Mushrooms add a distinctive taste that enhances the flavor of our favorite home and international cuisine. They are being used extensively in culinary arts in China, Japan, and European countries. Some species of mushrooms are prized not only for their unique taste but also for their nutritional value. They contain essential vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, biotin, cobalamins, and ascorbic acid necessary for normal and healthy bodily functions, and minerals including selenium, potassium, and phosphorus. With the rising prices of commodities, mushrooms can sometimes get too costly for our day to day delicacies. The best option is to grow mushrooms in your own home or garden.
Almost all kinds of mushrooms are cultivated the same way, although some may require slightly different conditions depending on what kind of mushroom you want to grow. Button mushrooms are the most common mushrooms and can be easily found in any grocery store. Growing this kind of mushroom does not require special conditions, thus it is excellent for those who want to have their first try. Crimni, oyster, and portobello mushrooms are grown the same way except that oyster mushrooms need more humidity to grow properly.
Mushrooms can grow rapidly in favorable conditions, such as cool, dark, and humid environments. Unlike plants, they do not grow seeds. They produce spores which are collected and used to make spawns on carbon-rich medium such as sawdust, straw, manure, or decaying log. Mushrooms consume carbon and oxygen and other nutrients needed for their growth. That is why carbon-rich materials are much preferred. To start growing your own mushrooms, you must create the proper environment. Here are some steps to follow in mushroom growing:
1. First, you will need completely decomposed compost or sterilized manure and a compost bin. Make sure that they are sterilized to ensure that your crop of mushrooms is safe and healthy for food consumption. To make it a lot easier and more convenient, you can purchase a mushroom growing kit from garden supply and home and garden stores. They can provide you with kits that have spawned inoculated compost and only needs a little moisture to start growing mushrooms. You can log on to http://www.fungi.com for your own choice of mushroom growing kit. If you want to spend less, you may set up your own mushroom table and bin made of plastic for easier cleaning between crops. If you want to spend less, you can also use jars that have been sterilized. Put the carbon-rich medium into the bin or jar to be used for cultivating your mushroom spawns.
2. Second, add the spores into the medium and spread it over. Water the bin contents and store it in a cool, shaded area. Avoid exposing the medium on direct sunlight. If you plan to grow mushrooms as for business, you may purchase a housing made of small plastic tent to control humidity and heat. You can also set up your own housing with a home vaporizer to control humidity. As much as 95% of humidity is needed to ensure proper growth of mushrooms. Make sure to keep the needed moisture of the contents. After the mushroom spawn have grown and formed into “cakes” (mass of root-like filaments called mycelium), they may be transferred into large terrariums as their fruiting chamber, in which they are covered with a layer of peat. Little spikes will appear on top of the peat after a period of 15 days to one month, and these will later grow into mature mushrooms.
3. After several weeks, you can finally harvest your mushrooms for all your cooking enjoyment. You may also want try different species of edible mushrooms with slightly different methods of cultivation such as Shiitake, Maitake, White, Morel, Pompom, and Blanc.