Growing mushrooms is very exciting. It reminds me of being all small in a natural history museum, yet you are at home, and can watch the process from your sofa (or wherever you choose to grow your babies). Brussels startup Permafungi collects used coffee grounds and mixes it with mushroom mycelium in order to grow oyster mushrooms. You can buy their kits to do this yourself at home. So here comes a tale of what it can look like.
Day 1-2. I have picked up the mushroom kit picked up from Färm in St Katherine. I parted with 14,95 euros for the kit and another 50 for lavish organic products, which is why I should not be allowed in fancy food shops. The mushroom kit is basically a log made of coffee grounds, something looking like hay, and mushroom mycelium, wrapped in transparent plastic. The first step is to cut criss-crossing holes through the plastic, and soak the ‘log’ in water over night.
Day 3-6. Excited waiting. I have placed the log in a light, cool place with fresh ventilation, and spray it regularly (perhaps too regularly, I have a tendency to over-water growing things).
Day 7. First signs of life – the white mycelium takes a less cloudy, more spongy, look, and is pressing its way out through the holes. The first picture is taken on the morning, the second in the afternoon. It feels as if they grow as soon as you turn your back on them.
Day 8. It’s like a friendly mushroom explosion, and everything goes very quickly – the first picture is from the morning, the second from the afternoon. I keep spraying, in an excited nervous way.
Day 9. The growth seems to have stopped. Time to eat. I carefully pick the mushrooms from the log and divide them up on a cutting. Without having rinsed them (because unless it’s strictly necessary, you should never, ever rinse mushrooms), I fry them slowly in some olive oil and butter. I add more butter, then serve them up on toast with some parmesan. I feel a bit like a scientist when I eat the mushroom sandwich, and it feels very good.