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How To Cook Lion’s Mane Mushrooms?

Summer and fall are the perfect times of year to enjoy a fresh crop of lion’s mane mushrooms, but you can eat them any time of year if you have some dried or frozen. But maybe you’ve just returned from your first harvest and you’re not quite sure what to do with them. In this article, we’ll talk about how to cook lion’s mane mushrooms as well as some related culinary questions.

How Do You Rehydrate a Lion’s Mane Mushroom?

how do you rehydrate a lion's mane mushroom

There is no special trick for rehydrating dried lion’s mane mushrooms. Like other mushroom types, they absorb water well and are easy to reconstitute.

Place your dried lion’s manes in a bowl and fill the bowl with water. The mushrooms will tend to float to the surface, so you may want to turn them over a few times as they soak. 

Let the bowl of mushrooms and water stand for about 30 minutes. This will not only reconstitute them, but will further clean them.

Once the mushrooms are reconstituted, they can be used just as you would use fresh mushrooms: eaten as is, sauteed or boiled, and added to recipes.

Keep in mind, there isn’t always a need to reconstitute dried mushrooms. You can powder lion’s manes and add them to many recipes as a flavoring.

Dried lion’s mane, in particular, tends to have a mildly chocolate flavor, which makes it a great addition to hot cocoa or chocolate desserts.

Also, if you plan to cook your dried lion’s manes by boiling, you don’t need to reconstitute them first. They will become rehydrated during the boiling process.

If boiling dried mushrooms, add some extra water to the pot, and make sure you stir them around frequently so all parts of the mushroom pieces are exposed to the water. You may want to cook them a little longer than you would fresh mushrooms, about 20 to 30 minutes depending on how thick the pieces are.

Because all mushrooms absorb water, powdered lion’s manes can serve as a thickener for sauces and soups. Be aware of this anytime you add them as a flavoring, and be sure to add plenty of water to avoid over-thickening or letting your recipes go dry.

Can You Eat Lion’s Mane Mushroom Raw?

According to Healthline, lion’s mane mushrooms can be eaten in several different forms, including raw. While many sources recommend cooking or drying the mushrooms before eating them, the most health benefits can be obtained by eating them raw.

That said, food sensitivities are always a possibility with new foods. It’s a good idea to eat a small amount of lion’s mane first if you’ve never had this type of mushroom before. 

If you’re foraging for mushrooms in the wild, cut off just a small piece of a lion’s mane to start. You can eat it raw on the spot or take it home and cook it. 

Starting with a small amount will allow you to see if you like the taste, and if you develop any sensitivities to it, eating only a small amount will hopefully limit the reaction you experience.

What Does Lion’s Mane Mushroom Taste Like?

what does lion's mane mushroom taste like

Lion’s mane mushrooms are sometimes considered to have a very bland flavor, which makes them a great choice if you don’t like the overwhelming taste of some mushroom varieties. Most people agree that they taste earthy, nutty, and mild. 

Lion’s mane is one of the most mild tasting mushrooms, but it also has some unexpected undertones. Some people say it has a mildly seafood taste, similar to crab or lobster.

On the other hand, dried and powdered lion’s mane tastes slightly different than fresh or cooked. It can be added to hot chocolate drinks because it is often described as having a mild chocolate flavor.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom Recipes

Whether using fresh, frozen, or dried mushrooms, there are so many different things you can do with lion’s manes. For example, you can easily saute them in butter or oil for about 10 to 15 minutes, or boil in water for about 15 to 20 minutes, adding the seasonings of your choice.

Mix in some dehydrated and powdered lion’s mane with hot chocolate or other drinks for a unique flavor combination. 

And, if you’re feeling particularly ambitious, check out these two recipes below:

Lion’s Mane Crab Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lion’s mane mushrooms
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • ¼ cup scallion, minced
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper, minced
  • ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs of choice (tarragon, parsley, and cilantro are good choices)
  • 1 Tbsp sauce of choice (worcestershire sauce and ketchup are good choices)
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning (or mix of salt, paprika, and cayenne)
  • 1 egg
  • Salt to taste
  • All-purpose flour
  • Oil for cooking
  • Fresh greens for serving
  • Spicy mayonnaise for serving, optional
  • Chives, optional
  • Lemon slices, optional

Take your mushrooms and tear them into small bite-sized pieces. Place them in a skillet with water and salt and let them simmer, or “sweat,” for 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat and allow the mushrooms to cool enough to handle them. Remove them from the skillet by handfuls, squeezing out the excess liquid before placing them in a large mixing bowl.

Add in the minced scallion and pepper, the breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, herbs, sauce, seasoning, egg, and salt. Combine with the mushrooms until well-blended; the mixture should be fairly thick and hold together on its own.

Allow the mixture to sit for about 15 minutes so the breadcrumbs can hydrate. This will further help the mixture hold together.

Form the mixture into patties using a ring mold or by patting it into circles between your hands. Dip the patties in flour, making sure all sides are coated, and place in a skillet of hot oil.

Allow them to cook in the oil, turning them over, until each side is a nice golden brown and the patties are heated through. This should take about 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove the patties from the heat, placing each one on a bed of mixed greens. Garnish with mayonnaise, chives, and lemon slices, and serve immediately. 

Lion’s Mane Burger

Ingredients:

  • ½ lb lion’s mane mushrooms
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp potato starch or cornstarch
  • 1 cup unsweetened alternative milk (or milk)
  • Oil for frying
  • Pretzel bun (or hamburger bun of choice)
  • Sliced pickles
  • Mayonnaise

Tear the mushrooms into roughly 2-inch pieces–you don’t want them too small or else their flavor will be overwhelmed by the breading and oil used for frying. The mushroom pieces should look like large cauliflower florets.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, seasonings, and potato or cornstarch. Add the milk, mixing until all ingredients are combined and well-blended.

Fill a deep fryer or stovetop pot with enough oil for deep frying, and preheat the oil until it’s roughly 375 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dip the mushroom pieces in the batter, then set them in a mesh strainer to allow some of the excess batter to drip away. Place the breaded mushrooms in the preheated oil.

Fry the mushrooms for about 3 minutes, turning them after a minute and a half. Remove them from the oil and drain them on a paper towel.

Spread mayonnaise on your hamburger bun, then layer on your fried mushroom chunks and pickle slice. Your mushroom burger is ready to eat. 

Conclusion

There are many different ways to cook lion’s mane mushrooms. They can be added dried and powdered to a number of different recipes, boiled, sauteed, fried, or eaten fresh.

If you’re a fan of lion’s mane and you enjoy a culinary challenge, you can even use them as a meat substitute in recipes such as crab cakes and burgers. However you choose to enjoy them, lion’s manes are a delicious and nutritious treat!

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