Mushroom Spotlight: Lion’s Mane!

I’ve been hunting mushrooms here on the eastern coast of the US for almost two years, without great luck. One of the mushrooms I HAVE managed to find is lion’s mane. It is very sought after for it’s unique and rich flavor, which is usually described as crab-like. Even though the one we discovered was too old to eat, it was a very exciting find nonetheless!

As a beginner, I absolutely love lion’s mane. Unlike some other choice mushroom varieties, lions mane is very easy to identify. It’s only close lookalike is bear’s tooth which is also edible. Lion’s mane is usually white or pale yellow with long teeth giving it a hairy appearance. It doesn’t mind cold weather, so here in Virginia you can find it from October until around March. If you decide to go looking yourself, head to a water-source in the fall near plenty of beech and oak trees. Lions mane often grows on wounds on hardwood trees along the shores of streams, creeks and rivers. I would suggest bringing a collapsible pole and a length rope as lion’s mane is often found high up. When I found one last year, I was lucky enough to have a large fallen branch nearby… and a 6’2″ husband.

A few things to remember when hunting lions mane; first off, NEVER eat a mushroom you are not 100% sure of. Secondly, while lion’s mane is plentiful in some places, it is rare or even illegal to gather in others. Please be aware of your local laws. Finally, if you find an old one like we did, do not despair! Check the spot again the next year as it will most likely grow back. Also you can put the mushroom in a food processor with plenty of water. Then put the mix in a spray bottle and use it to spray your own hardwood trees or woodpile. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a private foraging spot in a few months to a year. HAPPY FORAGING!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: