When a friend called to say that her had found a bunch of sheepshead mushrooms, and wanted to know if I wanted some to fry up, you can bet I pounced on that one.
The trouble was…I had no idea what a sheepshead mushroom even was. How do you prepare them? My friend gave me her recipe. Now that was good!
What is a Sheepshead Mushroom
Whether you call them Ramshead, Sheepshead, Maitake, or Hen of the Woods, it all means the same thing: one awesome mushroom. The scientific name is Grifola frondosa that, to me, kind of sounds like a spell from Harry Potter, don’t you think?
Their big season is September and October, usually beginning around the second week of September. Unlike the tricky little morel mushrooms, you can actually find the Hen-of-the-woods a whole lot easier!
Growing in a clump as they do, you can see everything growing off of the base. Most of the mushrooms that will be found this season will be between 2″ and 3″ wide. Unbelievably, there are people who have found massive two to three foot IN DIAMETER mushrooms! They can weigh as much as twenty pounds. Can you imagine? According to American Mushrooms, there have been Ramshead mushrooms weighing in at fifty pounds. Yowza.
How did the sheepshead mushroom get its name? When you view them from the top, if you tilt your head and squint your eyes, they sort of look like a sheep’s head. Kidding aside, they do actually resemble a sheep’s head. As for the other names, like hen-of-the-woods, I’m going to guess it is because they are more common.
There’s plenty of books on the subject–just look at the titles below (affiliate links, I earn a small kickback if you make a purchase–see how I support local using wishlists here).
Where Do You Find Ramshead Mushrooms?
These tasty mushrooms grow on the ground near the base of oak trees. They do have a love for the biggest of the oak trees. You know the type of tree I’m talking about too, the mammoth granddaddy of the woods, the kind that seem to reach up beyond everything else–and have a trunk to match.
Although the ground area is their favorite home, it isn’t improbable to find them up a few feet on the tree. Sometimes, you can even find them on stumps or fallen trees. The north side seems to be their favorite but, again, that’s not an exact science.
Year after year, you can find them in the same places. American Mushrooms shared that they have gathered 100 pounds from one oak tree in a single season. Would that be fun or what? I’m sure our boys would love to experience more than just hunting for mushrooms–we don’t always have the best luck looking for morels.
Fast growing, Maitake mushrooms love a little rain, and aren’t so picky about temperature like the snobby morels. My friend shared that they are grow so fast you can check a day or so after it rains and find them.
Preparing Ramshead Mushrooms
As they say, “When in doubt, throw it out!” I won’t be responsible for your bad judgement. Mushroom collecting is best done with someone who is already “in the know” as they say. When you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’ve got the right kind, you’ll want to use this recipe!
I admit, I am not the world’s biggest fan of mushrooms. It’s a texture thing. If they are small and mostly hidden, fine, but big hunks aren’t weren’t my style–until now.
This recipe for Fried Sheepshead Mushrooms is so good! The breading fries up crisp and golden. If I’m honest here, it was more like cauliflower in texture, and I sure do love cauliflower! I think you will, too.
Fried Sheepshead Mushrooms Recipe
Mushroom Hunting Fun
If you have a great recipe for frying up Ramshead mushrooms, I would love to know about it! Please, feel free to share your recipe in the comments section below. If that’s a little too public for you, that’s fine–you can use my contact form above.
Did you love this breading recipe for Sheepshead mushrooms as much as we did? Let your mushroom-hunting friends know about it too! Feel free to share this post across your social networks. Pin it on Pinterest to keep track of it easier.
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