Making Life a Little Easier and a Bit More Interesting
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We work to improve the lies of everyday people, those folks who may want to try a few home projects for themselves and for the people who just enjoy reading about projects others are working on. We want to make life easier for the do-it-yourselfers and for all the people that would like to live a little more simply.
A Brief History of the Mushroom
Luckily for the us, an accidental discovery centuries ago led to the world-wide cultivation and consumption of one of the most versatile, flavorful, and wildly popular foods on the planet, the mushroom. Agaricus Bisporus, is the scientific name of the most consumed mushroom of them all, the Common Mushroom. That isn’t a generic term by the way, the Common Mushroom is a specific mushroom which was given that name due to its seemingly ubiquitous presence and that it is the most consumed mushroom in the world today.
Strangely enough, mushrooms are neither a fruit or a vegetable and technically, isn’t even a plant…but fungus, like mold and yeast. The mushroom of Europe gets its name (Champignon) from the French word for Fungus or Mold. According to legend, a farmer living near Paris around 1650 discovered the first mushrooms growing out of his fertilizer. After eating some and discovering their deliciousness, he made the decision to market them to high-end and elite restaurants in Paris. It would seem he was onto something. Their popularity has mushroomed since that time and now grow in most places on Earth with the poles perhaps, being the exception.
Sometime later, the famed French gardener Chambry figured out that fungi grew well in the dark and damp caves outside Paris and began to produce them commercially on a large scale. You, however, can grow them indoors thanks to modern techniques that have been developed such as the Kits that allow you to easily grow your own at home.
Mushrooms are easy to grow and so good for you as well as scrumptious to eat.
Portobellos, or portabella & Portobella, are a fungi and unlike botanicals (plants) that get their energy by producing chlorophyll which helps turn sunlight into energy, mushrooms get their nutrients from the substrate from which they grow.
Growing Mushrooms At Home
Before we get into the concept of growing mushrooms at home, there are a few words and terminologies you should familiarize yourself with so you can understand what you’re reading.
Now with your newly acquired vocabulary, let’s grow some mushrooms!
What is a Mushroom Anyway?
A mushroom is merely the fruiting body of a fungus. In the United States, there are around 5,000 species of mushrooms and many types are good to eat. These ‘shrooms generally have a stem with a cap whose underside is ribbed or vented. This cap and ribs contain its spore cells for spreading out and for reproduction.
Growing mushrooms is quite different from growing vegetables. Green veggies create chlorophyll, which enables them to draw energy from sunlight making it a key component to photosynthesis. Fungi don’t create chlorophyll and must rely on their growing medium for their nutrition. Additionally, there is no pruning or pinching or trimming involved with growing them. It’s pretty much water and wait.
Warning! Don't be Confused
Before continuing I must, at this early stage of the article, warn you about poisonous wild mushrooms. There are about twelve types of mushrooms that can kill you if ingested.
The problem lies in that they can closely resemble wild, edible mushrooms in color and appearance. Unless you are a certified expert, you should never consume mushrooms you find growing in the wild.
There are types, such as the genus Amanita, which are some of the most toxic in the world and can be deadly if consumed even in small amounts. Be aware that even experienced persons like professional chefs have made this fatal mistake, so stick with the mushrooms you buy from a reputable mushroom grower or supplier.
Be forewarned, there is no cure for mushroom poisoning.
Now to the fun side of mushrooms. This article is more a why not than a how to. We merely want to introduce you to the concept of growing your own mushrooms and provide you with some helpful information on how to do that.
Growing your own mushrooms is fun, easy, and can even be profitable. There are any number of ways you can grow your own mushrooms at home but for sheer simplicity and convenience, we recommend you purchase a mushroom kit.
These kits contain everything you’ll need to ensure your mushroom garden gets off to a good start and is productive and fun. Another perk of growing your own mushrooms is they can be grown in a limited space such as an apartment, or in a basement or cellar.
Just follow the instructions that come with the materials and you’ll be on your way to a bountiful harvest of delicious and nutritious homegrown mushrooms.
Below are some of the most popular mushrooms people enjoy growing and eating.
