Mushrooms are a fantastic part of a balanced diet because they are rich in nutrients and provide a great source of protein. There are so many different varieties, each with their own unique taste, that you can create some really amazing dishes with them. Many people look for them in the wild in late summer and fall when they are available in abundance. Some varieties can be found in spring too. Most people would expect winter to be too cold but during warmer periods keen searchers can find oyster mushrooms growing in forests.
The Pleurotus ostreatus (oyster mushroom) has a large cap and is found growing on logs, stumps and the trunks of trees. The mushrooms are commonly seen growing in shelves but single ones can also be found. They get their name from the fact that are said to smell and taste like oysters. It is easy to identify them because of their shape and colour; in warm months they are pure white, whilst in colder months they are a brownish-white shade.
Whenever you go foraging for mushrooms in the wild, it is essential that you take care and know what you are picking. Luckily oyster mushrooms have no poisonous look-a-likes to worry about so there is little risk with them. Before picking any variety of mushroom you should always refer to a guide book just to make sure you are certain what species it is.
As well as being found in public you can also grow mushrooms in your own home with specialist grow kits. We have an excellent kit available that lets you get started by using an old book. Oyster mushrooms grow on trees, feeding on the lignin and cellulose that makes up wood. Books have similar nutrients and are easier to break down, meaning the crop can grow much faster. If you don’t have a novel you can use a phone book or even a catalogue. Just remember to avoid books with glossy pages because of the coating on them.
Growing mushrooms in your home is simple and with the oyster kit you can enjoy up to three crops. When finished growing indoors you can use the book and the spawn to start a mushroom bed outside too. Invest in one of our kits today and start enjoying growing your own fresh oyster mushrooms at home.