Updated: Jul 21
Sometimes called 'Coral Tooth' or 'Pekepeke-Kiore,' Hericium Novae-Zealandiae is a native cousin to the popular mushroom Lion's Mane (Hericium Erinaceus). Pekepeke-Kiore is endemic to Aotearoa (meaning only found here in New Zealand).
Coral Tooth is believed to have similar cognitive enhancement and antioxidant properties to Lion's Mane. While some use it as a natural health supplement, it is also edible - and exquisite eating - with a taste akin to crayfish or crab meat. The texture of Coral Tooth is not as consolidated as Lion's Mane and has a more open, branch-like structure -- as seen above.
Growing NZ 'Lion's Mane' - Hericium Novae-Zealandiae
Hericium is a wood-loving species that grows much slower than oyster mushroom varieties and even shiitake species. It can take up to four weeks for Coral Tooth to fully mature - compared to oyster mushrooms doubling in size everyday. This picture shows a >> Pekepeke-Kiore fruiting block about 2-3 weeks from the beginning of the growing process. Notice it is still tightly bunched and the 'branches' haven't begun to reach out and open yet.
Creating an Ideal Artificial Fruiting Chamber for Pekepeke-kiore
Because of its slow growing nature, Coral Tooth requires more attention to humidity and fresh air-flow. During this rather beautiful four-week process, the mushroom has the potential to dry out without a high humidity fruiting environment. There are a few ways to create an ideal mushroom fruiting environment.
Check out our blog post on >> creating a Shotgun Fruiting Chamber -- perfect for growing Hericium.
You can also use a clear tote with a few holes drilled into it (ensuring to open the lid often for fresh air). Adding a bed of >> perlite to the bottom of the tote can help maintain higher humidity, but you can achieve this by misting water directly into the tote every day or so. Another method is to use a >> miniature greenhouse which is ideal for multiple blocks and even multiple species. Greenhouses can be set up in the garage or the laundry room. Most mushroom varieties such as Coral Tooth require reading level light, but NO DIRECT SUNLIGHT. *** A simple, budget way to create a humid fruiting environment can be to use an open cardboard box flipped onto its side. Directly spray the cardboard on the inside of the box with water once a day- just be sure the Hericium has enough light!
Growing NZ Lion's Mane Outdoors - Low Maintenance Method
Pekepeke-Kiore is naturally found on dead hardwood trees. It can be found in Beech forests throughout New Zealand all year round, but usually is found from early springtime to late summer after a decent rainfall. Most sightings tend to be higher up from the forest floor, probably due to the better air flow, making them relatively hard to spot.
Another great method for growing Hericium is from >> dowel spawn on your own hardwood logs. While it can take up to a year for a log to start producing mushrooms, it is a very easy, low-maintenance way to grow Hericium outdoors. Once a log is colonised by the mushroom, it can continue to produce mushrooms for multiple years with very little maintenance.
Check out this blog post on >> growing mushrooms on logs for more detailed information.
Harvesting and Storing Pekepeke-Kiore
Once your Pekepeke-Kiore begins to open up and even drop wee icicle-like branches, it is time to harvest. Grab the base of the mushroom and gently twist and pull off of the block. Cut off any remaining sawdust from the mushroom. Hericium can be stored in the fridge for 5-7 days in a paper bag.
If you want to dehydrate Hericium for mushroom coffees and the like, slice into about 3mm slices and dehydrate on low. You can then store the dried Hericium or even blend into a powder.
How to Cook NZ 'Lion's Mane' - Hericium Novae-Zealandiae
Simple Pan-Fried Recipe
You will need:
- 400g Coral Tooth
- 2-3tbsp butter or olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Cut Coral Tooth into 3mm thick slices
2. Add 2-3tbsp butter or oil to fry pan over med-high heat
3. Once pan is hot, add Coral Tooth to the pan evenly so slices are not on top of each other
4. Cook for 2-4 minutes or until mushroom begins to brown, then flip to brown the other side
5. Add garlic for the final 1-2 min
6. Remove, add salt and pepper to taste, serve immediately