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  • Santa Cruz Fungi

Maitake Mushroom

Common Names: King of Mushrooms, Dancing Mushroom, Monkey's Bench, Shelf Fungus, Hen of the Woods, Ram's Head, Sheep's Head and Huishu Hua

​TASTING NOTES

SEASON

Earthy, Meaty, Peppery

Year-Round

SOURCE

TYPE

Monterey County, North America

Edible Mushroom - Cultivated

FRIDGE LIFE

FRUITING BODY

3 - 5 days

Feathery brown shelves

POISONOUS LOOK-A-LIKES

SCIENTIFIC NAME

None

Grifola frondosa

PERSONALITY

GLAMOUR SHOT


Maitake mushroom illustration with tongue out


Photo of maitake mushroom


Health Benefits of Maitake Mushroom: Supplements, Mushroom Extracts, and Fresh Fungi

 

Maitake may very well be the superfood’s superfood. It has been a prominent medicinal mushroom in the East for thousands of years. This potent mushroom contains several compounds, vitamins, and antioxidants that are believed to provide a range of health benefits, including immune support, blood sugar regulation, and cholesterol reduction.

Here are some notable health benefits:

  • Immune support: Rich in beta-glucans, which are complex sugars that have been shown to stimulate the immune system. Beta-glucans help activate white blood cells, which are the body's first line of defense against infections and diseases.

  • Polysaccharides: Contains high levels of polysaccharides (complex carbohydrates) that have been shown to have inhibit tumor growth and have anti-inflammatory properties. These polysaccharides help regulate the body's immune response and reduce inflammation.

  • Blood sugar levels: Helps regulate blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body absorb and use glucose from the bloodstream. By improving insulin sensitivity, maitake mushrooms can help prevent and manage diabetes.

  • Cholesterol levels: Contains compounds that can help lower cholesterol levels, particularly LDL or "bad" cholesterol. These compounds help prevent the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines, which can improve your health by reducing the risk of heart disease.

  • Immune function: Shown to help support immune function by stimulating the production of white blood cells and other immune cells. This can help improve the body's ability to fight off infections and diseases.

  • Blood glucose levels: Contains compounds that can help regulate blood glucose levels, particularly in people with type 2 diabetes. These compounds help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin resistance, which can lead to better blood glucose control.

  • Adaptogens: Considered an adaptogens, which are substances that help the body adapt to stress and promote overall well-being. Adaptogens have a range of health benefits like helping improve energy, reduce fatigue, and enhance mental clarity and focus.

  • Vitamins: Two important vitamins are found in maitake mushrooms. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the body from free radicals and oxidative stress. It is also essential for the production of collagen, which is important for skin, bone, and joint health. Maitake mushrooms contain a moderate amount of vitamin C, which can contribute to a healthy immune system and overall well-being. Vitamin B6 is important for many functions in the body, including the metabolism of protein and carbohydrates, the production of red blood cells, and the synthesis of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. Incorporating this edible mushroom into your diet can help support energy levels, brain function, and overall health.

Maitake mushrooms can be consumed in several forms, including supplements, mushroom extracts, mushroom powders, and fresh fungi. When selecting supplements or mushroom extracts, it's important to choose a reputable brand and look for products that are standardized to contain a certain percentage of beta-glucans or polysaccharides. Fresh maitake mushrooms can be added to soups, stews, or stir-fries to add flavor and nutrition to meals.

Overall, incorporating maitake mushrooms into your diet may provide a range of health benefits, particularly in terms of immune support, blood sugar regulation, and cholesterol reduction. However, it's important to consult with a health care professional for medical advice before using maitake mushrooms as a treatment for any medical condition.




How To Store maitake Mushrooms

 

Keep your maitake mushrooms in the fridge, inside the wax paper bag. They'll keep fresh for about 3-5 days.

If you don't plan on eating them within the 3 - 5 day window, we recommend:

  • Cooking then storing in the freezer.

  • Drying in a dehydrator.

  • Drying in the oven at its lowest setting for 2 hours. Flip them halfway through.

​​

Pro Tip #1 Dried maitake mushrooms can be rehydrated by soaking in warm water for 20 minutes or by tossing them in a simmering soup!


Pro Tip #2 → Store maitake mushrooms towards the top of the fridge. Avoid the veggie drawer, it's often too cold for them!




How To Prepare maitake Mushrooms

 

Maitake are very easy to prep - just keep an eye out for substrate on the base of them but otherwise simply cut into the size you need for your recipe and throw them on in! Maitake go well in most any dish or even just on their own.




Mushroom Hunting for Maitake (Hen of the Woods)

 

The name ‘Maitake’ means dancing mushroom in Japanese and is named so because foragers of these mushrooms would dance for joy upon finding one. Maitake mushrooms are native to Japan and North America, and are often found in wooded areas with damp soil and high humidity. While they can be found in other parts of the world, this medicinal mushroom is most commonly found in temperate regions with distinct seasons. Grifola frondosa typically grow at the base of oak trees and other hardwoods like maple or elm or grow just nearby them.

Wild maitake mushrooms have been reported to grow in clusters weighing up to 100 pounds! This is a particularly difficult species of mushroom to cultivate - one which was only first grown successfully in Japan in the mid 1990’s. Despite that, this mushroom has long been revered, particularly by Asian countries. In fact, it was so prized during Japan’s feudal era (1185-1603 BC) that maitake was used as a currency and exchanged for it’s weight in silver. While the price of this superfood has come down since that time, the value that they provide to our bodies has not.




maitake Mushroom Recipes We LovE

 

This beautiful clustering mushroom not only have a fantastic flavor and texture but also are widely revered for their potent medicinal qualities. It’s one of our favorite mushroom varieties!




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