Sunday, November 27, 2011

Grow Your Own Mushrooms!

Either you love mushrooms or you don't like them at all, it seems. I happen to love them, although I'm picky about the kind. I don't care for morels, which grow in the woods around here. I like the common white button ones, in both their raw form or fried. Yum!

Did you know?
The common white button mushroom is
an immature portobello mushroom.

I was cruising the 'net one day last spring and came upon a website that offered a kit that lets you grow your own Pearl Oyster mushrooms. Put together by the folks at Back to the Roots, the kit consists of a block of recycled coffee grounds infused with mushroom spawn (seed). It's enclosed by plastic and housed by a cardboard box.

To start the growing process, you soak the block in water, then put it back into the cardboard box. Remove the perforated rectangular area on the side of the box, cut an X into the plastic, then mist it twice a day. Within 10 days, there be mushrooms!

I was skeptical. These things don't really work that easily, do they? Well, let me tell you what happened when I ordered one and tried it.

When the package arrived, I was getting ready to leave on a trip. I opened the shipping box and took out the mushroom kit. I set it aside in another room, to deal with when I returned home. A few weeks later, I brought the kit out. Imagine my surprise when I saw this:

Without me doing a thing, the mushrooms had already started growing
out the top of the unopened box!

Those were dried out, so I cut them off and proceeded to follow the instructions for growing. But not a single mushroom grew.  I contacted the company to see what I might have done wrong and they were wonderful. They offered to send a replacement kit to me at no charge because they wanted me to try again and experience growing my own mushrooms successfully. (They do have a 100% satisfaction guarantee.)

The second kit arrived and once again, I followed the instructions and I GOT 'SHROOMS! They grew very quickly, even though I actually missed a day or two misting them. I cut them off, coated them in flour and fried them in butter. Both Romie and I liked them.

A neat thing about this kit is that once you've grown them from one side of the block, you can turn it over, slit the other side and grow some more, which I did. The kit costs $19.95 (includes a small mister), which might seem expensive, but the experience of growing them was really fun and each block has the potential of growing 1½ pounds of fresh mushrooms. Replacement bags are just $9.99.

I think this would make a fun gift for the holidays, especially for kids, but I had a pretty good time with it myself. For more information and to order, visit Back to the Roots at The kits are also available at Whole Foods Market.

UPDATE: Back to the Roots contacted me after I posted this and
is offering a 10% discount to my readers.
Just use the code mushrooms4me10 when placing your order.
And as always, you'll receive free shipping on orders of two or more!

*I have not been compensated in any way for this blog post. Back to the Roots was not aware that I was going to do a blog post about their product. I purchased the mushroom kit myself and the opinions expressed here are my own, based on my experience.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

I didn't know those little white buttons were portobellos. Isn't it funny that my DB doesn't like Portobellos but does like the buttons. ha... What fun to grow your own.

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