Mushroom Gourmet

Frequently Asked Questions, background information and current Mushroom Gourmet safe practice Policy

.... if you have any other questions or interesting findings, please get in touch through the Contact page.

1) What is spawn?

Mushroom spawn is a bit like mushroom roots growing on wood, seeds or special plant based mixtures. It needs to be stored in the fridge on arrival.

2) What are the starter kits?

Starter kits contain a bag of growing materials for the mushroom, crop protection and either a spawn voucher or bag of spawn if from a website purchase. The instructions describe in words and pictures how to prepare the kit, how to save the culture and how to grow more of the mushroom using your own raw materials. If you see white mould growing in your bag, it is the roots of the mushroom eating the food you have prepared for them.

3) How long can kits produce?

Each mushroom is different, but you can expect them to come all at one time in a flush. After this initial crop, there can be a rest time of 7-28 days for Oyster and Field mushrooms, and it may be 1-3 months between flushes for Shiitake and Burgundy mushrooms. Most people get 2-3 flushes from their set up and more are possible.

4) Why is the beginner Oyster kit so good to start with?

This kit has been designed over a period of 20 years to fruit in a wide variety of conditions in a short amount of time. It doesn’t have any soil and unless the air is very dry doesn’t even need watering after it is prepared. The kit creates the opportunity for growers to understand the whole process and doesn't create a glut of product and problems for beginners

5) What can I do after my mushrooms stop growing?

When you have picked 2-3 flushes from the oyster kit, the growing material can sometimes grow more if it is soaked overnight, then drained and put back in the growing area. The button kit can be re-fired by watering well, placing in a supermarket bag, closing it securely and putting in the fridge overnight. Return the kit to normal conditions and water as usual for a week. If these ideas don’t work, kits are ready to be dug into the garden, where they sometimes start again, or added to the compost or worm farm.

Fresh mushrooms contain a small amount of protein compared to other foods chosen particularly for protein. Eating animal products and mushrooms there are no protein issues, but the amino acid balance in fungi will likely need attention for vegetarians and vegans. If this is your choice, eating a wide variety of food groups and pairing mushrooms with other proteins such as beans, peas, DGLV, fermented and whole foods for great taste and texture seems good sense. Mushroom preparation and food combining is a delightful journey of enhancement. Drying, concentrating and extracting are not forms our bodies are used to, perhaps they are in part a sympton of the ever popular 'hurry and magical fix' syndrome. A good way to avoid catching this costly meme is by looking to natures healthy animals and the many examples of long lived human communities and lifestyle choices.

6) Are all mushrooms edible?

It is easy to assume that a mushroom that looks like another familiar one is edible, or if it is in the same family (genus) to assume it is edible. This is not a safe way to approach eating fungi. There are plenty of examples of members of a genus being edible and other members being poisonous or deadly. Check out Agaricus, Stropharia, Russula, Pleurotus and Amanita for more info and their lookalikes. Sometimes mushrooms that were considered edible are discovered to be toxic- see Agaricus essetii. Some mushrooms have just not been researched for long term edibility especially less well-known wild strains. Some mushrooms are only ok well cooked (let's be safe- 20 minutes) Some examples cause serious stomach upsets or allergies and others don't- some people are a lot more sensitive than others and will be violently sick or worse. We all need to be cautious for ourselves and family when eating fungi, especially novel or wild versions. Consult an expert and thoroughly research at least three books, don't rely on photos, old wives tales or hearsay. If you can't find historical data on eating a particular mushroom, it is unlikely the long term health impacts are understood. Don't mix wild fungi in meals, and never presume that a fungal offering from a novice enthusiast is safe, even if they eat it in front of you! Some effects can take days or weeks to appear, others just minutes. Some symptoms go away only to return with dire consequences. The cummulative effects of exposure to mushrooms is complex and may vary from person to person. Many foreign countries with a long history of mushroom foraging have good reasons to employ registered mushroom identifiers for public safety. Even so, every year some unfortunate foragers think they know enough and pay a high price that hopefully cautions the rest of us. Fresh fungi can grow close to compost, manure, peat or rotting bark and can carry a wide range of bacteria on the surface from the medium or wild life. Road-side foraging is unwise. Mushroom digestibility experiments are interesting and literature suggests that the nutrients in raw fungi can be challenging to digest or toxic in some species. Some people report interesting side effects and post digestive tract outcomes. Is it more sensible to enjoy edible fungi well cooked or to take a chance? Have you familiarised yourself with the seemingly unequivocal studies about the increased risk of cancer caused by eating raw button or portobello mushrooms? Is it really worth trying something new from the wild, just for the sake of giving it a go, especially when the flavour is HIGHLY UNLIKELY to warrant the risk. Plenty of intelligent, educated people have been embarrassed by having to race to A+E after a foray into what was actually unfamiliar territory. Beware of forums that tell you how to prepare 'toxic' mushrooms. Can the flavour be worth the risk, especially when these forums are run by people whose competance and motivation you cannot judge and may well not have the experience to understand how environmental influences can dramatically affect how a fungus looks.

Mushroom Gourmet supports local NZ suppliers for raw materials and seeks the best for our environment. Our wood eating fungi particularly enjoy selectively milled NZ trees and certified or organic locally grown grains and seeds. Join us on the carbon capture journey, enjoy the taste, enjoy 100% NZ goodness!

Mushroom Gourmet policy is to sell mushroom varieties with a long history of consumption overseas, that are also accepted to be in NZ by government authorities. However, we do not promote species that science or common sense suggest could displace NZ fungi or NZ plants. We have a general policy of not selling other edible species, even if legal, that are too challenging to grow in NZ, easily confused with dangerous look-alikes or unlikely to be of sustained culinary interest.

We encourage sporesnaring because mushrooms can pop up after decades of no sightings, and be gone in a few weeks.

If you find something interesting in the wild, let us know ASAP. We pay good money to encourage preserving and enhancing our biological diversity.

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"Happy Customers"

“ it's been fun to grow and eat the mushrooms so thank you very much- KB The EasyGrow Shiitake sawdust log Great kits and I have been using a bunch of them already. =) Hi guys, parcel arrived this morning. Thanks for the awesome service. Have a merry xmas. Cheers KF Oamaru-.... Just wanted to let you know that my mushroom kit is a great success. I have oyster mushrooms sprouting all over the bag. Really pleased. Cristine Paraparaumu-.... ....I have found the course information fantastic and really easy to follow. AP ..... thanks for the advice. With 3 nights in the fridge the mushrooms started to grow an the 5th day. The first flush was sufficient for 3 meals. Flavour: excellent. Will now try the transfer method for a new culture and get the second flush started. G+W Charteris Bay.... Hi Tim I have been meaning to say thanks for the mushroom kit. Quite a bit of work but fascinating to see them grow over the winter under our sink and ended up having a good feed. Warm wishes Jack H Lower Hutt .... Hi Tim, I just wanted to say Ive had a chance to play with that new culture and its growing happy and healthy and clean! Thank you so much again for all the effort you put in, its greatly appreciated. Cheers, CS Ellerslie .... hi another order,, the first order you sent is going excellent , so ive decided to try another sort.. .excellent easy to deal with.. rapt dealing with your products...excellent as always. NH Paeroa-.... The mycelium was very quick to colonise the bag, and the fruits were huge AS Auckland-... Hi Tim, I am thoroughly enjoying the small business course. I spent the weekend getting my shed cleaned up and ready..SL

NZ Mushroom Growers since 1979: researching, sharing cultures, providing growing materials since 1993

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