Harvest-shiitake

A perfect specimen, ready to harvest without delay: The cap has expanded but is still curled at the edges, the veil has pulled away from the gills, and the entire cap and stem look plump and moist. If left beyond this stage, the cap will flatten out and become drier and the gills will darken as spore production begins. Use a small sharp knife to cut the stem flush with the surface of the log, leaving neither a gouge into the underlying fungal tissue nor a stub, either of which might invite infection. Use fresh in cooking; slice, cook, and freeze; or dry for long-term storage. You can dry in a kitchen dehydrator, but it’s a good idea to start the process with a full day of exposure, gills-up, to the sun—production of ergosterols, precursors to Vitamin D, will be increased by a factor of thousands.

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