Grow Kit FAQ’s
Got a question about your Grow Kit? Then look no further! Read down through this page to find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions you’re likely to have. If your question isn’t covered here, then drop us a line, accompanied by a photo, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where shall I grow my Mushroom Kit?
You can grow your kit in many places. Most people do it inside to stop the box getting wet, and a shaded windowsill or kitchen worktop is the ideal spot. Anywhere that has some indirect sunlight, and isn’t near to a radiator or wood burner will provide the basic conditions needed for growth. However, it is moisture and humidity that is most important wherever you position your kit. Remember to soak the bag at the beginning and continue to spray daily to stop it drying out.
What Temperature is best?
Oyster Mushrooms are quite tolerant of temperature and will grow between 5-25C. However the ideal temperature for the best quality of mushrooms to form is between 10-18C.
What is the white in the Grow Bag?
This white layer is the mycelium, or ‘mushroom roots’. It has grown across and throughout the coffee compost and completely colonised it, breaking down the rich nutrients held in the coffee grounds. It is this mycelium that gathers up nutrient to produce Oyster Mushrooms when the bag is opened.
How many mushrooms will grow from the kit?
We guarantee our kits to produce at least two crops of mushrooms. The first will be ready approximately 10-16 days after opening and soaking. The kit should then be left to rest for 2 weeks before re-submerging in water for 24 hours and beginning to spray daily again with water. The second crop will usually take another 10-16 days from this second soak but will sometimes take a little longer. Some customers have got 3 or even 4 crops by taking good care of misting, resting and re-soaking in between harvests.
Do the Mushrooms taste like coffee or contain any caffeine?
No; the mushrooms have the same delicious taste as when they grow in the wild from wood! They simply use the nutrients in the coffee as their food source, in place of the wood that they usually grow from. And they actually break down the caffeine, rather than absorb it.
What do they taste like?
Oyster mushrooms have a rich, nutty flavour which is very versatile in the kitchen. Along with their meaty texture, they work well in a variety of dishes – pastas, risottos, stir-frys, soups, salads or just fried up in butter and whacked on a slice of fresh toast! The freshness you get when harvesting your own at home and cooking minutes later is unparalleled!
What are the health benefits of Oyster Mushrooms?
Oyster mushrooms are extremely healthy. They are fat and cholesterol free, and are very high in protein, fibre and B vitamins in particular. They contain most of the mineral salts required by the human body – calcium, phosphorous and iron content in Oyster mushrooms are approximately double the amount available in most meats! They are also known to lower cholesterol, boost the immune system and may even inhibit tumour growth.
How long can I store my kit before I need to start growing it?
You can store your kit for up to 4 weeks after we have dispatched it. Keep it in dark, cool spot, then continue as per the instructions.
I’ve left my kit for a few weeks before opening and now there are tiny mushrooms growing inside the bag already – what should I do?
Sometimes, if left for too long before opening, the mushrooms will slowly begin to grow inside the bag in a bid for survival! The best thing to do in this instance is to cut open the top of the bag and pull out any such growth and compost it. Then, seal the bag back up and continue as per the instructions. It does not harm the kit in any way, and by pulling these mushroom ‘pins’ out and re-soaking your kit, it will now continue to grow happily as it should.
I’m going to be away for a few days – will my kit be ok without me?
Ideally you should mist daily, but if you are going to be away, place your kit in a naturally damp or humid spot whilst you’re gone. Right next to the sink and away from heat sources for example. You could place the box on a little stand in a tray of water and as the water evaporates it will keep the environment around the kit nice and humid.
When should I ‘harvest’ the mushrooms?
This can be a difficult one to judge the first time you grow Oyster mushrooms. You are basically waiting for when the edge of the mushroom caps begins to uncurl and flatten out. See in the example to the right how the mushroom caps lower down are still curled inwards, but the ones towards the top are just starting to open up and flatten out… this is the ideal time to harvest. If you wait too long, they will all open right up and begin to drop a lot of white spores and eventually dry out!
What is all this white dust underneath the kit?
These are some of the thousands of mushroom spores which get dropped when the crop has reached maturity and is ready for harvest. Wipe them away from your windowsill or worktop with a damp cloth and harvest those mushrooms quick!
What if my mushrooms dry out?
If your mushrooms have dried out in the middle of growing it is a sign that they have either not been misted enough or have been placed in a spot that is too hot, dry or windy for them. Cut them off and dry them out fully, as you can now use them as dried mushrooms to make a rich mushroomy stock for risottos and stews. Soak the mushrooms in hot water for 30 mins and they will plump back up and can be cooked as usual, producing a lovely left-over stock too!
