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  • Santa Cruz Fungi

Turkey Tail Mushroom

Common Names: Yun Zhi, Kawaratake, Krestin, PSK, PSP

​TASTING NOTES

SEASON

Slight Bitter Aftertaste, Mild Earthy

Cultivated Year Round

SOURCE

TYPE

Throughout the world

Edible Cultivated + Wild Mushroom

FRIDGE LIFE

FRUITING BODY

Dry after harvesting

A variety of brown, grey, blue, beige colors that resemble turkey tail feathers

POISONOUS LOOK-A-LIKES

SCIENTIFIC NAME

None

Trametes versicolor, Coriolus versicolor

PERSONALITY

GLAMOUR SHOT


Illustration of 3 turkey tail mushrooms with eyes


Photo of turkey tail mushroom


Health Benefits of Turkey Tail Mushroom

 

Turkey tail mushroom, scientifically known as Trametes versicolor or Coriolus versicolor, is a type of polypore medicinal mushroom with a colorful and distinct appearance resembling turkey tail feathers. It has a long history of use in traditional medicine, particularly in Asia, and is often consumed in various forms to support wellness, including supplements, mushroom extracts, mushroom powder, and brewed as tea. Turkey tail mushrooms offer several potential benefits:

  1. Immune System Support: They are rich in beta-glucans, polysaccharides that can stimulate the immune system and support immune function. They activate immune cells like macrophages and natural killer cells, helping the body defend against infections and diseases.

  2. Antioxidant Properties: These medicinal mushrooms contain powerful antioxidants, including phenols and flavonoids, which combat free radicals and oxidative stress. Reducing oxidative stress can help prevent chronic diseases and slow down the aging process.

  3. Cancer Support: Some evidence-based research suggests that turkey tail mushroom extracts may have anticancer properties. They can enhance cancer patients’ immune system's ability to target and destroy cancer cells and various types of cancer such as breast cancer, making them a potential adjunct to cancer treatment. However, it should not be used as a sole treatment for cancer or tumors, and consultation with a healthcare professional is essential.

  4. Digestive Health: Turkey tail mushrooms contain prebiotics (a dietary supplement), which can promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and support gut health. A healthy gut microbiome is associated with improved digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall well-being.

  5. Respiratory Health: These mushrooms have been traditionally used to support respiratory health. They may help alleviate symptoms of respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis due to their anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties.

  6. Liver Health: Some clinical trials suggest that turkey tail mushrooms can have a protective effect on the liver. They may help detoxify the liver and support its functions.

  7. Reduced Inflammation: Turkey tail mushrooms contain compounds that can reduce inflammation in the body, which is linked to a variety of chronic diseases, including heart disease and arthritis.

  8. Cholesterol Management: Preliminary research indicates that this medicinal mushroom extract may help lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels, contributing to better cardiovascular health.

  9. Antiviral Effects: Certain compounds in turkey tail mushrooms, such as polysaccharopeptides or polysaccharide peptide (PSP) and polysaccharide-K (PSK), have demonstrated antiviral properties and are being studied for their potential in combating viral infections.

  10. Support for Autoimmune Disorders: Some individuals with autoimmune disorders have reported improvements in symptoms when consuming turkey tail mushroom supplements or extracts. The immune-modulating properties of these mushrooms may help regulate the immune response.

  11. White Blood Cell Support: They may help our immune system through compounds like beta-glucans and polysaccharopeptides. These compounds stimulate immune responses, enhance the activity of white blood cells, and help balance the immune system.

It's important to note that while turkey tail mushrooms offer promising health benefits for a variety of health conditions, they are not a replacement for medical treatment or advice. If you have a medical condition or are taking medications, consult with a healthcare professional or your healthcare provider before incorporating turkey tail supplements or turkey tail powder into your routine. Additionally, always choose high-quality products from reputable sources, and follow recommended dosages and usage guidelines.


Turkey tail mushrooms growing on dead log in forest found during a mushroom hunt

How To Store Turkey Tail Mushrooms

 

Dehydrating is a great way to preserve them for extended storage and use in various culinary applications or for making mushroom extracts. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to dehydrate turkey tail mushrooms:

Materials Needed:

  • Fresh turkey tail mushrooms

  • Sharp knife or scissors

  • Cutting board

  • Dehydrator (preferred) or oven

  • Parchment paper (for oven drying)

  • Airtight container or vacuum-sealed bags (for storing)

Instructions:

  1. Select Fresh Mushrooms: Choose fresh and healthy specimens that are free from mold, decay, or any other signs of spoilage.

  2. Clean and Trim: Rinse them briefly under cold water to remove any dirt or debris. Pat them dry with a paper towel. Trim off any tough or woody portions at the base of the stems.

  3. Slice or Cut: Use a sharp knife or scissors to slice them into thin, uniform pieces. The thickness can vary, but a range of 1/8 to 1/4 inch (3 to 6 mm) is commonly used.

