Growing mushrooms in your own home

For a gift this holiday season I was given the back to the roots mushroom growing kit.  It’s designed to allow you to grow two crops of oyster mushrooms at home.

It comes with a plastic bag filled with mushroom spawn (I guess this is mushroom speak for roots) and coffee grounds. You cut it open, soak it in water for a day, and mist twice a day and you’ll start to see mushrooms grow!  See pictures below for the progression. They grew impressively fast.

The trickiest part was deciding when to harvest the mushrooms. The directions that came with the box and the directions on the site are different. The box says to harvest at 1.5″ in diameter and before they start to curl, but doesn’t tell you if you should harvest them all at once. The website tell you to harvest when they are 2 – 3″ in diameter and to harvest them all at once. Anyhow, I harvested them once they started to curl. I didn’t get as many out of the batch as I expected, but I did turn them into a delicious stirfry.

I think I’ll try using the mushroom starter in a container outside after I grow my second batch to see if they will establish themselves. The kit is a little pricey for only two batches of mushrooms, but it is definitely cool so it would be awesome if I can figure out how to reuse it.

See the photos:

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Making a quinoa loaf

The holidays this year have been crazy. We didn’t even have time to make our typical multi course holiday meal to enjoy slowly throughout many days. Instead I settled on making one dish that was somewhat festive. To avoid using meat, I found this whole foods recipe for a quinoa loaf with mushrooms and peas.  I didn’t get that many pictures, but you basically make a paste with oatmeal and chickpeas and then stir in the mushrooms, peas, onion, sun dried tomatoes, and quinoa. To bake it, the mixture is pressed into a loaf pan:

After baking:

The loaf was good, but definitely go heavy on the spices and add any additional spices that you like. To reheat slices, I first heated them in the microwave and then browned the outside on a pan so that it would be toasted. We added either some hot sauce or tapenade to the top.

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