What Are the Best Mushrooms to Grow?
Once deciding to grow edible mushrooms, there are many choices available to you. As with any type of food, different mushrooms hold different flavors and are used in a variety of culinary ways. It is worth noting you can order these varieties in standard or even giant-size. Although there are many kinds, some of the most popular mushrooms to grow are:
The aforementioned are generally available in mushroom growing kits, along with many other types such as one of the craziest looking mushrooms to grow, the Lion’s Mane. The Lion’s Mane is a striking looking white mushroom that at maturity, resembles everything from a wintery ice-cave to a frozen white waterfall and even a lion’s mane. Hence the name. Consider adding the unique Lion’s Mane to your mushroom garden. They look great and are easy mushrooms to grow.
Do some research and discover the mushroom that best suits your taste, or grow a variety to enhance your gardening and dining experience. Once started, mushrooms grow on their own with little attention required from you. Delicious, nutritious and with natural medicinal properties, mushrooms are a must grow for food and fun and cultivating is them is pretty easy.
What Conditions are required to Grow Mushrooms?
In that they are a fungus, they require no sunlight and can grow in total darkness. Given that, they prefer dark and rather moist environments. As with any garden, harvesting them is easy pickins, as they say.
How Long do They Take to Grow?
On average, one can harvest a flush every 6 to 10 weeks. While most grow in 3 to 4 weeks, some require a year. If you’re growing for money, you may want to avoid growing any of those. Deeper research will tell which to avoid. Allowing their full maturity (8-10 weeks) increases your yield and naturally, your profit.
What are the Most Profitable Types of Mushrooms to Grow?
If you’re considering growing fungi to supplement your income, here are a few of the best sellers. These versatile, culinary jewels are fun to grow, delicious to eat and can turn a tidy profit when cultivated properly.
From the Japanese forests comes the shiitake mushroom. Shiitakes are one of the most popular mushrooms for consumers and cooks alike. In addition to multiple health benefits, shiitakes contain significant amounts of copper and antioxidants, and also boast anti-inflammatory properties. Excellent medicinal properties are but another reason to grow your own mushrooms. Not to mention shiitake mushrooms are delicious.
Shiitake mushrooms grow best on hardwood substrates such as oak, beech, and cottonwood. Stay away from aromatic woods or wood chips such as cedar or eucalyptus as they can impart an unwanted flavor to the mushrooms. Mushrooms are best grown on a relatively scent free, substrate. Hardwood logs are recommended but other growing platforms work as well.
According to some, portobellos are the premium steaks of the mushroom world. Stuffed, fried, baked or grilled, these mushrooms are of course, naturally delicious and nutritious. All the mushrooms mentioned in this article are available at super markets, farmer’s markets or through pre-packaged mushroom kits. Growing your own food has never been easier.
These little mushrooms are generally white or brown and, like most mushrooms, are very versatile when used in cooking. These are the most common ones you see in the produce section of your local store. Sold also under the name “baby Portobello” or white button mushrooms. These button mushrooms are also known as Champignon mushrooms. A Champignon is an edible fungus and is usually associated with button mushrooms. Delicious and nutritious, white button mushrooms are a mealtime favorite.
While all of these mushrooms are easy to grow and have a wonderful flavor, morels are probably my favorite mushroom. They resemble natural sponges in their appearance and when dipped in egg and fried in butter, offer the lucky consumer a delicious flavor that is hard to beat.
A mushroom kit is just what the names states, a self-contained starter kit enabling you to easily start your own mushroom garden. With these kits, all the guesswork has been eliminated as they are designed and constructed to ensure that everything you’ll need to get growing is there and bountiful results are practically guaranteed.
Nearly every type of mushroom you would like to grow can be purchased in kit form. Shitake, Morels and the button mushroom are quite popular. Simply follow the instructions, which are essentially watering them and watching Nature do its thing. Regardless your color choice, black, white, grey or brown, there Kits available to make growing and cultivating your favorite mushrooms fun and easy.
Here are a few links to reputable mushroom kit providers.
Should you decide to invest in a mushroom kit, please let us know how it’s growing. We’d love to hear about your experience!