How to know when your Lion’s Mane is too old to eat?

How to know when your Lion's Mane is too old to eat

     This is a very common question. Since this wild mushroom species prefers to fruit in colder weather, often during winter months, it is susceptible to being frozen. Generally this will not damage to mushroom beyond edibility. What first usually occurs is the long spines or teeth will turn brownish.

lion's mane mushroom with brown teeth or spines

     Almost always one found in this condition is completely salvageable and delicious. You just need to trim off the brown areas first. Once trimmed, slice open, smell it. As long as it doesn’t smell sour or spoiled, and as long it is not  infested with worms or bugs, you are good to go.

lion's mane that is too old to eat

     Above: Example of one that is too far gone to eat…

Above: Notice the pink colored worms that appeared after slicing open…

lion's mane sliced open

Above: A fresh sliced open specimen showing pure white flesh.
Above: Examples of older but still edible specimens.
Above: Believe it or not, the top lion’s mane was totally fine, the bottom one after all brown trimmed off still had a nearly all-white flesh after being frozen hard for a few days. No bugs, still smelled fine, still edible. 
     Avoid soggy, buggy, smelly specimens. I have been able to salvage a few that had remained in the tree all winter long here in Georgia. If you are still not sure, then be safe and don’t eat it or take a photo and send it to me and let me take a look…

Happy Hunting!

-Chris Matherly

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