Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

BRAAAAAIIINNNS!

I got a kit to grow Lion’s Mane mushrooms from Fungi Perfecti. It’s awesome because it’s a sawdust kit – you get a bag of sawdust fully colonized with mycelium, then all you do is cut slits in the plastic to induce fruiting and keep it moist. I’ve grown Portobellos twice – they must be segregated in a low-light area, and as they’re manure-based kits do seem to develop a case of gnats towards the end. The Lion’s Mane needs indirect light so can be kept in your actual living area.

Just like all kits – when the sawdust runs out of nutrients, you can use the still-living mycelium to inoculate logs in your backyard, to keep the crop going for years. (Check out the awesome Mycelium Running, which is worth reading anyway, for more details.) Lion’s Mane is reported to aid the nervous system, so Paul Stamets recommends a backyard log as a wonderful resource for families with a history of Alzheimer’s, etc.

More pictures and a taste report:

Spines beginning to form:

Plushy! Now that would be something to reproduce in foam or fiber…

Getting more mature and spikier:

Internal structure:

Slices:

Taste? Hmm… I sauteed chunks with olive oil, garlic and scallions as the accompanying handbook suggested and …. eh. They didn’t really taste like anything, except for a somewhat sourish, bitter aftertaste which was probably due to me using extra-virgin olive oil instead of a milder cooking oil. (Mushrooms are essentially sponges, and soak up the flavors of whatever you cook them with.) Unfortunately this was enough for my husband to go Eeuuuww and refuse to touch them ever again.  When I dipped them in tamari, they tasted wonderful, like… tamari. Which will work. I am sure when I chop them up with other mushes in a steamed dumpling, he won’t notice.

These certainly fit the criteria of something I can grow here, which is rare-to-unavailable commercially, perennial (will crop repeatedly with minimal intervention), and extremely nutritious – so I am satisfied with the experiment and plan to try inoculating some logs this summer.

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