Do you refrigerate lion’s mane mushroom?

Quick Answer

Lion’s mane mushrooms should be refrigerated to extend their shelf life. Refrigeration slows down the decomposition process and prevents moisture loss. Store lion’s mane mushrooms in the refrigerator in a paper or cloth bag for up to 2 weeks.

What are Lion’s Mane Mushrooms?

Lion’s mane mushrooms, also known as hou tou gu or yamabushitake, are a unique looking edible mushroom. They have long, cascading tendrils that resemble a lion’s mane, hence the name. Unlike typical mushrooms that have a cap and stem, lion’s mane mushrooms have multiple tooth-like spines instead of gills under their cap.

The scientific name for lion’s mane mushroom is Hericium erinaceus. They are native to North America, Europe, and Asia and grow on hardwood trees. Lion’s mane mushrooms have been used medicinally in Eastern medicine for centuries. Recently they have gained popularity in the West for their potential health benefits.

Some key facts about lion’s mane mushrooms:

  • They have a unique, shaggy appearance with long, dangling spines.
  • The interior flesh is white, with a mild seafood-like flavor.
  • They are rich in bioactive compounds like beta-glucans, erinacines, antioxidants, and polysaccharides.
  • Research shows they may offer neuroprotective, anticancer, gut-health, and anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • They are available fresh or dried and used in various recipes.

Overall, lion’s mane mushrooms are an interesting edible fungus gaining recognition for their unique appearance and potential functional benefits.

Benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

Lion’s mane mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Modern research has started to uncover potential health benefits linked to some of their bioactive compounds:

Nerve and Brain Health

The compounds hericenones and erinacines found in lion’s mane mushrooms may stimulate Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). NGF is a protein involved in the maintenance, growth, and regeneration of neurons. By increasing NGF, lion’s mane may offer protective effects on neurons and improve cognitive health.

Some research has found lion’s mane may help with mild cognitive impairment, anxiety, and depression. More studies are needed, but it shows promising brain and nerve benefits.

Immune System Modulation

Polysaccharides like beta-glucans found in lion’s mane mushrooms have demonstrated immunostimulating and antitumor capabilities. The exact mechanisms are still being studied, but some research suggests lion’s mane may help boost immunity and potentially have anti-cancer effects.

Reduced Inflammation

The amycenone compound found in lion’s mane mushrooms may offer anti-inflammatory effects. Some studies have found lion’s mane extract helped reduce inflammation related to ulcerative colitis. More research is needed on lion’s mane’s effects on inflammation.

Improved Digestive Health

Some preliminary studies on rats show lion’s mane extract may help improve gastric ulcers by protecting the stomach lining. More studies are needed, but it suggests potential digestive benefits in humans as well.

So while more human research is still needed, these bioactive compounds show promise in improving cognition, immunity, inflammation, and digestive health. Lion’s mane mushrooms may have beneficial effects on overall well-being.

Nutrition Profile of Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

Lion’s mane mushrooms have an excellent nutritional profile. Some of the key nutrients found in lion’s mane mushrooms include:

Protein – Lion’s mane mushrooms contain a moderate amount of protein. A 100g serving provides about 2g of protein.

B Vitamins – Lion’s mane contains B vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. These B vitamins help convert food into cellular energy and are needed for red blood cell production.

Minerals – Lion’s mane provides minerals like potassium, zinc, iron, copper, and selenium. Potassium aids nerve function, zinc boosts immunity, and selenium has antioxidant effects.

Dietary Fiber – Lion’s mane mushrooms contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Fiber has many health benefits including supporting gut health and heart health.

Carotenoids – Lion’s mane contains carotenoid antioxidants like beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. Carotenoids help protect cells from damage and promote good vision.

So in addition to their unique bioactive compounds, lion’s mane mushrooms are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free, and packed with essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. This makes them a very nutritious superfood mushroom.

Selecting and Preparing Fresh Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

When buying fresh lion’s mane mushrooms, here are some tips for selecting the best quality:

– Choose mushrooms with long, cascading spines that appear fresh, firm, and intact. Avoid any with broken or slimy tendrils.

– Look for a mushroom with a thick, white base. The base shouldn’t appear dried out or discolored.

– Lion’s mane mushrooms should feel heavy for their size and bounce back when squeezed gently.

– Make sure there is no visible moisture inside the container, which can cause faster spoilage.

To prepare fresh lion’s mane mushrooms:

– Clean them by gently brushing or dabbing off any debris with a damp towel. Avoid rinsing or soaking them in water.

– Trim off the very end of the base, where it was attached to the tree.

– Use a sharp knife to slice off any tough, woody parts on the base or tendrils.

– Slice the mushroom into pieces or leave whole depending on the recipe.

– Prior to cooking, give the pieces a quick pre-cook in the microwave for 60-90 seconds. This helps retain moisture.

– Saute, stir-fry, grill or roast the lion’s mane pieces. They pair well with garlic, onions, butter, oils, soy sauce, herbs and more.

