No you aren’t called for a Halloween party, nor are you invited for an anatomy class. Don’t be shocked as this is not a cut-off ear that has been ruthlessly spread on the branches of a tree, but it is a species of an edible fungus! Yes, you read it right, it is outright edible! As creepy as it may look to you, they make one of the most craved dishes in the world, today. And, we aren’t kidding!
The fancy name given to Jelly Ears fungus is Auricularia auricula-judae. They are also known as wood ear mushroom and jelly ear mushrooms. Their fruiting body along with their brown coloration and wrinkled appearance makes them a carbon copy of a human ear. It grows mostly amongst dead and living wood. When touched, these jelly ear mushrooms are thin rubber-like, silky and fleshy.
This edible creature has been well-received by the people of China, wherein they like to savor on the hot and sour soups made using it. They are usually of the same size like that of a human ear, i.e. 3 to 8 centimeters (1.2 to 3.1 in). They are mostly seen growing during winter and spring. They tend to expand during wet conditions and shrink when there is lack of availability of water; hence their growth goes for a toss, until the arrival of rains.