I don’t know about you, but I love mushrooms. I put them in nearly every dish I make. I would like to do large scale mushroom production in my garden, but time and life have not allowed for that yet. I’ve done mushroom logs in the past, but they are a test in patience and commitment. (Anything that requires me to wait months for results is terribly depressing.)
To satisfy my addiction to convenience, I decided to try a mushroom kit. I know… I should be buying a log from one of the few folks growing mushrooms in Kentucky, but I digress. I ordered one from Amazon. This is the Back to the Roots Oyster Mushroom Kit.
These kits are produced from a company called Back to the Roots. They collect used coffee grounds and inoculate them with mushroom spores. By the time you receive them, the kits are ready to fruit. All you do is soak them overnight and then wait. You mist them daily to keep the grounds ideal for mushroom growth.
It is ridiculously exciting when the mushrooms start to fruit about a week later.
The kit is supposed to (theoretically) yield a pound and a half of mushrooms. I didn’t weigh mine, but that seems pretty accurate, as you repeat the process on the other side of the box after your first fruiting. (My camera ate the photos of the fully-grown mushrooms. My first batch had more, smaller mushrooms, while my second batch had less, but they were larger. ) I read online that you can transfer the contents to a bucket of your own coffee grounds and you can get continued fruitings. I’m sure that is probably off-label usage, but I’m still going to try it.
One interesing thing that Back to the Roots does is donate kits to classrooms for every person who posts a picture of their fruiting kits on their Facebook page. Such a great use of social media and I hope teachers and students appreciate the opportunity to grow mushrooms.
Note: these are oyster mushrooms. If you are used to eating button mushrooms, these are a radical departure flavor-wise. They taste… well… like oysters! I hope to order some of the more expensive kits for other varieties from Fungi Perfecti soon and test those out, too.
This is a great activity for kids. My five year old was in charge of misting the mushrooms every day. He couldn’t wait to harvest and eat the mushrooms, which he declared were the best he had ever had.
Interested in learning more about mushroom production? Here are two books I’ve read and enjoyed:
- Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms by Paul Stamets
- Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World by Paul Stamets