Lion's Mane - Everything you need to know
Everything You Need to Know About Lion's Mane
Lion's Mane is one of the most popular functional mushrooms today. That's because Lion's Mane may help repair the neurons in our brain and can lift our mood too.
However, you might be wondering—what does Lion's Mane actually look like, and are there any other uses for it?
Yes!—Lion's Mane has many unique qualities besides its excellent medicinal properties. Continue reading below as we tell you all about Lion's Mane mushrooms.
The Bearded Tooth Mushroom
Lion's Mane's scientific name is known as Hericium erinaceus. Other names for Lion's Mane are the Bearded Tooth Mushroom or the Pom-Pom Mushroom.
This fantastic mushroom can be found in forests in Asia, Europe, and North America. That's because Lion's Mane loves trees—not just any trees, but dead or dying trees, usually oak or beech trees.
They often appear in the trunks of trees, coming out of crevices or "wounds" of trees. In fact, some species of Lion's Mane are parasitic and can kill or weaken a tree.
Lion's Mane is a saprophytic mushroom, meaning that it eats decaying matter. In this case, it loves to feast on dead trees and can replenish nutrients back into the environment.
One of the best things about Lion's Mane is that you can't mistake it for another type of mushroom. Its distinct looks are what gives the mushroom its interesting names.
Most people think about the classic cap and stem type of fruiting body when they imagine a mushroom. However, Lion's Mane's fruiting body looks nothing like a typical mushroom—the entire thing is seamless.
Lion's Mane mushrooms appear as a giant white glob from a distance. As you approach, you'll notice countless icicles or teeth cascading from it.
It looks like the mane from a lion, the beard of a tree, or even a cheerleader's pom-pom at a certain angle. The icicles are called spines and can grow to almost three inches in length.
Usually, Lion's Mane mushrooms are pure white, although they start turning yellow and brown as they age. If you see one that's yellow or browning, that usually means they dropped their spores.
However, they're still good to pick, even if you find one that’s a little off-colored.
Lion's Mane Cuisine
Besides their unique looks, Lion's Mane mushrooms are also delicious. Chefs around the world use Lion's Mane as a gourmet mushroom.
That's because Lion's Mane has a fantastic chewy texture that can replace meat in many dishes. On top of that, it also has a seafood flavor to it that isn't overwhelming.
When cooked well, many people think Lion's Mane tastes like shrimp or lobster. Lion's Mane is perfect for vegans, vegetarians, and people who are allergic to shellfish who want to recreate seafood cuisine.
Keep an Eye Out for Lion's Mane
The next time you're walking through a forest in late summer or early fall, keep an eye out for Lion's Mane. Not only are they astounding to find and observe, but picking them and cooking them in your next meal will be a real treat.