Oct 16, 2008

Hen of the Woods

Why the gleam in this young man's eye? He's looking at tonight's dinner. Yup, Carrie and her family were on an outing when, much to their delight, they found a nice crop of Hen of the Woods.

Called Maitake in Japan, and
Grifola frondosa to you scientists, this fungus is a very popular food. They're known for their fabulous flavor and texture, for being bug-free, for keeping a long time, and for having good health benefits.

How do you prep and eat Hen of the Woods? Well, Carrie's family likes to marinate and fry them. I must admit, it looks delicious. Here's a recipe for
Hen of the Woods Salad. If you come across a good crop of this fungus, go ahead and harvest some. And come back next year: more than likely it will have grown back.

Thanks, Carrie. For the first time in this blog's history, people might leave with their appetite restored.

16 comments:

Kit said...

Odd. It looks like a cross between cauliflower and an artichoke. I've also never heard of them or ever seen one in the wild. And I consider myself a mushroom eater and morel hunter!

LisaL said...

Never heard of it, looks weird though. Is it a mushroom? I bet it does taste pretty yum.

Liz said...

-drool- My grandparents and I used to go mushroom hunting, not for these, but I can remember the smell of them frying in the kitchen. Oh, memories.

niner said...

Yay mushrooms. I want to go out and frolic in some woods.

Anonymous said...

Most people get poisoned by mushrooms when they pick mushrooms in a foreign country that look like safe ones from their home country. If you're in a new area, always run by local experts what is safe to eat and what isn't. Mushroom poisoning is nasty business and oftentimes an agonizing death. Don't play around with them.

Anonymous said...

BTW, does anyone know what the texture of these is like after they're cooked? Stringy, gooey, chewy?

biology student said...

There is a similar mushroom in Europe called the nappy clucking hen (Sparassis crispa) with similar qualities. Sliced, breaded and fried it tastes like veal. Delicious!

Anonymous said...

this looks like.. i dunno.. someething run over and left there for a while...

LisaL said...

I can tell you first hand how awful mushroom poisoning is.
My mom & aunt went and picked a bunch of mushrooms.. cooked them up that night, and alot of us ate them (mom, aunt, me, aunt's 3 kids). Few hours later, we were all puking and getting rushed to the hospital.
We all had to get our stomachs pumped (lovely experience there, specially when they tell you to breathe through your nose, but you can't b/c you have a cold, so every time you breath through your mouth, you gag b/c of the tube going down your throat so you throw up all of the stuff they're pumping in)... IV drips, etc etc, the works.
Yeah... not fun at all

Raging Wombat said...

What an awful experience, Lisa. I'll stick to my mushroom bits in a can unless I have experts tell me otherwise.

carrie said...

The cooked texture is "meaty". I, myself am not much a mushroom eater, I detest morels *gack(tm)*

I wholeheartedly agree, please, please be sure of what you're eating. My DH's family have been eating off this patch of Hen for years now, but it's never been so large in the 5 years I've been around. 2 or 3 at the most.

Thanks RW for posting me once again - I think w/winter coming on we're going to be out of the ugly business for awhile. :D

Denita TwoDragons said...

I bet these would make a great addition to a homemade cream of mushroom soup, too... *drool*

Lisa, that is a terrible thing to experience! My heart goes out to you, and I hope you NEVER have to experience anything even remotely close to that again! I can understand if you never eat another 'shroom for the rest of your life!

--TwoDragons

Anonymous said...

We have at least one of these things in our front yard (same place) every year - delicious? It looks like space alien poo - I don't think so

Erik said...

I frequently ate these while hiking the Appalachians, but knew them as "chicken of the woods." Eching Carrie they have the texture of chicken. And taste close enough to fried chicken (even with some of their own garlicky flavor) when fried in oil so its pretty much the same thing as chicken when you're used to eating Lipton noodle packages every dinner.

To those warning against eating wild collected fungus, sure you can get sick or die, but every field guide I've seen tells you if the species can be easily confused with a poisonous relative. And if you read the intro, you'll learn subtle but simple and sure-fire ways of knowing what you're looking at - such as the way the gills are attached to the stem.

Anonymous said...

Erik, chicken and hen of the woods are two different mushrooms. Chicken is Laeriporus Polyporosae and Hen is Griffola Frondosa. Chicken of the woods grows with bright orange shelves with yellow fringes. I have yet to try hen, but I hear good things.

Anonymous said...

OG COURSE you can eat them and OF COURSE they are mushrooms. I am sorry, but why are some people THAT lazy! How were they?