• Forest Fungi on River Cottage: More to mushrooms

    Forest Fungi on River Cottage: More to mushrooms
    What a great day! Will caught up with Paul West from River Cottage Australia, in beautiful Tilba Tilba, to talk about how to grow mushrooms, learning there is more to mushrooms than meets the eye...
    Paul gave Will a guided tour to scout around and find the best place to grow mushrooms at River Cottage farm. Will was looking for somewhere that was sheltered, safe from predators and with dappled light. Whilst mushrooms like a moist environment, they also like a degree of sunlight to grow - which also increases their vitamin D content which offers great nutrition for us when we consume them (particularly in winter). 
    Mushrooms grown in sunlight
    There are many ways to grow mushrooms and they can also be grown in many different vessels. You can grow mushrooms on logs (check out our previous blog on how to make a fruiting mushroom log), in plastic cultivation bags, in glass, ceramics, buckets and even baths!! It really is not too hard it you have the right quality grain spawn and follow a few basic principles. 
    1. Choose how you want to grow your mushrooms (on logs, in plastic, glass etc)
    2. What step you  want to enter the grow cycle. The easiest ways is to either buy grain spawn and add to supplemented sawdust substrate  (unless you choose log cultivation). Check out here if you want to learn how to use grain spawn
    3. Think about your growing conditions such as indoor (controlled climate) vs outside
    4. If outdoor cultivation is your thing, choose your species accordingly and grow with the seasons
    5. Fruit your mushrooms away from predators and keep them moist (mushrooms are 90% water)
    Eating your mushies...
    Paul polished off the amazing day with a fabulous home made pasta mushroom dish. Home made pasta and creamy mushroom sauce really is one of the best mushroom dishes, particularly for mixed mushrooms. 
    I strongly recommend matching your mushroom to the cooking style to get the most of their flavour and texture. Mushroom such as the Pleurotus nebrodensis and King Oyster really benefit from being cooked to a light crisp to maximise the abalone texture prior to adding additional ingredients. Others such as the blue, grey, white, yellow and pink oyster can't go past tempura snacks in the arvo! 

    It really is easy to grow gourmet mushrooms if you have good quality cultures, patience and experienced guidance. 

    Behind the scenes...
    If you are looking for more behind the scenes on River Cottage Australia? Check out below where Will takes Paul on a mushroom foraging adventure, learning what to look for (and not look for) when foraging for mushrooms in the wild. But just remember:
    Make sure you know what you are looking for and picking.  
    "There are old pickers and bold pickers,
    but there are no old, bold pickers..."
    Contact the Australian National Botanic Gardens for further information on mushroom classification and identification.
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