These days, people are growing more and more of their produce at home. From supply chain issues and grocery store shortages to concerns about pesticides and other chemicals in your food, there are many reasons why you might choose to start growing at home.
Growing your own mushrooms at home gives you an all-access pass to one of the up-and-coming movements within the culinary industry. With their hearty texture and earthy flavors, mushrooms can elevate just about any meal to a new level. From a quick, vegan breakfast toast to a classic and elegant risotto dinner, there isn’t much a mushroom can’t elevate. Chefs all over the world are embracing mushrooms in a new way, and it’s not just a passing fad.
In this article, we’ll tell you all about why you should be growing your own mushrooms at home. We’ll discuss types of mushrooms like lion’s mane, reishi, shiitake, and morel. We’ll also present the three reasons why mushrooms grown at home beat store bought, including better taste, higher nutritional value, and improvements to your growing soil.
Prized by chefs for its seafood-like texture, the lion’s mane mushroom is also known for its many health benefits. Lion’s mane contains valuable antioxidants and is often used in supplements and traditional Chinese medicine. Lion’s mane has also been linked to reduced inflammation in the body and improved brain function.
The reishi mushroom is also known for boosting health. Native to Asia, reishi can be eaten fresh or turned into a powder for supplements to improve your body’s immune system and help fight fatigue and depression.
Shiitake mushrooms are one of the most popular types of mushrooms in the world. They are prevalent in Asian cuisine and are known for their strong, woodsy flavor. More recently, shiitake mushrooms have been making their way into more contemporary cuisine all over the world.
Morel mushrooms are only grown in the wild, making them rather expensive but high in demand for chefs and mushroom enthusiasts. Morels grow during the spring, which is when you can see them in restaurants or farmers’ markets. Morels have a nutty flavor and a rich, meaty texture.
Now that we’ve discussed these types of mushrooms, let’s talk about the benefits of growing them at home.
Tasty, All-Natural Cooking
When you grow your mushrooms at home, you can be sure you are getting the freshest possible product. When you buy from a grocery store, you could be buying mushrooms that have spent days or weeks in transit, depending on the type of mushroom.
Mushrooms that you grow at home can be both harvested and cooked in the same day. Plus, your mushrooms will be free of pesticides and chemicals that often end up on commercially farmed produce. This adds to more tasty cooking that is better for you and the environment.
While all kinds of vegetables are important to our diet, mushrooms contain a variety of nutrients that other vegetables may lack. Many mushroom species are high in B vitamins and others are rich in vitamin C. They also contain a compound called ergosterol, which is converted into vitamin D when mushrooms are exposed to direct sunlight.
In addition to being high in vitamins and macronutrients like calcium and magnesium, mushrooms are also one of the few organic sources of germanium and selenium. These elements are powerful nutrients that help boost your immune system and fight cancer-causing molecules.
Improvement to Your Soil
Mushrooms are natural recyclers and can break down just about any kind of carbon-based material. Not only does this mean that your mushrooms can grow in nearly any type of agricultural residue, but you can also use your homegrown mushrooms as compost to fertilize any other crop you may be growing at home. Mushroom compost can increase water retention in your soil and can increase nutrient delivery to your crops.
Learn to Grow Your Own Mushrooms
If you’re ready to give mushroom growing a try, join North Corner Haven for our upcoming Mushroom Log Workshop and Fungi Feast. You’ll get a unique introduction to growing mushrooms and you’ll have the opportunity to forage for yourself. Plus, you’ll take home your own mushroom growing log and enjoy a mushroom-forward meal prepared by James Beard semi-finalist Chef Adam Cooke of Topsoil Restaurant. Book your spot today.