Lentinus Edodes

“Lentinus” (comes from lentis) meaning “lens” shaped caps. “Edodes” refers to the fact that this mushroom is edible. Similarly to the oyster mushroom, shiitakes grow on hardwood logs in the wild. Commercially, they grow on compressed blocks of aged pasteurized oak, or other hardwood chips, or even sawdust wrapped in plastic bags. The bags are then inoculated with the shiitake spawn.

It takes 4-8 weeks for the mushroom spawn to permeate the growing medium creating thread-like hairs called mycelium. his requires an environment with 90% humidity. Unlike many commercially grown mushrooms no CO2 control in the growing environment is necessary for shiitakes.

When the shiitake mycelium has permeated the growing medium the bag is immersed into water for 24-72 hours to induce pinning. Pinning shocks the mycelium into producing tiny fruiting bodies that eventually become the mushrooms.

After the bags are removed from the water they are kept in an environment, which has natural light and a maintained air temperature of 59-68° F. 7-14 days later the shiitake mushrooms have matured and are ready for harvesting. Crops can continue to grow from the same bag for many months.

Much of the commercially grown shiitakes are then dehydrated and shipped to Asia for sale, as they are a highly valued culinary and medicinal item in that culture. See our Nutrition page for more information on Shiitakes.