The common name for this mushroom, 'shiitake,' comes from the Japanese language. 'Shii' in Japanese refers to wood belonging to the Pasania species of tree on which shiitake mushrooms naturally grow. 'Take' simply translates as 'mushroom.'
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Long a symbol of longevity in Asia because of their health-promoting properties, shiitake mushrooms have been used medicinally by the Chinese for more than 6,000 years. More recently, their rich, smoky flavor has endeared them to Western taste buds. Shiitake Mushroomshave a wonderful smoky flavor and a meaty texture. They are great in stir-fries, noodle dishes and added to miso soup.