Hen of the Woods
A visually unique mushroom, Hen of the Woods or Maitake mushrooms have a delicate, rippling fan shape and grow in clusters. They are often dull brown in color and can be difficult to spot in the wild. They can be used for both culinary and medicinal purposes. “Maitake” is Japanese for “dancing mushroom,” because foragers in parts of Asia were said to be so happy to find this beautiful mushroom that they would dance with joy.
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How to Use Maitake
Hen of the Woods or Maitake have a savory, earthy flavor and a crunchy, almost meat-like texture, sometimes with a hint of spice. While many chefs enjoy them sauteed in oil or butter, you can also roast, dry, or deep fry these versatile mushrooms
Maitake extract or powder can also be used for medicinal purposes. You’ll find a maitake tincture in our marketplace, a great addition to your health regimen!
We especially like these recipes:
- Grilled Thai Marinated Maitake Mushrooms (Vegan in the Freezer)
- Maitake Wild Rice Salad (Mushroom Council)
- Seared Hen of the Woods ‘Steak’ (Hunter Angler Gardener Cook)
How to Find Hen of the Woods or Maitake Near Me
Maitake is a wild mushroom most commonly found in the autumn months as it has a lower fruiting temperature. It grows in parts of Japan, China, and North America, and has small pores rather than gills. They take much longer to grow than other mushroom varieties, sometimes a few years to fruit. They grow in the wild on the base of hardwood trees, often covered in dead leaves, but can also be cultivated, but with significant effort due to their long fruiting times.
Maitake Health Benefits
Why do foragers dance with joy when they find Maitake? Likely because of their popularity and use in treating a range of ailments. Like many wild mushrooms, Maitake are rich in antioxidants and a myriad of other vitamins and nutrients. Studies have found that they can aid in treating cancer (like this study done on mice), as well as type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. While scientists continue to research the benefits of maitake, it has been considered a medicinal staple in Chinese and Japanese medicine for thousands of years.