Ever find yourself at the grocery store, eyeing up those pretty mushrooms in the produce section and thinking to yourself, “I bet I could grow those at home!”
Well, you’re in luck—with a little patience and care, you can grow your own mushrooms right from store-bought ones. Here’s what you need to know.
First things first: not all store-bought mushrooms can be used to grow more mushrooms. The two common types of mushrooms that can be propagated are oyster mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms. So, if you see either of those two types of mushrooms at your local grocery store, grab a few and you’ll be on your way to growing your own homegrown crop.
How to grow store bought mushrooms
Once you’ve got your hands on some oyster or shiitake mushrooms, it’s time to start the growth process.
First, you’ll need to clean the mushrooms with cold water and a soft brush to remove any dirt or debris.
Then, using a sharp knife, carefully remove the mushroom “cap” from the stem.
These caps will be used to grow more mushrooms, so handle them with care.
Find an appropriate growing medium.
For oyster mushrooms, you can use straw or sawdust; for shiitake mushrooms, chopped hardwood logs work best.
Once you’ve chosen your growing medium, soak it in water for 24 hours before draining it and placing it in a plastic bag.
Be sure to poke a few holes in the bag to allow for airflow.
Plant the mushrooms
Now it’s time to inoculate your medium with the mushroom caps. To do this, simply insert the caps into the medium.
Once all of your caps are in place, seal up the bag tightly and store it in a cool, dark place until the mycelium (mushroom “seed”) begins to form—this could take anywhere from two weeks to two months.
Once the mycelium has begun to form, it’s time to move your bag of inoculated medium into a warmer location with indirect sunlight.
At this point, you should see visible growth within a few weeks.
Once the mushroom heads have fully formed, harvest them and enjoy.
Just be sure not to harvest all of the mushrooms at once—leave some behind so they can continue propagating and provide you with an ongoing crop.
With just a little bit of effort, you can turn store-bought mushrooms into an ongoing source of fresh homegrown fungi.
So next time you’re at the grocery store perusing the produce section, keep an eye out for oyster or shiitake mushrooms—and give mushroom-growing a try.