Saturday, May 5, 2007

Growin' 'shrooms

We did it! After months and months (and months...) of caring our mushroom logs, we were rewarded with this beautiful shitaake. This is the ONLY mushroom we got, but if you had any idea what we went through to get it to grow, you'd understand why we will be opening a good bottle of wine when we cook this bad boy up.

About a year ago we (OK...I...this was my crazy idea) purchased two logs inoculated with shitaake spores. To care for these logs, they need to have a certain humidity level. To water them, you must use non-chlorinated spring water. For the past year, we have been purchasing spring water, not for our consumption, but for the enjoyment of our logs. Every two weeks we soaked the suckers in water, every day we spritzed them. Every once in a while we "shocked" them by soaking them overnight in ice water (of course, I put all of the ice in little baggies to ensure that no chlorinated water touched the precious logs.) We followed the directions pretty carefully, and shocking is supposed to incite the spores to grow into mushrooms. Once we got one little nub that we thought looked promising, but after a few days, it turned black and shrivelled to nothing. In short, we were crappy mushroom growers. As the weather started getting warmer, we threw them outside and continued to water them (did I mention that I have also been collecting RAIN WATER for these guys??) In early Spring, we had a freak cold snap, with snow and everything: that did it. The logs froze over, we ignored them, and thank goodness Andrew noticed the mushroom growing one day because otherwise we probably would have completely missed it.

They say that mushrooms grown on logs tasted a million times better than those grown on poo (which is what you get when you buy them in the store.) When our logs arrived, they had a bunch of mushrooms on them and Andrew and I can attest to the fact that this is indeed the case. We stir fried them up in their own juices and they were so buttery that I was convinced Andrew had cooked them in butter. These were the BEST mushrooms we had ever tasted. It's a good thing that the logs came with those mushrooms, because they would have been in the trash LONG ago had we not known how wonderful the fruits of our labor could be. So it's really true - mushrooms grown on logs are better than those grown on poo, and soon we'll be tasting one more of them.

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