Grow Your Own Delicious Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms

A spectacular fruiting of a wild chicken of the woods
A spectacular fruiting of a wild chicken of the woods

Who doesn’t love chicken of the woods? This bright orange mushroom, with its chicken-like texture, is a favorite among mushroom enthusiasts. If you’ve ever wondered how to grow your own delicious chicken of the woods mushrooms in your backyard, we’ve got you covered.

A Tasty Alternative to Chicken

Billie found this perfect chicken of the woods while walking her dog in the woods.
Billie found this perfect chicken of the woods while walking her dog in the woods. Photo credit: Billie Katic

Chicken of the woods mushrooms are not only delicious but also nutritious. According to WebMd, they contain 10% protein, 75% carbohydrates, 3% fat, and 140 calories per serving. Additionally, they are a great source of potassium, vitamin A and C, antioxidants, and flavonoids, which have numerous medicinal benefits.

Cooking with Chicken of the Woods

Chicken of the woods parmesan
Chicken of the woods parmesan

One popular way to cook chicken of the woods is by making chicken parmesan. The tender parts are boiled, breaded, and fried before being smothered in marinara sauce and topped with fresh mozzarella cheese. The result is a mouthwatering dish that even meat-lovers will enjoy.

Growing Chicken of the Woods

If you can’t find chicken of the woods mushrooms in the wild, you can try growing them yourself. While traditionally it was difficult to cultivate this mushroom, recent experiments have shown promising results. One method involves sterilizing small hardwood logs, inoculating them with sawdust spawn, and allowing them to fruit in the woods.

Further reading:  Easy Pakistani Style White Chicken Karahi

Chicken of the woods fruiting off a sterilized log at Mushroom Mountain
Chicken of the woods fruiting off a sterilized log at Mushroom Mountain

To grow chicken of the woods mushrooms, you will need sawdust spawn, autoclavable bags, a soaking tank, small logs, a pressure cooker, and a flow hood. The process involves soaking the logs, placing them in autoclavable bags, sterilizing them, inoculating with spawn, and waiting for the mushrooms to fruit. It may take anywhere from 6 months to a year and a half for your mushrooms to appear.

An Alternative Method

If you don’t have access to a pressure cooker and a flow hood, there is still hope. Submerging the logs in cold water for an extended period of time can help ferment and sterilize them. After soaking, follow the same steps as the previous method to grow your own chicken of the woods mushrooms.

Fully colonized logs fresh out of the bags, and set out in the woods. Now we wait.
Fully colonized logs fresh out of the bags, and set out in the woods. Now we wait. Photo credit: Travis Harvell

Enjoy Your Own Harvest

Now you have the knowledge and steps to grow your own chicken of the woods mushrooms. Gone are the days of being envious of others’ harvests. With a little patience and effort, you can enjoy the delicious taste of these mushrooms right from your own garden.

Explore More Mushrooms

Cultivated maitake / hen of the woods fruiting on the Mushroom Mountain trail.
Cultivated maitake / hen of the woods fruiting on the Mushroom Mountain trail. Photo credit: Barry Hinton

If you’re interested in cultivating other mushrooms, you can try the same method with maitake, cauliflower, and beefsteak mushrooms. Experiment with different varieties and expand your mushroom-growing skills.

Please share your pictures and experiences with us. We’d love to hear how these methods worked for you. Happy growing!

Further reading:  Chicken Tacos al Carbon

Hugs, Olga

Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