Shaman Shiitake

Share this post

By Heidi Lewis

Shiitake, Maitake, and Reishi are the venerable mushroom  triumvirate in alternative medicine. They are the most  famous shaman healers of the mushroom kingdom. For classification purposes, living organisms are divided into five Kingdoms: Animal, Plant,  Protista, Monera—and Fungi. These three mushrooms have undergone much  scientific scrutiny and due diligence about their health benefits. They are full  of vitamins, minerals, and protein, but their greatest contribution is betaglucans, which stimulate the immune system.

What makes shiitakes so popular is that they’re “food mushrooms.” They’re  actually tasty, so there’s no need for Mary Poppins-style tactics. In this country,  shiitakes are known more for their culinary role. Hearty and flavorful, they  impart their robust taste to anything you prepare them with. Fresh shiitakes  are considered a rare treat (they more commonly come dried), and some cooks  may not be accustomed to cooking with them. While best if cooked,  fresh shiitakes are safe to eat raw.

Shiitake mushrooms are native to East Asia, where they grow on fallen  evergreen trees known as shii. In the wild, shiitake spores drift thru the  autumn forest until they find their host tree and settle on it in a silver dust.

They grow into the cambian layer of the dead limb, colonizing and building a  network. When spring storms shake the limb to the ground, the mushrooms  “awaken” and bloom in the warm rains. The Japanese and Chinese have  captured this process—their cultivation of shiitakes goes back more than a  thousand years. Here in the U.S., they do not grow wild but are cultivated  in controlled atmospheres, as they are at Mother Earth Organic Mushrooms in West Grove, PA. A division of family-owned and operated C.P. Yeatman &  Sons, this farm has been growing mushrooms for more than 90 years. A small  testament to mushrooms’ effect on longevity, perhaps.

Preparation: Shiitakes are clean and ready to cook. Any debris may be  brushed off with a damp paper towel. Mushrooms should not be soaked,  as they absorb water. Cook minimally—1 to 3 minutes—with anything you’d  use regular white mushrooms for.

Storage: Keep loose in a paper bag in the fridge. They’ll last up to 5 days, but  use sooner for best flavor.

 

 

Subscribe to the WEEKLY BITE

* indicates required

 

Recent Food articles:

History of the tomato
April 18, 2019
How to prepare Ataulfo mango
April 4, 2019
Making the most of citrus season
February 14, 2019
Three hearty soup recipes you can enjoy all month
February 4, 2019
Tempting winter fruits to brighten your weekly mix
January 31, 2019
Easy meal prep recipes you can eat all week
January 7, 2019
How to make latkes and applesauce
December 6, 2018
The food history of Thanksgiving
November 22, 2018
Winter and summer oranges
August 23, 2018
How to make vegetarian sushi at home
August 7, 2018

More recent articles:

Quick, easy steps to spruce up your office space
May 14, 2019
Grilled portobello recipe
May 9, 2019
How to prepare physically and mentally for race day
May 9, 2019
Three simple ways to enjoy watermelon radishes
May 2, 2019
Beehives, swales, and vermicomposting, oh my!
April 29, 2019
Easy spring salad recipe
April 25, 2019
Reduce plastic use with these earth-friendly alternatives
April 22, 2019
Spring fruit varieties and how to enjoy them
April 16, 2019
How to make sure you’re getting enough iron in your diet
April 11, 2019
How fostering psychological safety increases performance
April 8, 2019

About Us

Our online magazine offers a taste of workplace culture, trends, and healthy living. It features recipes for easy, delicious work meals and tips on quick office workouts. It's also an opportunity to learn about our GoodWorks program, which helps those in need in our communities and supports small, sustainable farms.