Shiitake Mushroom Cultivation
Lentinula edodes: Shiitake is very nutritious and medicinal mushroom that produces edible brown umbrella-shaped caps. It is traditionally used in East Asian cuisine but can be adapted into many different styles of cooking.
Check out our Spawn FAQ to figure out what type of logs you can use!
Shiitake 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- Indoor only! The indoor method of growing shiitake takes basic laboratory / clean space infrastructure though they are a great mushroom for indoor commercial cultivation for intermediate level growers.
Log Inoculation- Use Plug or Sawdust spawn for Log Inoculations. It will take at least 12 months of colonization before producing mushrooms and tends to fruit throughout the Summer to Fall growing season and after rainfalls. Preferred wood species are Oak, Maple, or Beech.
Indoor Commercial Production- Use Grain Spawn for Indoor cultivation. Shiitake mushroom grain spawn can be mixed into sterilized hardwood sawdust to create shiitake substrate blocks. This process requires a fair amount of infrastructure. We recommend purchasing a book on mushroom cultivation if you are interested in pursuing this style of mushroom production as a hobby or profession. We recommend 'Radical Mycology: A Treatise on Seeing and Working with Fungi' by Peter McCoy, 'Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation' by Tradd Cotter, or 'Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms' by Paul Stamets.
North Spore also offers consultation for start-up mushroom farms and homesteading projects. Reach out to us by email for a quote. Info AT NorthSpore DOT com.
Difficulty: Beginner (on logs) / Intermediate (indoors)
Shiitake is a great mushroom for beginners. They colonize quickly and are the most reliable producers of any species. Great for commercial cultivation!
Cooking: Shiitake has a meaty texture when cooked and is good for drying and reconstituting in winter soups. It pairs beautifully with tamari, ginger, and garlic and can bring needed umami to many different dishes.
Properties: In addition to acting as a general immune system booster, Shiitake can be used as a tonic to promote overall liver and kidney health (Marley, 2009). Shiitake also contains high concentrations of the substance eritadenine, which may be beneficial in reducing blood cholesterol levels (Enman et al., 2007). Beyond helping relieve an ailment, Shiitake has nutritional value due to its ability to absorb Vitamin D. Drying Shiitake in the sunlight will increase Vitamin D levels by more than a hundred times compared to Shiitake dried in the dark (Stamets, 2005).