for those looking for a sugar-free option, feel free to simply add it to your next savoury broth):
Dried Tremella Fuciformis/Snow Fungus/Silver Ear Shroom, easily found in Chinese supermarkets.
Dried Tremella Fuciformis/Snow Fungus/Silver Ear Shroom
Easily found in Chinese supermarkets
Sweet Tremella Soup
- 1 dried Tremella Fuciformis
- 6-9 dried Red Dates/Jujubes
- 1 tbsp of Goji Berries (also known as Wolf Berries)
- Rock sugar/Coconut sugar/Maple Syrup to taste
- Optional add-ins:
- Dried longan “meat” (the dried longan fruit without the seed)
- Lotus seeds
- Dried Lily Bulb
- Soak the dried Tremella in filtered water until it softens
- Once soft, drain the water and slice or shred the Tremella into smaller chunks, cutting around and discarding the darker yellow underside
- Put the pieces of Tremella, the dried red dates, and any other ingredients from the “optional” list into a medium or large pot and fill with filtered water
- Heat the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1.5-2 hours until the snow fungus becomes soft enough to eat*
- During the last 10 minutes or so of simmering, add the Goji Berries and your sugar preferences and stir until fully dissolved, slowly increasing the level of sweetness to your liking
- Turn off heat. Serve warm or chilled.
Dried Red Dates/Jujubes
Dried Goji/Wolf Berries
Dried Longan Fruit
Black Okinawa Sugar was added, and topped off with some coconut sugar and maple syrup
Cutting out the yellow underside of the Tremella
Getting ready to boil/simmer the Tremella with the Red Dates
*A few final notes - the longer you boil and heat Tremella, the softer it becomes, eventually imparting its gelatinous goodness into the soup and creating an almost “slimy” texture. For some, this can be a little undesirable… and perhaps the “crunchier” texture of a less cooked Tremella is more palatable. So play around with this recipe to achieve a taste and consistency that’s perfectly suited to you.
For more recipes using Tremella:
Footnotes for Further Reading: