Garden enthusiasts are often found discussing the process and techniques of growing various flowering plants, herbs, shrubs, fruits, and vegetables in their private gardens. However, mushrooms, one of the most versatile and useful things that you can grow in your garden often gets a miss. In the following paragraphs, we will talk about how to grow this often ignored fungi brimming with healthy nutrients and bursts of flavor!
Mushrooms are not readily found in India and even when they are, the choices available leaves a lot to be desired. Because of their exotic flavor, unusual mushrooms like shiitake or truffles can add a whole new dimension to your dishes and will leave your friends and family clamoring for more. These are packed with nutrients and have amazing versatility in use! Shiitake mushrooms are easy to grow if you know what you’re doing and just like a docile pet, won’t take up much of your time.
Growing and Caring for Shiitake Mushrooms
When you are just starting to grow shiitake, one thing to remember is that it will be slow start. These mushrooms typically grow on logs which are be easily procured anywhere in the world. Typically, the logs have to be three to six inches in diameter and three inches long. Oak, maple, beech and ironwood are all good choices – your go-to sapling or garden supplies store might be able to help you with getting the right kind of log too!
The shiitake mycelia cells will grow in and on the log, constantly replacing the wood cells and becoming a living organism. The mycelia, which eventually produces mushrooms needs a sufficient amount of light, water, and air. If you are growing shiitake in a Biopod, all the required conditions can be simulated easily through an app on your smart phone.
Every two months or so, you can harvest or “force-fruit” the log by soaking it in water for 24 hours. At first, you might only get a few little, white mushrooms but as the log is soaked and harvested regularly, you will soon be able to harvest beautiful brown shiitake and use them in your kitchen. The light, temperature as well as moisture levels ensure how good your crop will be and how long you will be able to get mushrooms for the log. So make sure that you pay attention to the details when growing these mushrooms!
Storing and Using Shiitake Mushrooms
There are a variety of recipes that you can try with these brilliantly flavored mushrooms. Fresh shiitakes can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks and they can be blanched, sautéed and frozen (in that order) to stay tender and tasty for months!