Shitake mushrooms are native to mountain areas of Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, and China. They grow in fallen logs, and people collect the mushrooms not just for eating but for use in traditional medicine.
The mushrooms have a rich flavor that many say is meaty, with large brown caps and cream-colored under caps. If you’re considering growing shitake mushrooms, this article will give you a guide to doing so, as well as explain the many benefits of eating and using shitake mushrooms.
Growing Shitake Mushrooms
You can grow shitake mushrooms in your home by buying some shitake plugs and inserting them into some logs or tree sections. First, you need to inoculate the trees with your shitake mushroom plugs so they can quickly grow within the logs. It also prevents the logs or tree sections from adapting to the environment and allowing other mold or fungi to grow.
Drill holes in your logs and insert the mushroom plugs, then apply beeswax to the logs. Place them in a shaded, moist area to allow them to grow. You should see your shitake mushrooms growing within a short, 6-month period.
Usually, you will see production the best within a full year. Research and determine the best climate to keep your logs and how often to water them while you wait for the mushrooms to grow. It can be beneficial to read some information on hydroponics since part of the growing process will involve submerging the logs into the water to help the mushrooms grow.
Traditional Use for Shitake Mushrooms
The primary means for shitake mushrooms are eating them. And there are a lot of nutritional benefits that come from eating the mushrooms as well. They have a great source of essential vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin D, Riboflavin (Vitamin B), Niacin, Copper, Potassium, and Magnesium.
Shitakes are the second most popular mushroom worldwide since they have a high nutritional and medicinal value. If you aren’t apt to grow them yourself, you may not be able to find them easily in a grocery store or supermarket. You most likely will need to visit a farmer’s market or specialty grocer to locate them.
You can use shitake mushrooms in a variety of dishes, but here are some ideas for you to incorporate them in recipes for an immunity-boosting diet:
- Creamy soup with shitake mushrooms
- Stir-fry with vegetables like green beans (including the mushrooms), sauce, and you can also add noodles
- Risotto with caramelized shitake mushrooms
- Use shitake to create a delicious marsala sauce for beef or chicken
- Chop and pan fry shitakes to put as a topping on a pizza
- Dice some shitake mushrooms and add to your favorite pasta dish
Health Benefits of Shitake Mushrooms
Besides eating them, shitakes also have additional health benefits. Because of their properties, they have been known to aid in heart health, immune health and also help with managing pain.
The most significant benefit of shitake mushrooms is helping support your immune system, and keeping you healthier and free from illness. This is because they are rich in polysaccharides, including lentinans and bet-glucans, which are compounds that protect your body from cell damage and aid your immune system in boosting white blood cell production.
The polysaccharides also contain anti-inflammatory properties and support your digestive health. In addition, they can reduce cholesterol levels in the blood since they prevent the intestines from absorbing cholesterol.
Taking Shitake Mushroom Supplements
Maybe you don’t like the taste of mushrooms, but you’d like to take advantage of shitake’s benefits for your health. Many vitamins and supplements containing shitake mushrooms can help support your health if you’re opposed to the taste. There are also mushroom powders you can easily add to a smoothie, shake, or other beverage to provide you with benefits.
As with trying anything new, you should consult your doctor and maybe test your skin to ensure you don’t get an allergic reaction. You should also discuss with your doctor if you take other medications or have a medical condition, particularly if you want to take supplements.
Enjoy the health and nutritional benefits that shitake mushrooms can bring you by incorporating them into your diet today!