Shiitake appendix & resources
Shiitake (Lentinus edodes) is native to Asia and is found growing wild in the mountainous
regions of China, Japan, Indonesia, and Taiwan. Records of mushroom cultivation date
back around 2000 years. 'Wu san Kwung , who is credited with working out how to grow
shiitake mushrooms in China around the year 1000, is commemorated with an annual feast
day, and temples throughout the country are dedicated to his achievements' Merlin
Sheldrake -Entangled Life.
In nature, Shiitake spores are released from fruiting bodies in the autumn or spring,
traveling through the forest they fall on trees, fallen branches and logs. The Shiitake spores
take over the wood and build a mycelial network that produces fruiting bodies.
Cultivation involves using a substrate which is the growing medium where the mushrooms
first establish themselves as mycelium and use the substrate as a food source to produce
their fruiting bodies. Shiitake can either be grown on fresh cut logs or a sawdust block.
Fresh cut logs after innoculating with spores take about a year to fruit but the log will
continue to fruit biannually or more for three to four years.
Sawdust blocks are relatively easy and much quicker than using natural logs taking about 3
months to fruit. and produce about 4 flushes with a short rest between each one. The yield is high but a few argue the earthy taste is slightly less than shiitake grown on a log.
Commercially this is becoming the preferred method.
Substrate & spawn
You can find out all about cultivation as well as source mushroom growing supplies from
Mushroom grow kits
If the process of spawning your own substrate is a step too far for you, but you really want a
harvest of fresh shiitake, you could always start with a simple grow kit prepared by a
mushroom specialty company. One of the best companies I know is Merryhill Mushrooms
Growing Gourmet & Medicinal Mushrooms - Paul Stamets 2016 (revised edition)
Mycelium Running - Paul Stamets 2005
Paul Stamets website - https://www.fungi.com
Entangled Life - Merlin Sheldrake 2020
State of the Worlds Fungi - Royal Botanic Gardens Kew 2018
shiitake tincture - extract
fresh & dried shiitake mushrooms
Make your own tincture
Fill a litre kilner jar halfway with dried shiitake mushrooms.
Fill jar with vodka or ethanol making sure it completely covers the mushrooms, but leave
about a 1 inch space at the top of the jar. Securely fasten the lid.
Sit in a cool dark place for a month shaking daily.
Strain the mushroom-infused alcohol through cheesecloth into a measuring jug note the
volume then bottle and set aside.
Bring 2 litres of filtered water to a boil, turn down the heat, add the mushrooms from the
alcohol extract and simmer gently for 1 -2 hours until the volume of water has evaporated to
10% of the volume of your alcohol extract.
Cool then strain the mushrooms through cheesecloth saving the mushroom-infused water.
Combine the water extract with the alcohol extract to make your tincture - bottle and store
in a cool dark place
Other medicinal mushrooms
Maitake supports the immune system and has been used to improve the health of AIDS
patients. Maitake regulates blood sugar levels of diabetics and may reduce hypertension
Lions Mane has anti- inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. This mushroom supports
brain health, improves mood and helps to maintain focus
Reishi is anti-inflammatory, supports the liver, helps overcome fatigue, soothes digestive
problems, stomach ulcers and leaky gut syndrome.
Cordyceps has anti-aging effects and boosts immune function. Improves stamina, fights
diabetes, and improves liver function.
by Daphne Lambert