Learn About the Pom Pom Mushroom & Grow Your Own at Home
The pom pom mushroom, also known as lion’s mane, is a popular edible that fits its name well. Learn all about this mushroom, including where to get your own!
Many people have heard of lion’s mane mushrooms by now, but did you know these mushrooms have another name? The pom pom mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) is commonly known as lion’s mane, but it also has other names like the bearded tooth mushroom, the bearded hedgehog mushroom, the monkey head mushroom, and satyr's beard.
Many of these descriptive names come from the physical appearance of the mushroom itself. One can look at a fruiting Hericium erinaceus and see the ‘teeth’, the ‘beard’, the ‘mane’, and of course, the ball-shaped bodies do look like pom poms afterall.
Today we are looking at some interesting information about the pom pom mushroom, including some of the reasons why people love this mushroom and are growing it at home. We will even provide you with ways of doing the same, including the use of a pom pom mushroom growing kit.
Some interesting information about the pom pom mushroom
There is so much interesting information about lion’s mane or the pom pom mushroom. According to The Fungal Pharmacy: The Complete Guide to Medicinal Mushrooms & Lichens of North America by Robert Rogers, RH (AHG), “In Japan, lion’s mane is known as yamabushitake. Yamabushi means literally, “those who sleep in the mountains,” and relates to hermit monks from the Shugendo sect of ascetic Buddhism.”
The book continues, “The mushroom is said to resemble the suzukake, or ornamental garment, worn by these monks, and hence the name.”
The Fungal Pharmacy also contains a section on the pom pom mushroom in other parts of the world. “In China, it is known as shishigashira, meaning “lion’s head,” or houtou, meaning “baby monkey.”
The book goes on with another cultural reference. “When served in French restaurants it is called pom pom du blanc, due to the off-white color and shape resembling pom pom balls on the end of stocking caps or torques.”
Whether you call it lion’s mane, pom pom mushroom, or baby monkey, this mushroom has a lot going for it.
Understanding the flavor and texture of pom pom mushrooms
This unique and delicious mushroom is a welcomed addition to any dinner plate. With a lobster-like taste this mushroom is fantastic sautéed with some butter and lemon juice. Its texture is firmer and heartier than some other mushrooms as well, and it will soak up the flavors it is cooked in.
One could imagine that traditional uses of this mushroom varies from location to location. According to Medicinal Mushrooms: A Clinical Guide by Martin Powell, “Traditional recipes include Hericium Chicken soup, Hericium braised Ribs and Hericium Scrambled Eggs!”
MycoMedicinals: An Informational Treatise on Mushrooms by Paul Stamets notes, “Once reserved for the palates of the royal families, this delectable mushroom not only has unique medicinal properties, but also is popular for its distinctive seafood-like flavor.”
Cultivation of the pom pom mushroom
There are a variety of methods for growing lion’s mane or pom pom mushrooms. According to The Fungal Pharmacy, “Research suggests that the best medium for growing the fungi commercially is fine beech sawdust with 20 percent wheat bran.”
We are a fan of inoculating totems, stumps, or logs with lion’s mane spawn. These mushrooms may take longer than shiitake or oyster to establish and cannot be shocked into fruiting, but they are certainly worth the effort in growing. This strain typically fruits in September.
The easy way to grow pom pom mushrooms at home is with a growing kit!
Each one of our mushroom growing kits is 10 pounds of colonized substrate and certified organic. The kit will arrive ready-to-fruit so you can begin growing as soon as you receive your kit in the mail.
Begin by cutting holes in the kit like we display in this video. We recommend cutting six V-shaped holes into the bag; two into each of the broader sides, and one into each of the narrower sides. Next it’s important to remember to mist your kit with water each day. The mushrooms will begin to fruit out of the V-shaped holes you cut into the kit. It takes about 10-14 days until the mushrooms will be ready to harvest once you begin misting your kit.
These bags fruit three to fives times over the course of multiple months, offering up to five pounds of delicious mushrooms to eat.
Knowing when to harvest your fresh mushrooms
The pom pom mushroom grows little teeth or spines that protrude from the fruited body of the mushroom. These protrusions develop as the mushroom matures and they are not there when the mushrooms are young. As the mushrooms mature, these teeth or spines first protrude outwards and then cascade downward to the body of the mushroom.
Once the mushrooms have fruited from the holes, you can simply grab the fruited body, twist and pull. This should allow you to easily remove the mushroom from the rest of the kit. We recommend removing the base of the mushroom from where it was pulled from the kit because this part is often tough. The rest of the mushroom is delicious and ready to eat!