  4. Preheat Dehydrator or Oven: If you're using a dehydrator, preheat it to a temperature between 120°F and 140°F (49°C to 60°C). If you're using an oven, set it to the lowest temperature possible (usually around 170°F or 77°C), and allow it to preheat.

  5. Arrange on Dehydrator Trays or Baking Sheets: If you're using a dehydrator, arrange the sliced mushrooms in a single layer on the dehydrator trays. Make sure there is some space between the pieces to allow for proper air circulation. If you're using an oven, place parchment paper on baking sheets and spread the mushrooms evenly.

  6. Dehydrate: Place the trays in the dehydrator or the baking sheets in the oven. Dehydrate the mushrooms until they become dry and crisp. The drying time can vary based on the thickness of the slices and the specific temperature, but it typically takes anywhere from 4 to 8 hours. Check the mushrooms periodically and rotate the trays if necessary.

  7. Check for Dryness: To test if they are adequately dried, remove a piece from the dehydrator or oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes. It should be completely dry and brittle. If it's still pliable or has any moisture, continue dehydrating.

  8. Cool Completely: Once the mushrooms are thoroughly dried, remove them from the dehydrator or oven. Let them cool completely at room temperature to ensure they are completely dry before storing.

  9. Store Properly: Transfer the dehydrated mushrooms to an airtight container or vacuum-sealed bags. Store them in a cool, dark, and dry place. Properly dried mushrooms can last for several months to a year or more.

Dehydrated turkey tails can be rehydrated by soaking them in warm water for about 20-30 minutes before using them in recipes like soups, stews, sauces, or mushroom teas. Additionally, you can grind them into a powder to make extracts or add flavor to various dishes.


Turkey tail mushrooms growing on a molly tree


Mushroom Hunting for Turkey Tail Mushrooms

 

Hunting for wild oyster mushrooms can be a rewarding and enjoyable outdoor activity, but it's essential to do it safely and responsibly. Here's how to hunt for oyster mushrooms in the wild:

  1. Know Your Mushrooms: Before setting out to hunt for oyster mushrooms or any wild mushrooms, it's crucial to become familiar with their appearance, habitat, and identifying features. Oyster mushrooms typically have a whitish to light beige color, with a broad, fan-shaped cap that resembles an oyster shell. They often grow in clusters on the sides of trees, logs, or decaying wood.

  2. Choose the Right Season: They are most commonly found in the late summer to fall, depending on your region's climate. They thrive in cooler, moist conditions.

  3. Find Suitable Habitat: These mushrooms prefer hardwood trees, especially oaks, but they can also grow on other hardwoods and even conifers. Look for them on dead or decaying trees, fallen logs, and branches.

  4. Search in the Right Weather: Ideal weather conditions include rainy periods followed by mild, cool weather. These conditions promote mushroom growth. You can start your hunt a day or two after a good rain.

  5. Be Observant: When searching, pay attention to the details. Look for fruiting clusters of fan-shaped mushrooms that have a smooth, white-to-beige surface. Oyster mushrooms can vary in size, but they generally have caps that range from 2 to 10 inches (5 to 25 cm) across.

  6. Use a Knife: When harvesting, use a knife to cut the mushrooms from the substrate (tree or log). Be careful not to damage the mycelium, which is the mushroom's underground network. Leave some mushrooms behind to allow for future growth.

  7. Inspect Carefully: After harvesting, inspect each mushroom carefully to ensure it's an oyster mushroom and not a look-alike species. Some mushrooms can be toxic, so it's crucial to be 100% certain of your identification.

  8. Leave No Trace: Practice responsible foraging by leaving the environment as you found it. Avoid damaging trees or disturbing the ecosystem while searching for mushrooms.

  9. Safety First: When in doubt about the identification of a mushroom, don't consume it. Some toxic mushrooms can resemble oyster mushrooms closely. If you're new to foraging, consider going with an experienced forager or mycologist to confirm your haul.

Remember that foraging carries inherent risks, and accurate identification is paramount. It's advisable to consult field guides or experienced foragers and consider taking a mushroom identification course before embarking on a foraging expedition. Always exercise caution and prioritize safety.



Recipes We Love: Health Benefits of Turkey Tail for Your Immune System, Improved Overall Gut Health + Gut Microbiome

 

Turkey tail mushrooms are not typically sought after for culinary purposes due to their tough and woody texture. Instead, they are valued for their beneficial compounds as a medicinal mushroom. Extracts and mushroom powder from turkey tail are used in traditional Chinese medicine for their immune system boosting and antioxidant properties.


If you’re feeling lazy but still want to add a mushroom supplement to your dog's life, check out our Organic Turkey Tail Pupsicle that’s packed with the same health-beneficial turkey tail extract tucked into a delicious pup-approved frozen treat.



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