Sunday, December 17The Voice of London

Give room to the shrooms

Mushrooms are delicate, come in a variety of flavours and give a rich, earthy flavour to your dishes. Imagine my excitement when I received a grow your own gourmet mushroom kit for my birthday.  I absolutely love mushrooms. I started harvesting them as soon as I could.

I received my package from a company called Grocycle.com who offer the very best of mushroom growing kits and the fact that they use recycled coffee grounds means they are helping the planet one step at a time.

They send their mushrooms to restaurants across London and help everyone to increase their knowledge of fresh food. They take every care into preparing each pack and give a ‘grow guarantee’ meaning every person with a box can grow their own mushrooms:

Day 1- I follow the instructions on the box, make an incision in the middle and soak the bag with a few tablespoons of water. They then stay in the most shaded spot in my bedroom where there is minimal light disturbing them.

Days 2-5 – No mushrooms yet but I don’t give up! I keep watering morning and night.

Day 6- I can see the tiniest of a mushroom cup beginning to form and I am so excited!

Image: Melina Zachariou

Day 7- It’s unbelievable how easy it is to grow these vegetables. Over night I have two huge cups.

Image: Melina Zachariou

Days 8- 9 I have three beautiful Oyster mushrooms ready for harvest. When I open the top of the box, I see super tiny Shiitake mushrooms but they are not ready for harvest yet so I close the box and leave them for their full two week growth period.

Image: Melina Zachariou

When oyster mushrooms are ready for harvest, they give you signs. I couldn’t find instructions on plucking so I had a good old google search. I found a very simple site that explained everything: When the cap of the largest mushroom in the cluster begins to go from convex (turning down at the edges) to concave (flattening out or turning up at the edges), pick the whole cluster. Into my bowl go my mushrooms, packed tightly in cling film to stop them absorbing other smells and they sit in the fridge ready for cooking.

 

 

Images: Melina Zachariou

I actually went back to the site and found a grow care page, so if you do want to give growing a go, have a look at their top tips here.

 

 

Words: Melina Zachariou | Subbing: Amelia Walker-Hall

 

-->