The maitake mushroom, also known as “hen-of- the-woods,” due to resembling the ruffled feathers of a hen, is a “polypore” mushroom (meaning: a mushroom that forms large growths on tree stumps and logs), and is recognized widely for its potent nutritional and medicinal properties.
Native to Japan, maitake have long been believed to promote longevity, and research on the mushroom’s health-boosting attributes have been conducted in Japan since the 1980s, and increasingly in the United States. Among the multitude of health benefits traditionally believed, and now supported by research, maitake mushrooms help to boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, improve overall cardiovascular health, and protect against diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.
Such extraordinary benefits are undoubtedly attractive to health-conscious foodies; as if that’s not enough, the mushroom also boasts an uncommonly rich, nuanced flavor, containing natural flavor-enhancers that provide umami (the “pleasant savory taste” commonly found in Japanese dishes).
Add to stir-fry, cook with soba or ramen, or simply sautee with olive oil and salt, the ease of cooking, once washed and diced, is surely an additional distinguishing feature from more common fungi. We’re proud to offer delicious and bountiful quantities of maitake each week, and we hope you enjoy these health-promoting, umami-rich, easy-to-cook mushrooms.
Photo by Victoria Norkin