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Latest Shiitake Crop

shiitake11-7.jpgThis is the second fruiting from the logs I harvested in February. As I pointed out in a previous article, it is better to cut logs in the winter (or at the end thereof) before the leaves start budding. This is because the carbohydrates are at a maximum in the trunk (before the sugars move up to produce leaves etc). Anyhow, because the leaves had just started budding,  it was not the optimal time to harvest the logs, but you take what you can get. It has been about 8 months ago and I have had about 2 fruitings now (the latest pictured from a couple of weeks ago being the most productive).

I got the logs through the hot NE Florida summer by storing them in a shady spot, covering them with burlap and wetting them occasionally.  Once the cool, damp fall set in, the logs startng “pinning.” With this latest fruiting, I was able to harvest about 2 bags full (there are a total of 8 logs).  If picked before the gill margins are fully extended, shiitake will store for several days in the fridge. I did have additional ones for which I was able to produce another bag of dried ones (for which I used a dehydrator).  If you can get a hold of a few oak logs, this is a great way to obtain additional protein from your garden!

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