Shiitake and Morel Mushrooms are a couple of the best tasting mushrooms, well if you grow your own or wild harvest, that is. Those store bought mushrooms grown on sawdust in dark buildings cannot compare to the fresh taste of log grown shiitakes !! I am on a mushroom kick this week because it is that time of year to search for the hidden little gems, called morels. 🙂
I will come back to the shiitakes in a moment. I want to talk about morels. The first time I ever saw one, it was about two years ago, almost to this day. We had just finished up an herbal workshop and went for a hike in the woods with the group. One of the students looked down and pointed to something dark and pine coney looking and said “What is THAT?” Luckily, there were our two mushroom experts on the hike. The WHAT was a beautiful, black morel mushroom!!! We were told not to take another step but to look around without moving to see if we saw anymore. A handful of morels were found that day, that was all but it was exciting. I never found another until yesterday. I found one morel, just one but it gives me hope to keep searching. This little morsel will be sauteed in butter and garlic and devoured!
Morels(Morechella spp.) – have a honeycomb type appearance on the mushroom and are hollow when cut open unlike the false morel which is NOT hollow, it is filled with wispy cotton-like fibers or chunks of tissue and is poisonous! Morels can be black , white or yellow in color and are prized for their deliciousness. Take a friend with you when you first go hunting to be sure you are picking correctly.
As for the shiitakes, I have about twenty logs that were innoculated and produce for us throughout the year. Last summer they went nuts and I got 5 pounds in one weeks! Holy moly, we ate them everyday in soup, sauteed, in hummus and I dried quite a bit and then sold a few pounds at the Farmer’s Market.
Shiitakes are very beneficial to our bodies. It is one mushroom, if you have to only pick one that you should either grow or eat regularly. Here is what you need to know:
Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) – Shiitakes have been prized in traditional Chinese Medicine for over 6000 years. They are used to boost the immune system, keeping one healthy and strong and used along side chemotherapy when a person has cancer.
lentinan, eritadenine, iron, vitamin C, protein, L-ergothioneine, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B2, B12, and high levels of vitamin D.
Fungus (whole mushroom)
Eaten cooked or reconstituted from dried mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms can be added to soups and sauce and sauteed with vegetables, meat or tofu or eaten in salads. Sauteed in butter and added to hummus is a very good way to eat your mushrooms.
Also used as a tea, in capsules and as an extract.
As a food, Shiitake mushrooms have all eight essential amino acids in a higher, more condensed proportion than soy beans, meat, milk or eggs. The only containdications are if you are prone to kidney stones or gout, you may want to limit your intake since shiitakes contain purine that can be broken down into uric acid.
For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.