Thursday, July 10, 2008

We're having oysters for dinner tonight! (*)

I'm excited to share the fruits of my first mushroom harvest: A plate of oyster mushrooms!
A few weeks ago, we received a mushroom growing kit from, and today we harvested the first flush from the oyster mushrooms!

The kit I got had four types of mushrooms spoors. Three of them were in "log" form, with a compressed cylinder of growing medium (maybe barley?) that is already colonized by the different mushrooms' mycelium, ready to fruit, given the right environmental conditions.

The fourth, the Morel mushroom spores, required its own dedicated outdoor compost heap, so (as the instructions indicated) I put it in the back of our refrigerator to hold it until I was ready to provide the environment for it.

These are the three 'logs' as they came out of the shipping box. From left to right, they are Shiitake, Pom Pom Blanc, and Oyster-type mushrooms.

Each of the different types had a very clear sheet with instructions for how to set up the right conditions of moisture, light and heat. None of them required darkness, but they couldn't be in direct sunlight. Indirect sunlight is best.

The kit came with these big sponges and plastic vented funnel bags for tenting the spore log on top of the moistened sponge, in order to maintain humidity.

The shiitake mushrooms are still drying out, which is the first step in their preparation. The oyster and pom pom blanc mushrooms could get humid immediately.

Set up was really easy. A 2" X is cut on either side, through the plastic enclosure. The mushrooms fruit and pop out from this opening.

I supplied the foil pans. I used rainwater for this project, although there was nothing in the instructions that mentioned this. It just seemed, that it would be better to use non-chlorinated, neutral water, rather than tap water.

This is a corner of our entrance hall that doesn't get direct sunlight.

I put up a sign saying "Welcome to our Fungus Garden!" (I did this mostly because it doesn't really look like much of a 'garden', and I didn't want anyone using the bookcase for other things, disturbing the set up.)

The first "pinheads" formed on the oyster mushrooms about a week after I set this up, and we were able to harvest them about 4 days after that.

The first fruit of the Pom Poms is just beginning to emerge today. I hope to have pictures soon. (There's not a lot to see yet.) The Shiitake log is still drying out, and will probably be set in water in a couple of days.)

Here are the oysters. Kosher oysters!

They looked so beautiful and exotic growing in place, it was hard to cut them off the log!

UPDATE: Here's the last of the oyster mushrooms, served raw with grilled tuna and greens from our garden. The sprouts in the upper left-hand corner are garlic chive sprouts, which take about two weeks to grow, but are worth the wait:

FURTHER UPDATE: The Pom Pom Blanc mushroom log failed to produce, and eventually was covered with mold. Harumph. I'm trying to grow *fungus* , not *mold*!! I had to discard it (in our compost heap.) The jury's still out on the shiitake and morel kits. I'll update when we know the results.

*This title is provocative because shellfish aren't kosher. Mushrooms are.

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Jendeis said...

Thank you for the pictures. I've never seen mushrooms grow on logs, so I thought that was cool.

Can't believe how big your little one is. :) Gut Shabbos!

Debbie said...

This amazing! Can you reuse the kits with more spores or is it a one-time harvest?

Juggling Frogs said...


I've been feeling the FUN in FUNgus! Shabbat Shalom!


This was the "first flush". After the flush, the instructions say to dry the log in a paper towel for a week, and then start again.

The expected yield is smaller for subsequent flushes. The instructions say to expect three flushes, and then the log can go in a compost heap outside, where it *may* send up more outside.

We have a bunch of unidentified mushrooms in our yard, so I'd be wary of eating any if they did come up outside.

Anonymous said...

There's a humungous fungus among us!

RivkA with a capital A said...

Do they smell?

Batya said...

My husband buys them sometimes in the shuk.

Juggling Frogs said...


Not anymore! We dared, shared, bared and fared on them!


They smelled very good, close up. The whole "Fungus Garden" is odorless, and innocuous in the corner of our front hall.

They were *delicious* and had a wonderful aroma when sauteed, but we ate most of ours raw in salad and as a side dish.

I shared about half with my father and with our shabbat hosts, and am now drying the log for a week, in anticipation of initiating the "second flush".

I'm also considering getting another log, they were that good.


Wow! I'd love to see a picture of them at the shuk in bulk. I bet they're available here in bulk at the Asian market; I'll have to look. They're a very expensive specialty item here.

Anonymous said...

Just stumbled upon your blog and what a wonderful blog you have!!! Mmmm, oyster mushrooms are so tasty...

If you liked this article, congratulations! You have great taste. Please brew yourself a cup of coffee.
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