Pine mushrooms- or matsutake mushrooms, are a highly sought after Japanese mushroom. They grow in East Asia, Europe and North America. Unlike many other mushrooms, pine mushrooms can be eaten raw and are known for their meaty flavor and spicy odor. They are a great source of vitamin B, protein, copper, potassium, zinc, and selenium. They are an extreme delicacy in Japan and they symbolize fertility, happiness and are often given as a gift.
Pine mushrooms can vary in price depending on the quality of the mushroom. A good looking pine mushroom can cost around 80 dollars, while an average looking pine mushroom can cost around 40 dollars. This is for one single mushroom. Per pound, pine mushrooms can cost $900-$1200.
Price of Pine Mushrooms
Pine mushrooms are considered one of the more expensive mushrooms. To put it in perspective, morels are also considered very expensive, however they are only around $250 a pound, compared to the pine mushrooms $900-$1200 a pound. There are many things that go into the reason why pine mushrooms are so expensive. Here they are.
Pine mushrooms need a very specific habitat in order to grow. They can only grow in the roots of red pine forests. Red pine forests have been shrinking in recent years because of an invasive worm species that are killing the trees.
Time of Year
These mushrooms only grow when the weather is just right. In Japan, they only grow for one month out of the year. From early September to early October are when these mushrooms grow and are able to be harvested. Those who know when to harvest these mushrooms are rewarded and are considered masters because it is so difficult to time them just right. In the West, these mushrooms can be harvested from September to January.
Hard to Farm
Because these mushrooms have such specific growing needs, they are extremely hard to cultivate and grow artificially.
In the past few years, these mushrooms are now considered a threatened species since the forests are dying, in turn leaving the mushrooms without a habitat to grow in. This makes it extremely hard to buy and sell the pine mushrooms.
The pine mushroom is beautiful and delicious, but has so many troubling factors. With all of these things combined is why the pine mushroom is so expensive, highly sought after, and considered a delicacy. However, if you ever have the chance to eat a pine mushroom, absolutely go for it because they are amazing!