we will begin our first homestead mushroom adventure next week, when my father comes to help me cut 30 to 40 red oak mushroom logs for our spring mushroom inoculation!

my father has raised mushrooms before and he is going to be a great resource when we start this mushroom adventure.

on the eve of cutting our mushroom logs–in 3 and 4 foot lengths–i’ve been doing some research on which mushrooms we want to begin raising this year.

here is a summary of what i’ve found on the 4 mushroom types we’re interested in raising, including the health benefits, flavor profile, and the meaning of the mushroom names (how i love to learn about the meaning of names!).


drying shiitake mushrooms, photo courtesy jmurawski

shiitake (lentinula edores)

  • shii is the name of the tree, related to beech and oak, that these mushrooms naturally grow on in japan, and take simply means “mushroom.”
  • this mushroom is the species that my father has experience raising and we plan to inoculate most of our logs with these spores.
  • shiitake, like all of the mushrooms mentioned here, are anti-tumor, help to detoxify the body, boost immune function, and regulate blood pressure.
  • to me they taste like calamari when sauteed and are excellent cooked in mass ¬†quantities with nothing more than soy sauce!
  • their fruiting temperature is 50-80 degrees F.
  • their favorite wood is oak.

red reishi mushrooms, photo courtesy Wendell Smith

reishi, ling chi, or ling zhi (ganoderma lucidum)

  • this mushroom’s scientific name means “shining skin, shining,” named for its glossy sheen.
  • reishi mushrooms contain ganoderic acids which alleviate allergies by inhibiting histamine release. they also improve liver function, and thus help with detoxification.
  • eating this mushroom is said to provoke feelings of peace and relaxation.
  • their fruiting temperature is 70-80 degrees F.
  • their preferred wood is oak.

a delicious maitake mushroom, photo courtesy Janet Hudson

maitake (grifola frondosa)

  • grifola refers to the mythological griffin. it is also called “hen of the woods.”
  • it is very popular among mushroom lovers!
  • this mushroom stabilizes blood sugar, blood pressure, and may have an effect on free radicals.
  • their fruiting temperature is 50-65 degrees F.
  • their preferred wood is oak.
  • click here for a great article on maitake mushrooms.

lion’s mane mushrooms, photo courtesy Wendell Smith

lion’s mane (hericium erinaceus)

  • in korean it is called “deertail mushroom,” and you can see why. how cool!
  • this mushroom helps with memory and can even ward off dementia by stopping neurological breakdown. it also relieves digestive tract issues such as ulcers, and can aid is fighting digestive tract cancers.
  • their fruiting temperature is 60-75 degrees F.
  • their preferred wood is oak, but they also like maple.
  • click here for a great article on lion’s mane mushrooms.

for more information or for placing your own mushroom spore order, check out fungi perfecti and mushroom people.