We all know how the earthiness of mushrooms can make a dish more exciting. Their odd shape and striking colour make us more eager to know what they taste like. Of course, growing mushrooms at home is another story. But once you learn how, you will understand why having them fresh is always best.
The great and nutritious fungi
Did you know that mushrooms are neither animal nor plant? They belong to a whole different group called fungi. They contain no fat, sugar, or salt but they are still tasty, thanks to their natural glutamate content or umami flavour. While mushrooms naturally taste good despite being salt and cholesterol-free, these fungi are also nutrient-dense as they are packed with fibre, antioxidants, B vitamins, vitamin D, potassium, and selenium. Mushrooms are also free from gluten, making them ideal for people with coeliac disease (Horticulture Innovation Australia, 2016).
Indoor mushroom farming
Being beneficial to health, not to mention delicious to the palate, mushrooms are indeed a valuable crop. While we can easily purchase them in stores, fresh mushrooms are tastier, more nutritious, and free from harmful chemicals. And learning how to grow them at home is definitely a more rewarding experience.
“Homegrown fresh is best! Mushrooms bought at a supermarket or grocery store can have up to 3 weeks travelling in the channel before they get to you, and might contain a lot of chemicals to preserve them for longer.”— Emir Lopez of FluidGrowers
If you want to begin mushroom farming, Emir Lopez of FluidGrowers recommends starting with oyster mushrooms. “Oyster mushroom is one of the easiest varieties to grow indoors, they grow all year round, and need only a few drops of water everyday to grow a first crop in 7 to 10 days only, and they love to be exposed to light, too. Any other mushroom variety would require a deeper level of control in terms of humidity, light exposure, and temperature to grow.”
Spawn and Medium
To make oyster mushrooms grow, you will be needing a spawn and a good growing medium. Hardwood logs and shredded straw are the most common. Oyster mushrooms have also been successfully farmed using spent coffee grounds. This even helped prevent tons of coffee grounds from going into the landfill.
If you do not have much experience in mushroom growing, a mushroom kit is a good way to start. Even with a small space, and a little of your time, you can grow oyster mushrooms indoors. Emir also suggested to “Keep your mushroom farm moist, at all times, don’t let it dry. Keep it covered with the plastic, which prevents contamination by foreign spores in the air.”
Being able to grow mushrooms at home is a great achievement. You get the best-flavoured produce and even save on food cost. Yes, you may have to spend money and time to grow your mushrooms. Yet in the long run, you get more produce and you don’t have to go to restaurants just to enjoy a taste of gourmet mushrooms. But aside from being self-sufficient, growing mushrooms at home lets you:
- Learn. Why do I need to keep my farm moist? How do I harvest my mushrooms properly? Finding answers to so many questions leads to more learning in the process.
- Beautify. Having mushrooms in your garden are visually appealing. Each farm creates a unique form that is exciting to watch develop day by day.
- Explore. With so many fresh mushrooms on hand, you’ll be busy finding new ways to prepare and cook them. Think saute today and soup tomorrow!
- Interact. Growing mushrooms is great. But meeting people at workshops who share the same interest is even better. It’s just fun to be curious and fascinated together.
- Enjoy! Growing anything yourself gives a great sense of fulfilment and satisfaction. So if you love creating and working with your hands, we highly recommend you start making room for mushrooms!