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Introducing the Lion's Mane Mushroom

Hot & Cool Food Trends

Lion’s mane, a mushroom treasured by the Chinese for its medicinal benefits, is now expected to provide exciting new opportunities for farmers and mushroom enthusiasts in the Western world. Or so says Ken Mudge, associate professor of horticulture at Cornell University.

The seafood-like texture and flavor-absorbing properties make lion’s mane an excellent candidate for culinary experimentation, Mudge says. He anticipates that chefs will be eager to try create new recipes using the tasty fungus.

As reported on the website Futurity.org, Mudge recently conducted a two-day workshop for farmers on the cultivation of both lion’s mane and shiitake mushrooms at the Arnot Teaching and Research Forest at Cornell.

Today, lion’s mane is mostly grown commercially indoors, in sawdust. Shiitake can also be grown that way, but most consumers prefer the flavor of those grown outdoors, Mudge says. He believes lion’s mane has great potential for growing outdoors on logs drilled with holes and inoculated with sawdust colonized with mushroom mycelium. The logs are sealed with wax and stacked in the shade and left for a year.

Lion’s mane is considered a real gourmet item, Mudge says, and could be a nice addition to a farmer’s collection of crops.

It may not be showing up on your plate this week or next, but be on the lookout for lion’s mane mushrooms to be working their way onto restaurant menus in the not-too-distant future.

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