What is a Lion’s Mane Mushroom?
When people hear the name “Lion’s Mane” they tend to think of a fierce, tawny cat prowling the African Savannah, but maybe now you can give a second thought to the much less ferocious but just as endearing Lion’s Mane mushroom. Like the animal of its namesake, this mushroom has white hair-like strands. When they say every lion needs its teeth, the same is true even of the mushroom variety. Lion’s Mane mushrooms belong to the tooth fungus group, a subset of basidiomycota fungi (mushroom-producing fungi) known for their teeth-like projections. Spores, the mushroom’s equivalent to seeds, come out of these “teeth '' which are located all over the fruiting body. This type of spore-release mechanism that is distributed throughout the mushroom rather than in the gills classifies Hericium erinaceus as a polypore mushroom.
Lion’s Mane mushrooms are saprophytic, which means they can be found growing on dead or decaying hardwood all over the Northern Hemisphere and in parts of Asia. But they are not just hanging out, they are hard at work decomposing the woody material! Their favourite time to grow is in the fall but if you’re lucky you may find them out on a cool day in spring. Lion’s Mane mushrooms are regarded as both a culinary delight and a brain-boosting superfood with several beneficial medicinal properties.
Good Reasons to Eat Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Common in gourmet cooking, Lion’s Mane works great as a seafood substitute. Due to its consistency and lobster-like flavour you can incorporate it into any dish that calls for crab, lobster or scallops for a tasty vegetarian option. So try it in a creamy pasta dish, mushroom cake or just simply fry it up with some butter or oil!
Not only are Lion’s Mane Mushrooms delicious but for centuries they have been regarded as beneficial for your health. Found throughout Asia, Lion’s Mane has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for five thousand years (!!) as a remedy for digestive problems. In Chinese and Japanese culture, Lion’s Mane mushrooms are a delicacy and often used in soups and stews where its stringy texture soaks up all of the flavours of a broth. Within North American indigenous cultures, Lion’s Mane has been used as an anticoagulant to treat wounds, stop bleeding, and curb the onset of infection. Lion’s Mane is packed full of antioxidants and is regarded as a natural cognitive booster. Presently Lion’s Mane is being looked at for a potential remedy for Alzheimer’s disease and cancer prevention. Talk about fabulous fungi!
Growing Lion’s Mane
From Lion’s Mane tinctures, capsules, and even coffee, Hericium erinaceus mushrooms are becoming more trendy and sought-after these days among Western cultures. While they do look out of the ordinary compared to your conventional supermarket button mushroom, you’d be surprised to find that Lion’s Mane is quite easy to grow. They are not picky when it comes to their growing conditions, besides loving cooler temperatures (18-21 C). This is why we offer Lion’s Mane as one of our Indoor Grow Kit products--they will happily grow on your kitchen counter once you slice open your fruiting block and trigger primordial formation with the influx of oxygen!
Lion’s Mane will just as easily grow from buckets. If you are an intermediate grower and have tried your fair share of Indoor Grow Kits, you can use Lion’s Mane grain spawn and layer it with pasteurized wood chips or straw in a bucket and leave it in a cool place. You can also use FORIJ grain spawn to inoculate your own sterile hardwood sawdust blocks if you’re planning a small mushroom operation. Check out our Lion’s Mane genetics as well, which comes in the form of a liquid culture or 100mm petri dish. Our team has worked hard to provide the best Hericium erinaceus genetics for you, to increase Biological Efficiency and up your yields.
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