How to Cultivate Oyster Mushrooms
Agricultural Waste to Protein Culturing System
* with delicious recipe on the bottom*
We all know how hard it is around the world right now but let’s talk about things we can do. It’s an awesome time to build a new skill and learn how to produce food for you and your family. Maybe you are sick of depending on a supermarket for every single thing you need.
Whatever the case, Mushroom Mountain is here and is thinking about you. Here we have included directions on how to cultivate your own oyster mushrooms. This will provide you an amazing amount of food that you can not only feed your family with but share with your friends and family or dry and save for when times are rough.
We offer a variety of SAWDUST SPAWN that you can use to cultivate your own mushrooms and we also offer PLUG SPAWN if you prefer a more hands off method after inoculating. The logs take longer to get to the point of fruiting but they last a year for every centimeter in diameter!
Make sure you check out our LEARN SECTION on our website for a ton of awesome information that is free and will help you find out what wood to use, help you learn about mushroom cultivation and much more!
Oyster mushrooms of the genus Pleurotus and Hypsizigus can grow on hardwood sawdusts, dried cereal straw (wheat, oat, rye), cotton waste, cardboard, and a multitude of other dried vegetable waste. Try to find waste that is affordable, but will also provide enough nutrition to support mushrooms. Experiment with different kinds of organic waste to see what you may get a better yield from!
There are many ways to treat the raw materials. Here are two options for you to experiment with..
Step 1 – Soaking
Option 1 – Pasteurizing your media with a hot water bath
Soak the dried and shredded material in a hot water bath to pasteurize it for 1-2 hours (160°F).
Option 2 – Hydrated Lime
Soak the shredded raw materials in a bath of hydrated lime and cool water. The portions are 4 cups of hydrated lime per 55 gallon drum of water. So if you use 13.75 gallons of water use 1 cup of hydrated agricultural lime. Add lime to water and let it cloud up, then add the straw or shredded material and soak it overnight.
Step 2 – Mixing
Drain your media and place it onto a clean work space such as a trash bag that’s been sprayed with alcohol. Drain the substrate and let it cool then spread it out on the clean space adding your spawn. Mix the substrate and spawn with your clean alcohol cleansed hands.
Step 3 – Bagging
Place the mixture into bags or other fruiting containers. 5 gallon buckets (drill holes every 6 inches) or black nursery pots are great for this project (no holes needed).
Step 4 – Gas Exchange
You’re going to want to let the mixture breathe so that it can colonize completely, you’ll need to put very small holes all over your bag or container. You can use a knife, sewing needle or a push pin after you sterilize it with rubbing alcohol. Just space the holes as evenly as possible and puncture the bag all over, or you can drill small holes all over your bucket or fruiting container, use a small drill bit. If you’re using a knife in a small grocery bag sized bag make about 4 small holes.
Step 5 – Colonization
Now you are going to want to let your substrate colonize. Place your container in a dark area around room temperature 70-80°F. This is going to take around two weeks and you will be able to tell that it’s colonized when the substrate is covered in white mycelium. Colonization occurs when the spawn that you mix into the substrate spreads and grows throughout, until it eventually connects to form a network capable of fruiting. Once the substrate has completely colonized, it will want to fruit.
Step 6 – Fruiting
Now that your spawn run is complete the mycelium is going to shift gears and begin the process of fruiting. You need to mist the holes on your fruiting container a couple times a day. This is going to initiate pinning and begin the fruiting process. Move your container to a location with bright but indirect sunlight. This will encourage growth and help your mushrooms develop vitamin D! You can keep a clear plastic bag over the container as a humidity tent so that your moisture level doesn’t drop too low.
Soon you’re going to begin seeing pins develop, and then rather quickly develop into mature mushrooms. You are going to want to pay attention as it matures, and if you have placed a tent over your container you will remove it a day before you are going to harvest your mushrooms. This is going to reduce the humidity and allow the mushrooms to air dry a little. This will make sure that your mushrooms are not wet when you pick, cook and store them. Continue to mist them as usual, refraining from misting them several hours before you pick them.
