The hen of the woods mushroom deliver a savory, earthy flavor that’s absolutely like nothing else you’ve tasted. This mushroom is absolutely fantastic in so many dishes or just by itself when it’s roasted or sautéed.
Also known as Maitake mushrooms, Hen of the Woods mushrooms have been eaten by mushroom enthusiasts and foragers for centuries. Sometimes you may be able to find them at specialty markets such as Sprouts or Whole Foods, and these delicate mushrooms are an excellent treat to add to mushroom recipes.
Taking a deeper look at what makes this fantastic mushroom so unique, we can see that it doesn’t look like your classic mushroom. Hen of the woods grows in feathery clusters that resemble a hen with fluffed-up feathers. It’s also called the maitake mushroom.
Hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, also known as maitake or Grifola frondosa, are a culinary and medicinal treasure trove. These mushrooms are native to the northeastern region of North America as well as parts of Asia. With a robust and earthy flavor, hen-of-the-woods mushrooms are quickly becoming a sought-after ingredient in various culinary dishes for both their taste and health benefits.
Rich in antioxidants and various nutrients, these mushrooms offer potential immune-boosting properties and support general health. As you explore the world of hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, you may find surprising ways to incorporate them into your cooking, elevating your dishes while reaping their potential health benefits.
In recent years, the popularity of hen-of-the-woods mushrooms has grown due to increasing recognition of their culinary versatility and potential medicinal value. As you continue reading, you will gain a deeper understanding of these fascinating fungi and possibly develop an appreciation for their unique place in both gastronomy and alternative medicine.
The Hen of the Woods Mushroom
The hen mushroom, also known as maitake hen of the woods, are edible mushrooms you may have come across in forests. Their scientific name is “grifola frondosa,” and unlike many varieties, hen mushrooms commonly grow at the base of trees.
The Hen of the woods is native to China, Europe, and North America. It’s been a favorite in Japan and China for centuries. In fact, the word “maitake” is a Japanese word that means “dancing mushroom.”
Where to find Hen of the Woods Mushrooms?
You may have luck finding hen mushrooms at your local grocery store. Many specialty grocery stores like Whole Foods or Sprouts may have some in stock. However, from my experience, your best bet is either finding them online or through your local farmer’s markets. You can also forage for them yourself. However, it’s best to consult expert guidance if you choose to go foraging for mushrooms. There are a lot of hen of the woods look-alike mushrooms that can be very dangerous if consumed.
What are some health benefits to eating Hen of the Woods Mushrooms?
A few studies show grifola frondosa may do a better job than other types of fungi when it comes to helping prevent or treat cancer. This mushroom also is a rich source of vitamin b and C, antioxidants, and fiber, along with other important nutrients.
What does Maitake Musroooms taste like?
While many mushrooms require strong seasoning, hen mushrooms have a naturally earthy, savory flavor that delivers a peppery finish. Wild maitake mushrooms are best served cooked, and there are tons of exciting hen of the woods mushroom recipes out there!
How to Store and Clean Hen of the Woods Mushrooms
Here are some tips on cleaning and storing wild maitake mushrooms.
If you buy hen mushrooms at the store are farmer’s market, you can always leave them in their original packaging. However, the best way to store them is in a paper bag. Unlike plastic, paper bags allow your wild maitake mushrooms to breathe. Another tip is to avoid putting them in the produce drawer of your refrigerator. Put them in an open area. That way, they get better airflow.
Most of the woods mushrooms (grifola frondosa) usually don’t have much dirt since they mostly grow on trees. However, it’s best to give your mushrooms a quick rinse for good measure. But, don’t soak them, or else they may become soggy.
Maitake Mushroom Recipe: Roasted Hen of the Woods Mushrooms
Hen of the woods mushrooms has a delicious peppery, earthy flavor that really comes out when cooked. This mushroom tastes amazing when roasted as the edges get nice and crispy, making them positively irresistible.
To prepare this dish, we decided to use Mediterranean flavors. Now, if you wish to use Japanese flavors, you can try this recipe for Sauteed Maitake Mushrooms. Here are the basic steps.
- First, preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Next, using your fingers, pull your maitake mushrooms into 3-inch slices. Discard the stem, but don’t throw it away. You can always use them for making delicious mushroom stock. Also, there’s no need to slice. Pulling your mushrooms apart helps preserve their shape.
- Now, mix your mushrooms with salt, oil, and seasonings. The recipe below will tell you the exact quantities.
- Finally, roast your hen of the woods mushrooms for about 20 minutes until they are tender with slightly crispy edges.
Hen of the Woods Mushrooms: Other Ways to Serve
Pasta: Add then to your favorite pasta dish like Creamy White Pasta.
Side dish: Eat them by themselves or with a savory pesto aioli dipping sauce
Ramen: Try them in a big bowl of steaming mushroom ramen.
Pizza: Add them as toppings to your favorite mushroom pizza.
This Maitake Mushroom Recipe is…
Vegan, Vegetarian, dairy-free, plant-based, and gluten-free.
Roasted Hen of the Woods Recipe
Here’s everything you need to know for making savory roasted hen of the woods mushrooms!
- Olive oil – 3 tablespoons
- Hen of the woods mushrooms – 1 Pound
- Garlic powder – 1/2 teaspoon
- Dried thyme – 1/2 teaspoon
- Dried oregano – 1/2 teaspoon
- Kosher salt – 1 teaspoon
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If you see dirt, rinse your mushrooms and use paper towels to pat them dry. Then pull them apart using your fingers into 3-inch pieces. Discard the bottom stems.
- Toss your maitake mushrooms in a bowl with garlic powder, olive oil, thyme, oregano, and salt. Then place the mushrooms on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake your mushrooms for 20-25 minutes until they are brown and crispy. Serve them fresh from the oven as a stand-alone dish or with a dipping sauce such as pesto aioli.
Below is a video that shows you how to find and clean hen of the woods mushrooms and how to cook hen of the woods mushrooms.
Hen of the Woods Mushrooms (+Roasted Hen of the Woods Mushrooms)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb Hen of the woods mushrooms
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat oven 425°F
- Pull apart and rinse mushrooms, pat dry, discard stems
- Toss mushrooms in bowl with other ingredients
- Bake mushrooms for 20-25 minutes
Organize all the required ingredients.
Enjoy the food.