Sunday, January 14, 2007

Tasty Mushrooms

One of the Christmas presents I was most excited about was one I didn't think I would get: mushrooms!!!

Tara got me a 'grow your own mushroom kit' from Wylie Mycologicals; the shiitake version. It came in a bag, a clod of sawdust inoculated with spores. Unfortunately it came a couple of weeks early and Tara didn't know if it would last until Christmas so we opened up the box it came in. The documentation seem to indicate that it would last and we didn't have time to take care of it, so we put it back in the box (still sealed in the bag) until the week before Christmas.

When we opened it up there were two mushrooms, full grown on the top. This was odd because the mushrooms weren't supposed to grow until the clod was out of the bag. We opened the bag, twisted the mushrooms off, and made a wonderful bechemal sauce with them (very tasty).

The clod is now sitting in a ornamental birdcage, covered with a large transparent plastic bag. It gets misted twice a day. So far we have taken off 6 mushrooms and there is another 4 growing. After new mushrooms stop growing we are supposed to soak it in water and put it in the fridge overnight and then new mushrooms are supposed to start forming. Here's hoping!

These things are really intriguing. I can't believe how fast these things grow! I might start looking into growing other types of mushrooms after this is finished. I might even try to extend this clod past the four 'harvests' that the documentation says are supposed to come.

Most of the information online indicates that you need a fancy setup to grow mushrooms properly; you have to grow spores in a medium that is fairly sterile otherwise other molds and stuff will compete and take over the spores you want to grow. Sterilization equipment, laminar flow hoods, and well ventilated areas are needed. I'll see what I can come up with.

These were the first mushroom we got, the ones that grew in the bag. The tops are turned up, which means they are past their picking date.

This is under the mushrooms before the bag was opened. It was as slimy as it looks.

The second batch of mushrooms, just starting out as wee little things.

This is just a few days after the picture to the left. These mushrooms grow like mad!

These are 3 of the 4 mushrooms of the second batch (the first one grown out of the bag). We put the 4th (not shown) in a couple of calzones on Friday.

A close up of the underneath.

For scale (that's Tara's hand, not mine :) ).

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