So, You Accidentally Grew 35 Pounds Of Mushrooms . . .
In your backyard. I totally get it. After this interview with mushroom expert Tradd Cotter, who wouldn’t want to grow gourmet mushrooms for $2/lb and minimal time investment? The fact that you decided to inoculate a **few** backup logs just in case makes perfect sense to me.
Now it’s time to discuss what to do with all these amazing mushrooms you’ve grown… you know… now that you’re officially a
Option #1: Sell & Barter
I’ve often dreamed of opening a booth at our farmer’s market just so the little potami could get the experience of working in a “family business,” but had no idea what we might sell. Our six-year-old neighbor sells honey from bees they keep on their property, so I think we’ll specialize in mushrooms! Booths are hard to come by at our bustling market, so I think we’ll either sell directly to the farmers who are already set up or ask if Katie can join them behind the counter one day a month while I supervise. Considering how many people there love her I think we can find someone to take us on!
If selling is not your thing, you could trade them for stuff you need. I’ve noticed that quite a few of our local farmers trade with each other at the market before closing time. They often take their excess and work out ongoing deals with each other to swap specialty items. Imagine what you might exchange for your extra mushrooms! Sun-ripened tomatoes, raw cheese, or even blueberries! Yippee!
Option #2: Store Them For Later
Now that gourmet mushrooms are on your radar, I’m betting you’ll start to find more and more recipes that will work wonderfully with them: soups, stews, stir-fry’s, omeletes, pasta, and fondue for starters.
In the meantime, you can dehydrate your excess mushrooms for soups later, or ferment them for salads!
Option #3: Make Fun and Yummy Home School Projects
Or after-school projects, or whatever! Every step of this process can be turned into a learning opportunity for your kids, and folks are often very generous when they know they’re giving supplies to an educational venture. (Tree-trimmers are a great place to get freshly cut log stumps and coffee shops will donate coffee grounds.)
Katie loved helping me start our indoor and outdoor mushroom projects, and I can’t wait to guide her through the process of cooking, storing, and trading our very own mushrooms. By the time she’s a tween I hope she’ll be a competent cultivator of one or two plants/fungi, with valuable skills she developed in low pressure situations as a small child. You’re never too young to learn to grow food!
Option #4: Create Your Own Tonics and Teas
Several mushrooms can be made into medicinal teas to support immune and liver function. According to Tradd, the mushroom expert I interviewed earlier this week,
The easiest medicinal mushroom to cultivate is the Reishi, or Ling Chi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum), also known as ‘the Mushroom of Immortality’,which is easily cultivated on logs. The same method for drilling and plugging logs with spawn is used, just as in shiitake cultivation, except the logs are placed on the ground, laying down partially submerged in the soil. These mushrooms prefer to fruit from buried wood, so once you infect some fresh hardwood logs with spawn you can bury the pieces and check back about a year later in the spring and summer.
Reishi mushrooms have been used for thousands of years for stimulating immune function, regulating sugars and liver function, as well as a acting as a non-narcotic sedative or sleeping aid when taken as a tea at night. It has been used for thousands of years in Japanese and Chinese herbal medicine, conveniently this mushroom loves to grow in the Southeastern United States and can be a great addition to your herbal garden outdoors.”
For info on making medicinal teas and extracts, check out this post.
Option #5: Clean Up Toxins Dumped On Your Land
Mushrooms create a “living filter” which break down all kinds of toxins in the environment. Oyster mushrooms are known to break down 80% of DDT in 28 days and they are also effective against herbicides like atrazine – they can also fully break down disposable diapers in four months! (In case you’re wondering, the typical break down time without help is 250-500 years)
To reclaim land that has been heavily sprayed or otherwise polluted, you might try blending some oyster mushroom mycelium into wood chips and spreading it over the affected area. Check out Mushroom Mountain / Mycoremediation for more info.