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Maitake (Grifola frondosa)

Overview

  • Common Name: Maitake mushroom, Hen of the Woods

  • Scientific Name: Grifola frondosa

  • Physical Appearance and Identification:

    • Large, fan-shaped mushroom with overlapping caps that can grow up to 100 pounds.

    • Caps are gray-brown and can have a wavy or curled appearance. Underside has pores instead of gills.

    • Stalk is short and thick.

  • Where is it Commonly Found:

    • Native to Japan, North America, and Europe.

    • Typically found growing on the base of oak trees, but can also grow on other hardwood trees such as maple and elm.

  • Historical Usage:

    • Maitake has been used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine for centuries for its immune-boosting properties.

    • It was also believed to promote longevity and overall health.


Medicinal Properties


Cooking

  • Flavor profile: Earthy, nutty, meaty

  • Texture: Firm, meaty, slightly crunchy

  • Best cooking methods: Roasting, sautéing, grilling, stir-frying, soups, stews

  • Best way to store: Refrigerate in a paper bag or wrapped in a damp paper towel and placed in a container

  • How long can it be stored: Up to 7 days

  • Nutritional value: Low in calories, high in fiber, vitamins B and C, minerals such as potassium and copper, and antioxidants

  • Health benefits: Boosts immune system, lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels, anti-inflammatory properties, potential anti-cancer properties

  • Best pairing options: Poultry, beef, pork, fish, pasta, rice, potatoes, onions, garlic, herbs such as thyme and sage

  • How to properly clean and prepare: Remove any dirt or debris with a brush or damp towel, trim any tough stems, and slice or tear into desired size. Can be cooked whole or chopped.


Growing

  • Time from inoculation of substrate to mushroom growth: 14-21 days

  • Optimal temperature range for growth: 50-60°F (10-15.5°C)

  • Optimal humidity range for growth: 85-95%

  • Best substrate for cultivation: hardwood logs or supplemented sawdust and bran mixtures

  • Expected yield of mushrooms per pound of substrate: 1-2 pounds

  • When to harvest: before the fronds become fully expanded, when the edges are still curled inwards

  • How to harvest: twist and pull the base of the cluster gently to remove from the substrate

  • Storage and preservation technique for harvested mushrooms: refrigerate in a paper bag or wrapped in a damp cloth for up to one week. Can also be dried or frozen for long-term storage.

Mushroom Gallery

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