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Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) - often (mis)spelled Shitake. This is not a mushroom you can find in the wild, but it is cultivated here in Eastern North America on Oak logs.

With this one there are two basic ways of growing them at home. One is in self contained kits that are bags of sawdust with the Mycelium growing in it. The other is to buy wood plugs that have the Mycelium growing in them that you put into holes drilled into oak logs. The first kind is good for indoor growing, and nothing else is needed, while the plug type is for outdoors, and assumes you can find a source of fresh oak logs and maintain the right conditions.

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There are many ways to use them, chopped up in stir-fry's, in soups, and many others. Use the recipe search link to get some ideas from others. Unless you are using just to flavor soups, pull off the stem before cooking, as the stem is tough, and doesn't cook soft. Also, give a quick check under each one to make sure there isn't a bug hiding in the gills. You can always rinse them to be sure.

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Important Notes when Identifying
Some Cautions
Dangerous Plants to Avoid Touching

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