The only edible member of the Monkey's Bench (Polypporaceae) family, Maitake is most commonly found at the base of Japanese oak trees, where it appears as a cluster of overlapping grey or brown fruiting bodies, which may reach over 25 kilograms in mass.
Maitake is indigenous to the north-eastern part of Japan. For hundreds of years, this rare and tasty mushroom has been prized in traditional Japanese herbology. This mushroom has a rippling form with no caps and grows in clusters, giving it an image of butterflies dancing to the Japanese eyes, thus named "Maitake" literally "dancing mushroom". Others say that Maitake is so named because people who found it in the deep mountains knew its delicious taste and health benefits and thus began dancing with joy.
In the United States, they also are known as hen-of-the-woods because the mass of mushrooms looks like fluffed-up feathers. The stalks are often fused, massed at the base of stumps and on roots.
Buying and storing tips
When preparing fresh Maitake mushrooms, wash and soak in water until the mushrooms are soft. Maitake mushrooms keep between 5 and 10 days when stored in a paper bag in the fridge.
EDULIS FOOD GROUP offers a constant supply of imported fresh Maitake in punnets.
Preparation, uses, and tips
Maitake mushrooms can be eaten fresh, made into a tea (using dried pieces) or taken as a supplement.
Maitake seems to be one of the most extensively researched herbs and a number of research papers have been published by various institutes and universities. The health benefits demonstrated by Maitake include immune system support, normal blood pressure support, normal blood sugar metabolism and normal cholesterol support.* Further laboratory studies and extensive clinical studies are under way in collaboration with leading research institutes both in the United States and in Japan.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Not documented. Nutritional analyses currently being conducted. Will update when completed.