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Hen of the Woods Cultivation
Grifola frondosa: Hen of the Woods is a tasty polypore that has a similar flavor to eggplant. They frequently weigh twenty pounds and resemble small hens covered with leaves. *Please note: Hen of the Woods is a different species from Chicken of the Woods!
Hen of the Woods Spawn comes in three distinct styles:
Plug Spawn - Great for first time mushroom log growers. Used for small projects. 1-10 logs.
Sawdust Spawn - Used for larger mushroom log projects, or by those wanting to inoculate logs every year. Used for small to large enthusiast or commercial projects. Best for inoculating 10 or more logs. *You need an Inoculation Tool to use Sawdust Spawn! For larger projects you may want to purchase an Angle Grinder Adapter and specialized 12mm drill bit!
Grain Spawn - This is used for commercial indoor production using sawdust based sterilized substrate. You do not use grain spawn for log inoculation.
On Logs - Hen of the Woods will only fruit in oak logs. After a 1-year colonization period above ground, Hen of the Woods logs may be buried under 2 inches of top soil to mimic their natural place in an ecosystem. The mushrooms will fruit from logs and emerge out of the soil.
*It should be noted that Hen of the Woods is prone to being out competed by other fungi. To limit variables you may choose to sterilize segments of oak log before inoculation and incubate your log segments in sealed filter patch bags until completely colonized before removing them from the bag and burying them*
Check out our Spawn FAQ to figure out what type of logs you can use!
Difficulty: Advanced (on logs) / Advanced (Indoors)
Hen of the Woods mushrooms are great for enthusiast growers who have had some success with other species. Hen works best when fully colonized logs are buried underground.
Cooking: Hen of Woods has a semi-firm texture and earthy flavor. It can be ripped into small pieces and added to a dish or left large to be the centerpiece of a meal. We love to confit Hen of the Woods by slow cooking it at a low temperature in an oven submerged in extra virgin olive oil. After 4-5 hours the Hen of the Woods will be crispy and delicious and you'll have mushroom infused olive oil!
Properties:Hen of the Woods is traditionally valued for its medicinal qualities and has been used to reduce cancer growth as well as lower blood pressure and cholesterol. In human trials, Hen of the Woods improved symptoms by over 50% in patients with second to fourth stage liver or breast cancer (Lindequist, 2005). Hen of the Woods has also been shown to activate essential components of the immune system including macrophages, T-cells, and NK cells (Namba et al.,1992). While boasting medicinal properties, Hen of the Woods can also be dried, powdered and turned into a restoring tea. The dried powder has been shown to reduce hypertension (Rogers, 2011).