Aug 17, 2019
Maitake mushroom is indigenous to the northeastern part of Japan though it is found throughout the entire Eastern region, as well as in Europe and North America.
It grows in clusters near the roots of plum, apricot and peach trees, but mostly at the foot of big oak trees. Maitake mushroom has an unmistakable rippled form with no usual mushroom cap but rather large overlapping folds.
The name "Maitake" literally means "Dancing mushroom" so called because people knowing well of its delicious taste and of the health benefits when managed to find the mushroom in the deep mountains they began dancing with happiness and delight. Another interpretation for the name is that its beautifully shaped wavy petals reminds one of a butterfly flapping its wings. The common English name is "Hen of the Woods".
The scientific name "Grifola Frondosa" comes from the common name of Maitake mushroom found in Italy and myths refer to this mushroom as a half-lion and half-eagle beast.
In remote areas, Maitake mushroom can grow to enormous sizes weighing over 50 pounds (22 Kg). This is why this giant mushroom is called the "King of Mushrooms".
For centuries, Maitake mushroom was a rare and difficult mushroom to get. In fact, in the feudal era of Japan this mushroom used to be exchanged with the same weight of silver by local lords who in turn offered it to their superiors, the Shoguns, that were of succession of Japanese hereditary Commanders-in-Chief and virtual rulers before 1868.
Maitake is the only edible mushroom among all Monkey's Bench mushroom family and it is considered a first rank edible mushroom. It undoubtedly offers an exceptionally good taste, an excellent aroma and crisp texture making it a delightful addition to the gourmet menu.