Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Home Grown Mushrooms...mmmmm

I like most mushrooms, but not all mushrooms.  It seems that you either really like mushrooms or you pick them out of your food and kindly leave them on the side of your plate.  This is just my observation, maybe because I used to be a "picker."  But, like most people, my tastes have changed over the years and I usually really like mushrooms, especially sauteed in butter!  As I have explained before, my brother has a myriad of interests, mushroom growing an harvesting is just one of them.  He lives about a 10 hour drive from me, so I can't just go over and help myself to his mushroom harvests.  So, he very kindly got us started growing mushrooms, very easily, by surprising me with a TP (toilet paper) Oyster Mushroom growing kit. Yep, you grow the mushrooms on toilet paper rolls right in your own home!

 The "kit" from www.fieldforest.net came with three kinds of oyster mushroom spawn and very clear directions.

 You start with cheap, new toilet paper rolls and a large pot of boiling water.

 Dip the toilet paper in the boiling water....

 Place the wet roll of toilet paper in the vented plastic bags that are provided.  Fill the center of the toilet paper tube with mushroom spawn.

 Label and wait.  (There are specific directions to follow, but I won't go into details here)

 And wait some more...

 Kind of a creepy garden!

 Something is happening!

 Something kind of creepy is happening!

 Voila, beautiful Grey Dove Oyster Mushrooms

 Very delicious Golden Oyster Mushrooms which sauteed beautifully!
After the toilet paper roll experiment, we were ready for the real mushroom growing experience...outside!  My bother came through again and we started with Wine Cap mushrooms.  My husband and son prepared a wood chip area under an old apple tree, and look what happened..... Wine Caps!
They're supposed to grow in late summer, early fall, but for some reason we have spring mushrooms.  Maybe this is because we had an unusually early spring in Michigan this year!

 They grew alone and in bundles!  We are so excited!

 Our first real harvest!
 I wanted to make sure that these were really Wine Caps (Yeah, mistakes can be fatal!), as there were other mushrooms in the mushroom garden, too.  So, I learned how to identify them to make sure.  The younger, more protected Wine Caps have this beautiful "Port Wine" color, the older less protected Wine Caps are a "buff" color.

 Wine Caps have an annulus or ring around the stem called a "Crown."  This annulus separates  from the mushroom cap as it gowns .  The annulus protects the spores.

 You can see on this younger Wine Cap that the annulus is still connected to the cap.

 The gills and spores are a charcoal gray in color and often turn into a light violet color as they mature.
 A nice view of the different stages of the annulus.

 This picture  demonstrates the different colors of the Wine Cap a little better.

 So, for dinner we had really delicious mushroom soup, corn bread, and a salad.  A nice spring dinner.  The soup was rich and "velvety"...yum!

"Field and Forest Products"  have a really interesting catalog with many mushroom choices and a lot of mushroom growing information.   We tried growing the Morels, always a risk, and we rewarded with three!

Need a new hobby or want to expand your garden?  Try mushrooms,  it has been a lot of fun for us!

Hope you have a nice week, summer is just around the corner!

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