Were starting to learn what ancient medicine has long preached: mushrooms are good for you!
With multiple health benefits common to all mushrooms, and some specific benefits provided by certain types of mushrooms, theres no better time to make mushrooms a staple of your diet.
If youre used to buying common white button mushrooms, you can also expand your repertoire by adding other types of mushrooms to recipes.
And if youre ready to really reap some benefits, you can also grow your own mushrooms at home, allowing you to enjoy the ultimate in fresh mushrooms.
Lets learn how to grow your own mushrooms at home.
Whats the First Step to Growing Your Own Mushrooms?
Youll have to decide what type of mushroom you want to grow. That can depend on what you like to eat, but some of the more common mushrooms that can be cultivated at home include Shiitake, Reishi, Lions Mane and Wine Cap.
Beginners can also start with Oyster mushrooms, as they are easy to grow, allowing you to learn the process and then move on to more challenging varieties.
Next Up, Obtain The Spawn
There are few ways to get mushroom spawn, the easiest of which is to purchase spores from a retailer. You can get them from an online store, or some plant stores sell mushroom spawn.
If you become a more advanced grower, you can start your own spawn from a spore. But a caution here: this is much more difficult and involves taking a spore print from an existing mushroom. So if this is your first attempt at mushroom cultivation, its better to purchase spawn and start there.
Step 3 is to Choose Your Substrate
Once you have the spawn, you have to choose the substrate for growing. Thats the material on which the mushrooms will grow, which depends on the type of mushroom.
If youve decided to begin with the easiest mushroom, the Oyster mushroom, it can grow on almost anything. Oysters have been successfully cultivated on cardboard, wood pellets, wood shavings, corn cobs, and paper bags.
Any option of substrate has to be treated prior to cultivation, which can be done via pasteurization, lime baths, or cold fermentation.
Now Its Time To Plant Your Spawn
Its time now to start growing your mushrooms, known as inoculating the spawn. Inoculation is a somewhat complex process, involving the use of a heated syringe to implant the spawn into the substrate.
Oyster mushrooms are simpler to inoculate than other types of mushrooms. Mix the substrate, which should be moist, but not dripping wet, with the spawn. Then scoop it into bags, and spread it out on your growing surface. Incubate the substrate mix until the bag its contained in has turned completely white.
When Theyre Ready, Fruit The Mushrooms
The final step is to fruit and harvest your mushrooms, after which you can enjoy eating them.
To do this, cut a small slit in the bag to allow for airflow, and find a source of indirect light. Oysters can thrive in any temperature in the 50 to 80-degree Fahrenheit range.
Within a week, your mushrooms should begin to fruit. When the caps of the Oyster mushrooms start to flatten out, its time to harvest them.
Knowing the health benefits of mushrooms is a great incentive to take the plunge and try growing your own mushrooms. While it can be challenging, its also fulfilling.
If you start with the easiest variety, Oyster mushrooms, youll learn the process and be able to work your way to more difficult species like the Reishi and Shiitake.