Grifola frondosa – Maitake

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Maitake (Grifola frondosa) are choice edible and medicinal mushrooms that grow at the base of hardwood trees. 98% of the time they are growing at the base of oak trees.
Maitake, also known as Hen of the Woods, can be found fruiting from late August to early November. They have gray or brownish caps and a grayish to white pore surface. They are named for their appearance, which can resemble a sitting hen.
Maitake are best harvested young, as older specimens can be bug infested or have dirt stuck in its flesh. Maitake are highly versatile. They are great sautéed or roasted. The mushroom also dries very well. They have a meaty texture with a mild taste.
Maitake are known to be highly medicinal. They are used to boost the immune system, stabilize blood sugar and blood pressure, treat PCOS, and they are being studied for use in breast cancer treatment.

Written by Amy Demers, founder of the Connecticut Foraging Club. To learn more about foraging in Connecticut, check out our upcoming classes.

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