Posted by Dyson Forbes on 13th Apr 2017
Hen of the Woods is a popular “medicinal” mushroom that has a lovely flavour when picked young. You'll find it growing on the ground at the base of hardwoods such as oak and maple, and it will grow in the same place year after year.
A medium age specimen, large and plump - Photo by Dyson Forbes
Identifying Griola is easy as it has a pretty unique structure. It grows in giant clumps of individual spoon-shaped caps that can vary in colour from pale brown to almost black, but most often they are a grayish brown.
Cross section of Grifola frondosa - Photo by Dyson Forbes
A single mushroom can grow as large as 60 lbs though most often they are in the 2-7 lb range.
Hens and Chickens together, you can see the dramatic difference in colour. - Photo by Dyson Forbes
Hen of the Woods should be easy for anyone to cook. Its flavour is similar to a Portobello, but with a much stronger, more nutty and forest-like essence to it. It gets the title "King of the Mushrooms" for a reason: this mushroom just tastes great! Similar-looking mushrooms such as the Berkeley Polypore are not known to be poisonous.
Like many mushrooms, Hen of the Woods is highly praised for its medicinal qualities: stimulating the immune system, regulating blood sugar, and new research has found compounds in it are beneficial to people fighting cancer. I should note that eating wild mushrooms will not cure cancer; eat this because you enjoy it as a food, not because you want it to cure you.