– Lion’s mane mushrooms have a sweet, earthy, umami, crab-like flavor.

With their unique texture and flavor, lion’s mane mushrooms make a delicious and nutritious addition to many dishes.

Storing Lion’s Mane Mushrooms in the Refrigerator

Proper storage is important for preserving the freshness and maximizing the shelf life of lion’s mane mushrooms. Here are some tips for refrigerating lion’s mane mushrooms:

– Store lion’s mane mushrooms in the refrigerator as soon as possible after purchasing or harvesting. Leaving them at room temperature will speed up deterioration.

– Place lion’s mane mushrooms in a paper bag or wrap loosely in a clean kitchen towel. Avoid using plastic bags, which can trap in moisture and accelerate spoilage.

– Make sure lion’s mane mushrooms are kept dry by absorbing any excess moisture with a paper towel. Moisture causes them to get slimy and degrade faster.

– Position lion’s mane mushrooms in the coldest part of the refrigerator, away from areas that experience more temperature fluctuations as the door opens. The optimal temperature for storage is around 35°F to 40°F.

– Lion’s mane mushrooms can typically last 7-10 days when stored properly in the refrigerator. Check them periodically and remove any that show signs of spoilage.

– Pre-sliced or cooked lion’s mane mushrooms have a shorter fridge life of 3-5 days. Use these portions sooner for maximum freshness.

– If lion’s mane mushrooms start drying out in storage, revive them by soaking for 10 minutes in cool water. Pat dry before using.

Following these refrigerator storage tips will help maintain lion’s mane mushrooms at peak quality so you can enjoy their unique texture and flavor before they go bad.

Can You Freeze Lion’s Mane Mushrooms?

Yes, lion’s mane mushrooms can be frozen to extend their shelf life beyond refrigeration. Freezing stops the enzyme activity and bacteria growth that causes mushrooms to deteriorate.

Here are some tips for successfully freezing lion’s mane mushrooms:

– Only freeze very fresh, high-quality lion’s mane mushrooms. Discard any that show signs of age like sliminess, discoloration or dryness.

– Clean the mushrooms first and trim away any woody or mushy bits. Slice them if desired.

– Blanch the mushrooms for 2-3 minutes in boiling water, then immediately transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking. This helps retain texture and color. Pat very dry.

– Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper. Spread mushrooms in a single layer and freeze until solid, about 2-4 hours.

– Transfer frozen mushrooms to freezer bags or airtight containers, removing as much air as possible.

– Label bags with contents and freeze-by date (3-4 months).

– Frozen lion’s mane mushrooms are best used within 4 months for optimal flavor and texture.

– To use frozen mushrooms, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. They can also be added straight to soups, stews or stir fries while still frozen.

Freezing is an excellent way to preserve fresh lion’s mane mushrooms to keep on hand for future recipes.

Drying Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

Drying or dehydrating lion’s mane mushrooms is another preservation method. Dried mushrooms have a longer shelf life up to 1 year and add convenience for storage and use.

Follow these tips for successfully drying lion’s mane mushrooms:

– Select young, firm lion’s mane mushrooms at their prime quality for drying.

– Clean mushrooms and slice into 1⁄4 inch pieces or strips before drying.

– Use a food dehydrator set around 130°F and dry the mushrooms for 6-10 hours, checking periodically.

– Can also dry in the oven at the lowest temperature setting, around 150°-200°F. Prop door open slightly and dry for several hours, checking often.

– Mushrooms are fully dried when pieces are brittle and hard with no moisture inside.

– Let mushrooms cool completely after drying.

– Store dried mushrooms in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Silica gel packets can help absorb excess moisture.

– For use, rehydrate dried mushrooms in hot water for 20-30 minutes or add directly to recipes like soups and broths.

Dehydrating lion’s mane mushrooms at low temperatures results in tasty mushrooms with an extended shelf life.

Other Ways to Preserve Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

In addition to refrigerating, freezing, and drying lion’s mane mushrooms, here are a couple other ways to preserve them:

Canning – Lion’s mane mushrooms can be pressure canned using a strict canning process to sterilize them. This allows long term storage for 1-2 years, but will slightly alter the texture.

Pickling – Soaking lion’s mane mushrooms in a brine of vinegar, salt, spices, and water for 1-2 weeks pickles them for long term use. Refrigerate after opening for up to 2 months.

Oil Infusing – Submerging lion’s mane pieces in olive oil allows the mushroom flavor to infuse the oil over a few weeks. Refrigerate infused oil for up to 6 months.

Each preservation method results in slightly different textures and flavors. Experiment to find your favorite way to preserve lion’s mane mushrooms based on your intended use.


Lion’s mane mushrooms have a short shelf life at room temperature, but can be extended with proper refrigeration, freezing, or drying. Store fresh lion’s mane mushrooms in the refrigerator in a breathable container for 7-10 days. They can also be successfully frozen or dehydrated for months of preservation. Using the right storage method can help retain the unique texture and health benefits of lion’s mane mushrooms. Their versatile meaty flavor lends itself well to many dishes even after preservation.

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