Shiitake Mushroom Cultivation

Shiitake (she-TAH-kee) mushrooms may be a new item in many American markets, but they have been a staple of the oriental diet for centuries. Shiitakes are the second most-consumed mushrooms in the world. Their pungent, woodsy flavor combined with their nutritional value and health benefits attract gardeners, gourmets, and mushroom lovers ... even at $12-26 a pound.

Shiitakes ("shii" is Japanese for oak and "take" means mushroom) are delicious, with a meaty texture and four times the flavor of white button mushrooms. Shiitakes provide high levels of protein (18% by mass), potassium, niacin and B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. The mushroom has all essential amino acids. Fresh shiitakes will keep in the refrigerator 2-3 weeks. They can be used the same way as white button mushrooms: sautéed, fried, barbecued, baked, boiled, and raw.

The very best shiitakes are grown on natural hardwood logs such as oak. Most shiitakes available in grocery stores are grown on sawdust blocks, or artificial logs. While the flavor and texture may be acceptable, the health benefits and nutritional values fall below those of all-natural, log-grown shiitakes. Sawdust blocks are often soaked in water containing pesticides, fungicides, and chemical and nutritional additives. A great way to ensure high quality for either a personal or commercial crop is to grow your own at home on a natural hardwood log.

Call Clay Olson at the Taylor County Extension Office at (850) 838-3508 or email him at for more information about this agriculture opportunity and visit the resources below.

Shiitake Mushroom


Email Clay Olson, Taylor County Extension Director, to find out about the next Shiitake Mushroom Workshop.

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