Sunday, January 30, 2011
I gave my sister-in-law an indoor Portabello mushroom kit for Christmas- she wanted it, but I was doubtful that it would do much. I had no experience with this product and thought she would need a dark, damp basement to make it work...and that it was a bit of a gimmick She got the kit. It was a box containing a fungusy, webby material (the "root" or "mother" of the fungal colony). Instructions were to wet down the contents, and to add some wetted soil-less mix that was included. She followed instructions and began misting it each day with tap water. By the way, she keeps it in her kitchen- no damp, dark basement needed. She got her first mushroom in about two weeks, and wondered if that was it, but 4 or 5 days later, more baby mushrooms budded up and, as you can see by the photo, she has quite a crop. As long as she keeps misting, the box should produce for many months to ?, until the spore is spent- then it will be time to compost the contents (and get a new kit from me!). It is possible to kill the mushroom "mother" by letting it dry out. Kits are not shipped in summer, so maybe overheating is a problem too. But so far, this seems to be a success!
Addenda: a recipe: Roasted Herbed Portabellos:
Take 4 Portabello mushrooms, wash and remove stems. Place gill side up in glass or ceramic roasting pan. Crush one clove of garlic into each cap and add a pinch of coarse salt. Mix 1/2c olive oil, 1/4 c balsamic vinegar (or red wine), 1 t sugar, 1/2 t salt and herbs to taste (basil, oregano, black pepper, I love marjoram). Pour over mushrooms and some onto the pan. Roast at 400 for 25 minutes, turn over and roast 10 minutes more. Good served atop mashed potatoes, on crusty bread, over rice or pasta. Can also roast with quartered onions and bell peppers in the same pan. (This is an overall nice marinade for veggies- chunked white or sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips...)
Happy (indoor) gardening!