I LOVE mushrooms. Fried, grilled, stuffed, battered, raw, on pizza, on a burger….you name it. So when I was offered some mushroom spawn from Field and Forest I hesitated for about 30 seconds while I considered the implications of being a nanny to some spreading mycelium and then said “yes please” with an authority that only a true mushroom lover can muster.
Since that day I have nurtured my little pink fungus, stealing the used coffee filters out of my boyfriend’s hands before they hit the compost bucket, and layering them with handfuls of spawn laced sawdust.
I made sure to give them plenty of water, erecting a “green house” plastic bag over each container to retain the moisture… Until I realized that too much moisture leaves them looking more like spiny coral than like an oyster!
I then took them out of their plastic and moved them to my greenhouse with my seed starts. There they thrived, sending up beauties like the one in the picture, which I promptly fried with ample pasture butter. The taste was outstanding. Nothing is better than a mushroom fried in butter from a pasture raised cow.
Unfortunately mold liked the conditions in the greenhouse even more than the mushrooms did. I was forced to move them out into the house, even though the threat of air born spores scared me. Honestly, the mushrooms are so good that I am willing to risk the spores. (which can cause issues for some people with allergies and asthma). Magically the mushrooms continued to produce, and the mold went away. I suppose I was near to drowning my little fungi, the over attentive mother that I was.
Growing mushrooms turned out to be more like raising a child than I would have liked. I am by no means good at it, but the mushrooms that I was able to grow made it worth my while. I would recommend that every urban homesteader, curious chef, or college hipster try their hand at it. (And if I missed a stereotype that you fit into, you should try it anyway). It is crazy cool to watch as the mycelium spread, and little mushroom pins form. Very cool indeed.
I’m not sure if I will venture into more mushroom varieties, or even buy more spawn when these mushrooms stop producing. I’m not sure I have the right touch to grow mushrooms (or maybe the real issue is trying to grow them in my apartment). Besides, there is a farmer at our market that grows more mushroom varieties than I can ever imagine growing. Still, it’s pretty cool that I have been able to eat many a mushroom that I grew with my own two hands…and a few leftover coffee grounds stolen on their way to the compost.
Surprisingly the mycelium are still shooting out mushrooms after 3 months! (Thank God!) And this most recent batch has become my most recent breakfast concoction:
Pink Oyster Mushroom Omelet
Made with local eggs, stuffed with Wisconsin sharp cheddar, potatoes, kale, broccoli, and olives, this omelet is buttery, mushroomy heaven.
Here’s how to make it:
1 Tbs pasture butter (2 if you want it to be really grand)
a heaping handfull of oyster mushrooms, chopped into 1/4 inch bits
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbs olive oil
4 to 5 medium potatoes (I used gold, but any new potato will do)
2 cloves garlic
1 head of broccoli (stalk and florets)
2 kale leaves (stripped from their stems)
5-10 kalamata olives
2 Tbs shredded sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Start by thinly slicing the potatoes and chopping the broccoli stem. Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat. When the oil gets hot add the potatoes and broccoli stems. Chop the florets and set aside. Chop the garlic and add to the pan with the potatoes. Cover and reduce heat slightly. Chop the olives and kale and set aside. Continue to stir the potatoes and broccoli stems, when they are nearly cooked through add the florets. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes and add the kale, olives and cheese. Cover. Once the cheese has melted and kale wilted remove from heat.
Meanwhile, as the potatoes are cooking heat the butter in an omelet pan. Add the oyster mushrooms and cook on low until they ever so slightly begin to brown. Beat the 3 eggs in a bowl and add to the mushrooms. Swirl so they cover the entire pan. Once the omelet has cooked through, remove and fill with the filling, folding over. Voila!