Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Ear! Ear!

There were some strange fungal growths on a couple of trees atop Shipley Hill yesterday.  Brown, gelatinous and oddly-shaped, these fungi are commonly known as Jews' Ears (Auricularia auricula-judae).
Commonly seen on dead Elder trees, in these 'politically correct' times, they are increasingly called simply 'Ear fungus' or 'Jelly Ears'.  Despite their rather off-putting appearance, they are in fact edible when cooked and are quite commonly used in far-eastern cuisine.  They can be found all year, but most frequently in Autumn and late Winter.
They are used medicinally as a treatment for colds, sore throats,  sore eyes (as a poultice) and jaundice.  Very useful!
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