Three years ago we inoculated 120 sweetgum tree logs (about 3.5 ft long each) with shiitake mycelium. I chose to use sweetgum instead of oak, because oaks provide a bounty of food (acorns) for wildlife so I want to keep as many of them on the property as possible. Sweetgums, on the other hand, do not produce food for any animals that I’m aware of. We inoculated the logs and stacked them near the stream that runs across the center of the property, in hopes that this humid shady area would be conducive to shiitake growth.
When we got down to the creek on Wednesday, we could see from 50 yards away that the shiitakes were fruiting! After running back to the barn for some harvest trays we proceeded to harvest over 60 pints of shiitake! This is by far the largest flush we’ve had from these logs.
If you’ve never eaten shiitake, I am hear to tell you that you are truly missing out. This mushroom is unlike any other. It has a meaty, rich, slightly smoky flavor and is packed with nutrients. It’s great in soups and also delicious sautéed on its own or cooked in stir fry. The only mistake that you can make with shiitake is to undercook it, in which case it will be a bit tough. Cook it low and slow and it will raise any vegetable or meat dish to the next level, or cook it by itself as a super-healthy meat substitute.
If you already love shiitake and buy it on a regular basis from a grocery store or mushroom farm, I encourage you to try our wild-crafted outdoor shiitake. While indoor-grown shiitake is available year-round and is delicious in its own right, wild-crafted shiitake has a deeper more complex flavor and a more developed nutrient profile.
To read more about the various health benefits of shiitake, please check out the links below: