Shiitake mushrooms are a bit different to grow than other vegetables, as they need to be grown on logs instead of in the ground. They also require a bit more care. However, it’s worth learning how. Although they are small, these mushrooms are worth the effort to grow, either in grow bags or in logs, as it will significantly reduce their cost.
The Lentinula edodes is a brown mushroom with a cap that is 2-4 inches across and a light brown, somewhat spindly stem. The cap of the mushroom can sometimes look like a small pancake. The cap has small white spots around the edge. The tissue underneath the cap is folded tightly to form a beautiful pattern.
Like all mushrooms, the Lentinula edodes is a fungus. The shiitake mushroom is named after the shii tree, which is native to Japan. The word “shiitake” literally means “castanopsis mushrooms”. Although this mushroom is found in many East Asian countries, it cannot compete with other fungi from different parts of the world. This is why it is crucial to sterilize the logs or substrate you are using to grow shiitake mushrooms.
Shiitake Mushroom Substrates
Growing mushrooms in logs is a great option for gardeners with access to woody areas, or who are growing mushrooms to sell. An oak tree that has been recently cut would be a good choice for late winter. It is best to start the inoculation process in the spring for the most delicious results.
Growers need to start with a recently felled log. This is a very important step. A log or branch that is 3-6 inches in diameter and has been cut within the last two weeks is the best to use. The mycelium needs to get an early start on colonizing its new home so it will have an advantage. Shiitake mushrooms grow best on fresh logs, as they do not compete well against wild fungi in their native environment.
If you’re growing mushrooms in logs, the logs should be 3-4 ft. in length. Each log in your pile should be the same length.
The best wood to use for this project is Castanopsis cuspidata, but if that is not available, any of the following will work just as well: oak, beech, maple, ironwood, alder, or poplar. Hardwoods like oaks are the best to use as mycelium have more difficulty growing in softwoods, particularly fruit trees and pines.
If you want a smaller or quicker harvest, you should grow in sawdust blocks. This fungi culture can produce 5-6 harvests in a year and can be managed by any skill level of growers. After one year you will need to start with a blank slate.
If you don’t want to grow the spores yourself, you can order a fully grown fungus online. This is a good option for people who want to try it out before committing to the entire life cycle process. This allows you to test the waters and see if you like it before making a larger commitment. If you’re interested in starting a mushroom farm, kits can be a helpful starting point.
Mushrooms like to grow on cellulose, which is commonly found in logs. This cellulose is also present in sawdust. Additionally, as with logs, hardwood sawdust is strongly preferred. Many people find that they get larger and tastier harvests by mixing in rice bran, oat bran, or straw.
Two common recipes for animal feed are: 95% sawdust, 3% rice bran, 1% wheat bran, 1% chalk 75% sawdust, 24% straw, 1% chalk Percentages are approximate.
Before adding the sawdust mixture to your cooking pot, you’ll need to pasteurize it. This will ensure that any Adding anything else to the recipe will also need to be pasteurized. A pressure cooker is often used to get the right temperature. You can also boil your mix for an hour to get similar results. Pasteurization mean heating something to a temperature that will kill harmful bacteria. This is usually between 160-180 degrees, which is similar to the temperatures needed to cook meat until it is safe to eat. This does not remove all of the living microorganisms in your substrate, but does remove most of them. Make sure your substrate has cooled down to room temperature (70 degrees) before adding an inoculant. If you add your inoculant while it’s too hot, there is a higher chance that it will die.
Inoculating Your Shiitake Mushrooms
In order for the shiitake mycelium to cover the entire surface of the medium and produce a lot of mushrooms, you need to inoculate the medium with a lot of shiitake mycelium. You are introducing shiitake spores into its new home in a way that will not allow wild spores to come in as well.
There are two main methods to inoculate your growing medium. A small inoculated plug is inserted into small holes that are usually drilled into the side of cut logs, and the plug is capped in wax. The shiitake logs are stacked on top of one another as they grow. The inoculant should be broken into small pieces and evenly mixed in with the substrate if it is going to be grown in sawdust.
After you have decided which inoculant you want to use, get it. Substrate or plug spawn can be stored in the fridge until optimal conditions for inoculating the substrate are met. As it is more important to add mushroom spores to your growing medium when it is sterile, plan ahead. The spores can be kept in the fridge for up to a week before starting the process in spring.
After acquiring your freshly cut logs, which are best at 4 feet long, you can begin to prepare them for inoculating. To drill holes in wood, use a power drill with a specialized drill bit that removes the wood shavings as it bores. Drill holes one inch deep and about 2-3 inches apart in a row. Be sure your drill bit is clean before drilling into the log so you don’t accidentally introduce any harmful bacteria. Start a new row of holes that are staggered in between the original holes. By cutting holes in a diamond pattern, you will be able to make use of more space. Continue boring holes over the entire log.
Once you’ve drilled your holes, you can add your shiitake mushroom plug spawn or sawdust spawn. To use plugs, insert each one into a hole and seal it with wax. Use an inoculation tool to insert sawdust into the holes if using inoculated sawdust. A mushroom inoculation tool can be easily found online. On average, 4-foot-long logs can use 30-40 plugs. After you inject the logs with the spores, seal them with beeswax, paraffin, or cheese wax.
If the cheese wax or other wax is sealed in the plug spawn, the mycelium will be more likely to colonize an entire log, and the log will be better able to retain its moisture content. When possible, use a soft wax as it is easier for young fungi to push their way through.
Pre-made plugs are the easiest way to start growing mushrooms for beginners. These plugs come already set up to grow the type of shiitake mushrooms you want, and a few taps will make sure the plugs are in the right place. If there is any extra plug material remaining, you can use an angle grinder to cut it off cleanly before sealing it with wax.
Growers can also use sawdust instead of logs. It is easier to inoculate the substrate if you use the right tools. After you have pasteurized your substrate, you need to mix it evenly with spawn that has been inoculated with sawdust. Before mixing, make sure that the container it’s getting mixed in, along with any tools you use, are clean. You will need either gloves or very clean hands for this next step.
After your substrate has cooled from pasteurization, mix in your sawdust spawn thoroughly. To ensure your spawn mixes evenly into your substrate, break it up into small pieces. In a sterile environment, mix the substrate ingredients together until they are fully combined. Once mixed, stuff the substrate into a sterile bag for colonization. If the spawns are evenly distributed, the colonization will happen more quickly.
A Guide to Growing and Cooking All Kinds of Mushrooms
The King oyster mushroom is the largest type of mushroom in the oyster mushrooms family. It is also called the king trumpet mushroom or eryngii. Mushrooms that are native to the Mediterranean regions of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa are also cultivated throughout Asia. Beans are a great source of nutrients including protein, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, iron, magnesium, zinc, and manganese.
To grow king oysters, on average they take two months, but once they start pinning, they can be harvested within a week. The best way to grow them is by using supplemented hardwood sawdust in grow bags. According to reports, mushrooms that are grown on hardwood sawdust last longer than those grown on straw. Growers say that the king oyster mushroom will last longer and have a better texture if it’s grown on hardwood sawdust instead of straw. The ideal incubation temperature is between 68°F and 72°F, pinning should happen around 59°F (humidity 95 percent), with fruiting temperatures from 59°F to 65°F (humidity above 80 percent).
The time of year to harvest king oysters is up to the individual. More mature mushrooms will have a tougher texture, but you’ll be able to harvest more. This means that once the mushroom’s caps start to flatten, they should be harvested. Cut the mushrooms at the base of their stem when harvesting them.
How to cook and eat: These mushrooms have a nutty, umami flavor and meaty texture. There are many different ways you could make this recipe. As meat alternatives, they can be a great substitute for scallops, when their stems are sliced into rounds, or pulled pork when shredded and seasoned.
The pink oyster mushroom has a thin, curly cap that is about three-quarter inches to two inches in diameter. This mushroom, which is native to the tropics, is prized for its bright coral color and ruffled appearance. However, this shade quickly fades once the mushroom is cooked. This food is rich in protein, vitamin B, and amino acids. It also has been shown to help lower cholesterol and to have antioxidant properties.
The best way to grow these mushrooms is by using straw as a substrate. This allows the mushrooms to colonize quickly. Grain also works well. This could include rye or millet. To incubate and pin the mushrooms, the temperature should be between 73°F and 100°F, and the mushrooms should fruit at a temperature between 68°F and 86°F with a humidity of 85 percent or greater.
It takes an average of three to four weeks for them to become harvestable. You can harvest these before the cap curls up. If you want to encourage more growth, you can cut off the mushrooms in clusters.
Pink oysters have a short shelf life, and they should be eaten within two days of being harvested. The icky smell is a tell-tale sign that they’ve turned. Pink oyster mushrooms are best when they are described as meaty in taste. Like other oyster mushrooms, they are also packed with umami. They can be used as a vegetarian alternative to ham or bacon when fried. You need to cook them thoroughly, or you’ll end up with a faintly acidic taste. The chicken is fully cooked when it turns a bright golden shade.
Yellow oysters typically have caps that are half an inch to two inches in diameter. The clusters are attached to a short stem or are almost invisible because they are very short. They are native to eastern Russia, northern China, and Japan.
If you want to grow your own mushrooms indoors, the best options for substrate are rye grain, sorghum, or millet. However, straw or supplemented sawdust are also acceptable. The ideal temperature range is from 68°F to 86°F. The incubation temperature should be above 79°F. The temperature for pinning periods should be 59°F with nearly 100 percent humidity. Fruiting can be induced by raising the temperature back up to the temperature it was during incubation and increasing the humidity to 80 to 95 percent.
To get the brightest gold color on the caps of these mushrooms, they need to be in a well-lit space, but not in direct sunlight.
These mushrooms are considered easy to grow for beginners, and are often included in at-home mushroom growing kits. They’re also one of the faster-growing types. After planting, it takes five to six weeks on average for the plant to produce fruit. The fruit is ready to harvest five to 10 days after it first appears. You can remove an entire cluster of mushrooms by cutting it off with a knife at the base when it is time to harvest. This is when the caps flatten but before they start to curl upwards.
How to cook and eat: Yellow oyster mushrooms have a slightly bitter taste that only disappears when cooked. It’s also a good idea to get rid of any stems you see, as they can make the flavor unpleasant. Yellow oysters don’t last very long and should be eaten soon after they’re harvested.
The flavor is most intense when the mushroom is cooked until crisp, or for at least 15 minutes. At this point, it will develop a cashew-like flavor. Many people enjoy vegan bacon as it is a tasty and healthier alternative to regular bacon. You can cook these mushrooms in a variety of ways, such as soups, sauces, omelets, pizza, or toast.