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Hey everyone – we have a winner from the “name these mushrooms” contest I posted last week. Although I was surprised Cindy, our little rocket scientist/culinary blogger from cindalouskitchenblues, didn’t give us the right answer, we did end up with another science girl joining the ranks. And by the way, Cindy does get honorable mention for her sense of humor. I have to admit, I love it that we’re forming an online clique of geeky science girls. Very cool, and you do know it’s hip to be square, right?

Michelle from the accidentalscientist (PhD in Biology) guessed maitake mushroom for the first one and lion’s mane for the second, which is right on both accounts. Yeah! Congratulations to Michelle. Of course, she did say her home town has a mushroom festival every summer, so it sounds like she’s something of an expert (compared to the rest of us, anyway). Sarah had the first one right, but not the second one, so this not-so-grand prize goes to our biologist.

Michelle, email me at and pass along your address and I’ll mail you your prize. But first, you get to choose the color – blue or cream. The prize is a Nigella Lawson Citrus Squeezer from her kitchenware collection and it does exactly what the name implies. Squeezes juice. I have one and love it for squeezing fresh lime or lemon juice and the cool thing about Nigella’s version is the seed catcher. Very smart design move, Nigella.



Big decision, Michelle – cream or blue? Aren’t they cute?!

Nutrition notes
Maitake mushroom:
this mushroom’s scientific name is grifola frondosa, referring to the mythical half-lion, half-eagle beast, the griffin (which, by the way, is my son’s name – just the Griffin part). The Japanese call it maitake. It’s also called hen-of-the-woods, has a nice, earthy flavor, and is prized not only for its taste, but its medicinal value as well. Studies show maitake mushrooms as having the following therapuetic benefits:
• activates the immune system
• anti-cancer properties
• normalizes lipid levels
• protects the liver
• reduces elevated blood glucose levels
• helps suppress weight gain
• helps maintain normal blood pressure

Lion’s mane mushroom: this one has a unique appearance and does look a bit like a long-haired loofah. Like the maitake, it’s know for its medicinal, as well as culinary properties. Legend has it that these mushrooms promote “nerves of steel and the memory of a lion.” (I thought elephants were the ones with the good memories – but I can’t remember.) Research supports its traditional use as:
• immune system booster
• stimulates the synthesis of NGF (nerve growth factor), which may protect nerves from
• helps promote cognitive function

Wash, cut and sauté in olive oil and add to rice dishes, veggies, soups, stews, or whatever comes to mind. They taste good and they’re healthy. Yum!

In good health,

2 Responses to “mushroom contest winner”

  1. Cindy says:

    LOL, Melissa what a fun and informative post! No, I don’t know formal mushroom names- they’re all ” ‘shrooms “to me. I guess my mother was too much of a hippy 🙂 Cool, more science geeks! As long as we can all have non-physics conversations I’d love to chat. Glad to welcome another blogger to the block. Especially one that can differentiate a gourmet mushroom from a deadly fungus-laden bowl of leftovers in the fridge (it’s only been there for a few days, I swear it!) I’m looking forward to any mushroom recipes and fungus tutoring you post. I have a nice variety of dried mushroom which I’m neglecting here.

  2. michelle says:

    Sweet!!! Though with a yearly mushroom festival in my back yard, is that cheating???!! I’ll email you – they are definitely cute and what a wonderful surprise! Thank you! I love finding more science/food geeks out there in the world and I’m all for having non-physics conversations, Cindy 🙂 This is a really great post, Melissa – so informative, because while I knew the names, I didn’t know they were so good for you! I’ve been reading about the benefits of mushroom skin-care stuff too…must be all those medicinal properties…

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Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for informational and educational use only and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Consult with your physician regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.
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