Ingredient Name: Snow Fungus
Traditional Chinese Name: 雪耳 (xuě ěr)
Targets: Stomach, kidneys, lungs
Getting started on your Chinese pantry? Check out this video on the 7 basic ingredients for your Chinese Soup Pantry!
What is it?
- Snow fungus is also known as white tree ear fungus, silver ear, white fungus, snow ear fungus, white jelly mushroom
- Similar to wood ear, but white and translucent
- Good quality snow fungus is a pale, yellow-white colour
- Snow fungus is tasteless and, when cooked, it becomes a jelly-like substance
- From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, it nourishes the yin of the lungs and stomach, helps moisten the lungs (which is why it’s great for dry coughs), and promotes the generation of fluids in the body
How do I prepare it?
Wash and soak dried snow fungus in cold water for 20 – 30 minutes or until soft
- Cut into smaller pieces before adding to your soup
- The middle of the fungus is usually quite hard, some people will prefer to use only the softer edges
I am a fan of this ingredient! Especially super soft and jelly like when boiled extra long in the soup.
You’ll also notice that if you keep this in the fridge or boil longer, the snow fungus does ultimately dissolve into the soup and thickens it! So there’s definitely a trade off on how soft you want it and how viscous you want your soup!
On top of the amazing support it provides to the lungs, it’s also commonly known as the cheaper and more affordable version of collagen! Although it’s not completely scientifically proven, ask any elderly Chinese and they will tell you that this helps smooth the skin and keep you looking young!
Where can I buy this?
- You can purchase snow fungus in most Asian supermarkets
- Snow fungus is also available in Chinese speciality stores (pharmacies) and sold in bulk
- There are a few sources on Amazon available for purchase. I do recommend to buy one pack and see how it goes!
What is the cost?
- The cost of snow fungus varies depending on where you buy it and on the quality of the fungus you buy.
- Snow fungus has a high amount of plant collagen! This is like the vegetarian gold standard of collagen and can hold 500 times it weight in water (see this amazing scientific article in National Library of Medicine)
- Snow fungus provides iron, vitamin C, calcium and phosphorous
- In Western herbology, snow fungus is considered an immune stimulant that fights infection, especially chronic infections. It has demonstrated anti-tumor activities, protects the liver and fights inflamation
- In Chinese medicine, snow fungus is said to nourish the lungs, heal dry cough, and remove heatiness from the lung
- When used with rock sugar (in Chinese desserts), it can also stimulate the colon and serve as a mild laxative for constipation
- Some believe eating snow fungus will help women eliminate freckles from their complexion and slow the aging process
- Be sure to purchase snow fungus from a reputable source
- Snow fungus can keep very well and can be stored for up to 12 months in a sealed container in the fridge