rik-rat corn pile

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mushroom Hunting in Iowa. Hen of the Woods (aka: maitake or sheepshead)

5 pounds of edible mushroom!

Soaking in salt water to clean the giant, scary looking mushroom.

cut up and ready to cook in butter.
The posse and I went for a pleasant Autumn walk on Sunday.  Of course the pleasant walk ended up becoming a rigorous hike.  We were up and down hills, we tromped through poison ivy, trudged over corn stalks, jumped over puddles.  My back still hurts but all that painful exercise was worth it because of the end result.  At the end of the hike (i was so pooped at this point) I came face to face with a giant, Hen of the woods (aka maitake or sheepshead), mushroom.  And when I say "giant" mushroom I'm pushing it, this big guy was only 5 pounds.  Hen of the Woods mushrooms are known to grow as large as 100 pounds.  These highly prized mushrooms grow at the bottom of Oak trees during the fall...I'm no Dendrologist so I'll just assume the tree I came across was an Oak.  My plans for the mushroom?  They were cooked in butter last night so tonight I'm thinking omelets and maybe I'll look up some soup recipes. 

Happy Monday, friends.


  1. oh my goodness. That's one big mushroom. I don'tknow much about mushrooms except for the occasional morel I find...;)

  2. nice to meet you, troutbirder.

    Yeah, this is all knowledge gained from my last three years in Iowa. Although, I did find a morel patch in Dekalb, Illinois once.

    Look up Hen of the Woods images and take a walk in the woods, they're growing as we speak.

  3. That is one monstrous 'shroom. Good job, Jane!

  4. Thanks, pal. I think I'm going to make soup today.

  5. Mushrooms develop when there is plenty of moisture on the ground and in the air. You can head out one to three days after a good rain. If you go out too soon, well, the mushrooms will not have had time to develop.

    Mack Shepperson

  6. oh hey, i haven't looked at yer blog for a long time. nice one. since maitake is parasitic on the tree, remember that tree and go get one every year. all my maitake trees are oak except for two which are honeylocusts. i was a week or so too late looking for them this year and the critters beat me to them