Step 9 – Harvesting
When your mushrooms stop doubling in size every day, it is time to harvest. You will notice that the rim of your mushroom will become thinner and lose the tiny ridged lip underneath the rim of the cap. They also become flatter and no longer as round on the edge of the cap.
Step 10 – Storage
If you are going to be eating your mushrooms shortly after you pick them you can allow them to rest on the cabinet, if you aren’t going to be eating them soon you are going to need to store them in a paper bag inside of a refrigerator 38-45°F. Your mushrooms need to be able to breathe, that’s why we use a paper bag. If you use a sealed container or plastic bag they will sweat and breed bacteria that can make you sick. If you are not going to eat them within a week you can dry them and save them for later. Put them outside in the sun and dry them (exposing gills to sunlight will increase the Vit D content tremendously), or use a dehydrator at a low setting for about 24 hours. Make sure you leave room between the mushrooms for the air to circulate so that they will dry properly. Check them by breaking one, it should be cracker dry, if you leave moisture it may grow bacteria. Store the dried mushrooms in the freezer in jars or air tight containers.
Step 11 – Rehydrating your dried mushrooms
Place your dehydrated mushrooms in a bowl that will withstand boiling water. Boil water and pour it over the mushrooms just a little over covering them. Allow the mushrooms to sit in the hot water for 15-30 minutes depending on how thick the mushrooms are. You’ll be able to tell when they are ready they will be soft and move easily. Save the water and use it to cook! It’s packed with flavor! Cook the mushrooms as usual, sometimes we cook them just a tiny bit more until the water leaves the mushroom or however we need them for the dish we are preparing.
If you are not able to find wheat straw, watch this video to find out how you can use other waste to grow oyster mushrooms.
Mushroom and mixed vegetable stir fry recipe
We have included directions for vegan, vegetarians and omnivores. You can also add your own veggies and make it your own!
1 – 8 oz package of lo mein noodles
1 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp unsalted butter – vegan butter if needed
¼ cup of high quality vegetable stock – or chicken stock
1 tsp sesame oil
3 tbsp honey – agave or a little coconut sugar is a good sub
½ tsp Sriracha – more or less to taste
½ tsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp grated ginger
3 cloves garlic minced
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup of broccoli florets – cut into medium pieces
8 oz of oyster mushrooms – cut into strips
1 large carrot cut into strands
2 Tbsp green onions – chopped into pieces
½ cup snap peas – cut the ends off
½ tsp toasted sesame seeds – on top
2 eggs – after your food is done cooking you can push it to the side and cook the eggs a little over halfway tossing them into the noodles to finish cooking them.
½ lb chicken breast ( boneless, skinless)
2 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tsp sesame seed oil
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp rice wine or dry sherry if you have it available. You can find it in the isle with the asian food. I love it so try it if you can!!
This is optional.
Hint: If you are making the meat, prep your veggies and make your sauce for the stir fry, then start the noodles as you are starting the chicken so that your chicken is finished cooking as you are draining the noodles.
- Cut your chicken into 2 inch strips
- In a medium bowl add the soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil and the cornstarch. Marinate the chicken for 20 minutes.
- Heat 1 Tbsp of oil over medium-high heat, add the garlic and cook 30 seconds or until aromatic.
- Cook the chicken until it is about 80% cooked and changes color, if you need more oil add a Tbsp of water. Remove the chicken and place it in a bowl to the side.
- Add the chicken in when you add the noodles.
- Make sure you clean the skillet or wok afterwards.
Step 1 Go ahead and prep your veggies and make your sauce. You’re going to want to incorporate all of the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth. Make sure you do this first so that the mixture incorporates correctly.
Step 2 Cook your lo mein according to the package, drain them and leave them in the pot with the cover on to keep the noodles warm.
Step 3 In a large skillet over medium-high add the oil until it is glistening. Add your mushrooms and cook them for about 5 minutes, add your vegetables, oil and butter. Cook until the vegetables are tender but crisp then add garlic and ginger and cook until aromatic.
Step 4 Add the sauce to the skillet and stir, cook until the noodles (add chicken here) are reheated then mix in the green onions. If you are adding eggs do that now. Plate the food then sprinkle the sesame seeds on top and enjoy.
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