Hen of the Woods, prime for the choosing. Hen of the Woods mushrooms are members of the “superior” class of wild edible mushrooms. Cultivated hens are known as “Maitake” (pronounced my-tahk-ee), however they are very tough to grow indoors consistently. If you’re fortunate to seek out them in the wild, you can find them growing in late summer season and early fall, typically at the base of isolated oak stumps or growing out of radiating buried roots. You can revisit that stump, often for years, and find a hens roosting there each fall. Crunchy even when cooked, wealthy in flavor, autumnal in shade, they’re a beloved mushroom to people who know them. It’s going to possible take many acres of searching to discover a hen, but once you do, it may be a primary photographic moment earlier than harvest and hitting the pan! Often blends into the landscape. No plucking is a perk! Hen of the Woods actually can seem like a hen taking a sand bath. Fortunately, if you have entry to oak logs, you possibly can develop them outdoors yourself. Maitake is a weak competitor. Inoculated logs will fruit for years each fall, however often need 16-18 months after inoculation for fruiting to start. Like rising Shiitake or Oyster mushrooms on wood logs, you will inoculate the logs with spawn, but we extremely really useful that you just pre-deal with the log first, then bury the log outdoors and let the fall weather carry on the fruiting. Wood logs include their own protecting bark sleeve which is adequate to carry in moisture and forestall invasion of different fungi, allowing for fast colonization of whichever spawn you plant into the log. With Maitake, however, spawn run is unreliable however we will help it along by pre-treating the log in certainly one of 3 ways: sterilizing it in a pressure cooker, boiling it for 1 hour or steaming it for 6 hours. Which technique is best? Pressure cooking offers us the highest rate of colonization, but it requires an enormous sufficient cooker to carry a 2 lb. Harvest a cluster each fall for approx a yr per diameter inch of the log. Your stress canner should be a minimum size of 12 qts, and you can course of a bigger log if you have a 23 qt measurement canner. This 12 qt canner comfortably suits a 2 lb. Not comfortable with (or don’t have) a pressure canner? These each can lead to a higher contamination charge within the finished log, but if rigorously performed and inoculated in a quiet, clear space of your own home, mushroom capsules can be very profitable. You will have a large inventory pot for either technique. The subsequent best choice would be to steam or boil the log prior to inoculation. Boiling is a little extra uncomfortable to work with, as the log must be boiled for one hour and taken out of scorching water when time is up. We advocate utilizing large autoclavable baggage that may hold up to the heat with all three strategies, but these are essential for the pressure cook technique. Steaming (simply as you’d vegetables, rack on the bottom, a number of inches of water and lid on) takes 6 hours, however the log can cool in the clean pot awaiting inoculation. Full directions come with our Maitake spawn, or call us for a PDF of the instruction sheet. After a number of months incubation, locate a burial spot in your log in a properly drained area with partial to full shade. Dig a hole the dimensions of the log and place the log in the opening (you’ll be able to bury the log vertically or horizontally). If you have a large cooker you possibly can pre-treat plenty of logs, identical to we did in the new FFP sterilizer (see under)! It is also a good suggestion to mulch the area with a skinny layer of wood chips or straw to keep growing mushrooms free from splashing soil as they develop in the fall. This incubated log is prepared for burial! Cover the top of the log with a dusting to 1/2 inch of soil. Be sure that to stake or flag where your log is buried. Ours have been misplaced under the hostas! Try to install the logs where you haven’t seen a known competitor, comparable to Honey Mushrooms (Armillaria sp.) Because it is uncertain how a lot this fungus will rob nutrients from the Maitake log, it is best to try to encourage complete spawn run of the Maitake prior to planting it in soil. Maitake is definitely the better tasting mushroom! If you don’t have a shady spot in your yard, you possibly can set up your logs in a plastic milk crate filled with soil. Keep the crate tended via the summer by not letting it dry out. This log was buried in the course of the 2017 rising season and fruited September 2018. This log will proceed to fruit each fall for at the least 5 extra years. Crated logs tend to fruit a little earlier, however might have a shorter life, in all probability because of the tendency to maintain the logs small enough to suit right into a crate. We dug this log up when it started to fruit just to look the point of attachment. You can bury the logs in a plastic tub filled with soil (line it with several layers of newsprint first) if you do not have a yard. This log is no less than 8 years in the ground. Yep! seems to be like roosting tree poultry! This log finally bore a tiny Maitake when inoculated with the usual totem technique without any pre-remedy in any respect. Is the only one among a dozen inoculated (with out pre-remedy) that actually fruited. If you’re “stumped” for good Maitake recipes, use them where you can showcase their crunch and distinctive taste. Growing Maitake this manner may seem putzy, but it’s essentially the most sure fireplace and economical way to get Maitake, unless you’re lucky sufficient to know the place your wild Maitake bushes/stumps are hiding. Roasting on a sheet pan, they are often used in each manner possible. This Roasted Potato and Maitake Salad is a recipe that makes the most of this special mushroom. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with 1 T of the oil. In a big bowl, toss potatoes, 2 T of the oil, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp of pepper. Spread coated potatoes onto the baking sheet and roast about 20 minutes until just tender, flipping potatoes halfway by the cooking time. Toss mushrooms, 1 T oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper in a bowl. Scatter mushrooms over high of cooked potatoes. Roast 10-quarter-hour longer. Meanwhile, whisk marscapone, orange juice, vinegar, 1 tsp salt, 1/eight tsp pepper in a bowl and drizzle in 2 T oil whereas whisking. Flip the potatoes and mushrooms into a serving dish and spoon dressing over all. Toss to coat. Garnish with scallions.