For many of us, a few recipes may come to mind when we think about cooking with mushrooms. A popular use for mushrooms in the kitchen is to serve as pizza toppings, but today, I will tell you about all about Lion’s Mane and how to prepare it for your meals
As I delve further into the wonderful family of plants and culinary ingredients, I am fascinated by the medicinal and culinary properties of mushrooms.
Colorful, magical, mysterious–mushrooms have had a vast array of uses for humankind: as a culinary ingredient, to consciousness alteration (1), and even fighting pollution (2). In fact, mushrooms have so fascinated us as humans that we have developed theories of how mushrooms may have played a part in our evolution: see the “Stoned Ape Theory” (3). They also have a huge presence in our pop culture–I’m thinking of the latest Star Trek Discovery (4) episode where engineer Paul Statements travels through the stars employing interstellar mycelium.
What are Mushrooms?
A mushroom is a reproductive structure produced by fungi. Fungi have evolved in all kinds of extraordinary shapes and forms. There are more than 75,000 fungi species worldwide, and the list keeps growing. Fungi can be edible, poisonous, and magical.
The fungi species is not a plant nor an animal! Instead, fungi fall under the opisthokonts– a group of organisms that include both animals and fungus. The idea is that animals and fungi had a common ancestor at some point but evolved on separate paths.
Fungi are made up of microscopically thin, tube-like hyphae. When they clump up together, these hyphae can often be seen as cobweb-like threads in damp leaf litter, compost, or moldy food. Fungi eat by absorbing food through their hyphae walls, mostly in the form of simple sugars and amino acids. If these are not available, they can extract them from more complex substances by secreting enzymes. Animals, including humans, use similar enzymes in the stomach to digest food (5).
Today, I’d like to introduce one of my newly discovered friendly species of mushrooms called Lion’s Mane. I take Lion’s Mane in a pill form, powder mixed with high-fat plant milk, or cook it in a non-stick pan or air fryer. Lion’s Mane is great for your health, and it is under examination for a range of medicinal properties, from cancer inhibition to enhancing the immune system. When I consume Lion’s Mane, I feel a tiny boost in concentration and energy. It may affect everyone differently, so I suggest you try it yourself to get results. Other than that, it makes a tasty addition to many recipes. For the best results, I recommend buying organic certified mushrooms that are grown locally or harvesting your own!
Where to Find Lion’s Mane
Lion Mane belongs to the Hericiacase family and resides in broadleaf woodland. It usually grows on older beech, maple, oak, and fallen logs. It forms a spectacular whitish cushion of tiered clusters of pendant spines or teeth, which can be as long as 3 in (80 mm) and look like a beard or mane. The fruit body is soft and white when young, sometimes with flesh-colored tints which become yellowish and then dirty brown when with age or when bruised.
Lion’s Mane is rare and can be pricy in the market. A small container in whole foods goes for six bucks. However, it is super filling and has a delicious, somewhat sweet taste. I order mine on Amazon or pick it up in a health foods store. Lion’s Mane is a great addition to your culinary collection!
Cooking with Lion’s Mane
- Remove any dirt from your furry friend (lion’s mane).
- Cut the mushroom into 1/2-inch pieces.
- Place the cut pieces in a dry pan.
- Cook for 5 to 7 minutes and flip.
- When the mushrooms have released water and start to brown, add a tablespoon of water.
- You may add spices as you cook, or at the end.
- Don’t use oil for cooking, but if you wish, you can add a teaspoon after you turn off the heat.
- Heat the Fryer to 370 degrees–the shrimp setting works well for me.
- Remove any dirt and cut the mushroom to desired size.
- Place the cut pieces in the fryer.
- Cook for 5 minutes. Keep shaking and checking every few minutes, until they are cooked to your liking.
Lion’s Mane pairs nicely with many dishes, from nut dressing and salad, to witch’s brew, and my personal favorite, sushi!
A Few Tasty Lion’s Mane Recipes:
|Lion’s Mane Bowl||Vegan Lion’s Mane Mushroom Sushi||Lion’s Mane Tacos|
(1) Johns Hopkins Scientists Center For Psychedelic Research says Psychedelic Mushrooms could treat Alzheimer’s, depression, and addiction.
(3) Stoned Ape Theory – our ancestors found and consumed psychedelic mushrooms to help in gaining consciousness – defined by Terence McKenna.
(4) In the Star Trek Discovery show, protagonist Paul Stamets (a character based on the real scientist) is an engineer who translates a real-world mycological science into science-fiction concepts. Stamets believes spores and mycelia organize the Universe as the “building blocks of energy across the universe.”
(5) The Book of Fungi: A Life-Size Guide to Six Hundred Species from Around the World – If you are interested in the subject of Fungi, get that book! It includes amazing, well-written text and supportive data on many mushroom species.
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