Maitake (Grifola frondosa)
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.
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.
May have immune-enhancing properties
May have anti-cancer properties
May have anti-inflammatory properties
May have anti-oxidant properties
May have cholesterol-lowering effects
Please note that while these studies suggest potential health benefits of Grifola frondosa, further research is needed to confirm these effects in humans.
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.
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.