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The Dancing Mushrooms: Maitake Jerky TWO ways!

Updated: Oct 22, 2021

To debut my blog, I've decided to share something special- mushroom jerky! There are many recipes found online and these two I share today are adaptations from a few different inspirations and I think they turned out terrific!

Today is the second day of the Fall 2021 season which was successful for Maitake harvesting. Maitake is sometimes called "Hen of the Woods" because its fronds looks almost like the fluffy back-end of a hen. Its scientific name is Grifola frondosa (doesn't that just sound fluffy?!). Maitake is known in Japan as "the dancing mushroom" because according to Japanese legend, a group of Buddhist nuns and woodcutters discovered maitake mushrooms emerging from the forest floor high in the mountains. They were ecstatic at finding the tasty mushrooms, and celebrated the occasion by dancing. I can't say I blame them, I dance with joy at nearly every great mushroom I forage!

On my Instagram @chaseherbal, I began my season with a haul of 8# from ONE tree, and though I gave some to friends to try, I didn't really need anymore for extracts so I decided I would try my hand at jerky. Every year I've wanted to but usually just end up drying what I can't use immediately and use the mushroom throughout the year (Cream of Mushroom soup is FANTASTIC with this mushroom, but that's another post for another day). I had mentioned in that first Instagram post that I would be doing a blind taste test on my brother and boyfriend and share the favorite. That would have worked if it hadn't been a fair tie, so I'm going to share both ways today so that if you find yourself a 'dancing mushroom' this or any other Fall season, you'll have something delicious to try in the kitchen when you've finished your dancing. But please, do dance as enthusiastically as possible for as long as you'd like- I mean, the mushrooms marinate and dehydrate for at least 18 hours at minimum so you've got time to kill!!

To your vibrant health!


Maitake Jerky

Maitake Jerky Marinade #1: The Sweeter One

1 cup apple cider

3/4 cup tamari or soy sauce

5 TB raw honey

4 TB garlic powder

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp chili hot sauce

1/2 tsp ground fennel or caraway

Maitake Jerky Marinade #2: The One with the Kick

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce

1/4 cup molasses

3 TB rice vinegar

1TB chili hot sauce

1 TB garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp red pepper flakes

  • For both recipes, mix all marinade ingredients well (even just in the container you'll marinate in- I'm all about less cleanup!), put on to boil a large stock pot of water.

  • Clean your Maitake mushroom very well (I used a 2.5# piece for each batch but a smaller mushroom would work or you can divide the batch with other mushroom species*). Check for hidden critters, leaves, needles, dirt chunks and discolored spots. Cut anything questionable out.**

  • Pull or cut apart fronds in decent sized chunks, accounting for at least a 2/3 shrinkage. Remember that you don't want the pieces to be too small because they will dehydrate down to at least a third of their size and will be crispy and not at all chewy like traditional meat jerky.

  • When the water is boiling, toss the entirety of prepared mushroom pieces into the stock pot and stir down, allowing all the mushrooms to be covered for at least 3 minutes.

  • Drain well and toss in the marinade while hot. Let marinate for 12-24 hours and then drain and arrange in a dehydrator @ 130° or oven on lowest setting for 6-12 hours.

Jerky is done when it is somewhat pliable and dry looking on all parts. Store in a mason jar (I included an oxygen absorber packet) or other airtight container and enjoy!!


* You can use these recipes for many meaty mushrooms so experiment and get creative! I've heard Lion's Mane really is a fantastic meat doppelganger in terms of its texture.

** Don't toss that thick base!! Prepared like you would any other stock or broth, all that flavor really lends itself well to super healthy, hearty and delicious vegan or vegetarian broth. The long simmer will yield so many healthful compounds to nourish your body!


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