Canned Hen-of-the-Woods
Jo & Richard Cerny          Cerny Livestock Farm           Anna, Illinois
TIP: Look for Hen-of-the-Woods mushrooms to appear near the base of black and red oak trees between early September and early November in Illinois. The sometimes-monstrous cluster of meaty lobes can weigh 25 pounds or more!
Some of us still carry on the tradition of saving our harvest. Richard and Jo Cerny of rural Union County, Illinois head to the oak forests around their farm each autumn to hunt for what they call Quadeen, a meaty edible mushroom they cook up and seal in jars for the coming year. We like this simple recipe because it preserves the mushroom in unsalted water without the use of heavy brines of pickling spices, leaving the delicious, savory quality of this wildly popular mushroom intact.
The mushroom itself has many names: Quadeen. Maitake. Sheep’s Head. The name Hen-of-the-Woods is the most common name used in Illinois, although its official scientific name is Grifola frondosa.

You can learn more about this mushroom, where to find it and how to identify potential look-alikes in the new book “Edible Wild Mushrooms of Illinois and Surrounding States” (2009 University of Illinois Press).  Grifola%20frondosa.htmlshapeimage_5_link_0