My kit grew a great first crop but I’ve soaked it and the second one hasn’t grown yet.
Have patience! The second crop can sometimes take a little longer to appear, but as long as the kit is not too dry, it will always come. So, make sure you’ve allowed it to rest 2 weeks after the first crop, soaked it for 24 hours and are now continuing to spray daily. They will come!
Why are my second and third crops smaller than the first?
The first crop is always the biggest as it is grown at its peak with all the nutrients in the bag available. Each successive crop gets smaller as more nutrients and water are extracted from the kit. Soaking for longer periods and misting well can help to mitigate the moisture loss, but the nutrients will slowly run out, producing smaller crops over time.
When has the kit finished growing Mushrooms?
You will notice over time that the lovely fresh white bag you started with begins dry out, gets lighter and shrinks. This occurs as crops of mushrooms are extracted and the nutrients useful for growing mushrooms become depleted. Once you have had at least 2 crops from it, it is worth trying to re-soak and get another, but if you do this and no further crops emerge after 4 weeks, then it is time to break up the mixture that is left and add this rich soil amendment to your plants!
Can I put my own coffee grounds in the kit to keep the spores going?
You can try inoculating the finished kit into your own coffee grounds, but there is a fair chance it will all turn mouldy – so do so at your own risk!
What happens if my kit doesn’t grow?
We have a lot of faith in our product and guarantee its success. The first step is just to give your kit a little extra time. As a living organism, your mushrooms will not always behave like clockwork – although most are ready for harvest after 14 days, some kits will take an extra week or two to start growing. Read through these FAQ’s and if you can’t work out what may be the problem, email us at email@example.com with a photo and explanation of what has happened. We’ll do our best to advise and get your kit working, but in the unlikely occurrence that the kit is at fault, we will send you a new one free of charge.
We were recently voted as a winner in the Devon Environmental Business Iniative (DEBI) Awards!
Many thanks to all the judges at the DEBI Awards, who after visiting our operation back in October, decided that our work was worthy of winning the small business category. It’s a real compliment to get such recognition for all the hard work we’ve put in this year – recycling over 5000kg of waste coffee grounds into delicous Gourmet Mushrooms.
Here’s a picture of Eric collecting the award:
We’ll be taking big strides forward with our mission to recycle more coffee waste into Gourmet Mushroms in 2013, so keep your eyes peeled for us!
Did you catch us on BBC 2’s Great British Food Revival mushroom special last night?
A few months ago we were chuffed to be invited to take part in the filming to show Italian food pioneer, Antonio Carluccio, how we grow our Gourmet Oyster Mushroom Kits from waste coffee grounds.
He was absolutely fascinated by the process as you can see in the programme: “A very good idea…you know, in the fungi world, I was expecting anything – but not this! It is really novel, and it makes alot of sense”.
The show was a great success for us – we’ve been flooded with orders all day today and they’re still coming in! Thanks alot to Antonio and the production team.
If you missed it, it’s up to watch again on the iPlayer until November 13th – Click here to view
Here’s a couple of delicous recipes cooked up by our friends Sima and Hannah over at The Kitchen Table (thekitchentable.org.uk). They run a fantastic local and seasonal food catering company based in South Devon. If you ever need quality food cooked for a wedding, funeral, family feast, business or community event – then look no further..They will blow you away with the quality and diversity of what they can cook up for you!
Recipe 1: Mushrooms in brandy reduction
150g finely chopped onion
2x cloves of garlic, crushed
100mls chicken stock
400g oyster mushrooms (cut as you like; diced, sliced)
Sweat the onions in some good olive oil (or sustainable duck fat) on a low heat until translucent, add the garlic then the mushrooms and raise the heat a little and brown them off. Add the brandy, reduce the heat and cook for 5 minutes or so then add the stock and simmer for 20 minutes of so, stirring occasionally. The sauce should thicken and reduce.
Served great with game or beef.
Recipe 2: Braised puy lentils with rare pigeon breast and curly kale Serves 4
- 8 wood pigeon breasts, marinated overnight in blackberry gin (or sloe gin)
- ground spices – (1/2 tsp black pepper, 1 star anise, 1/4 cinnamon stick, 1tsp allspice berry, 1 tsp juniper) 1 tbsp brown sugar, zest of 1 orange, salt.
- Fry mirapoix (1 carrot, 1 celery stick, 1 onion, diced). Fry for a few minutes.
- Add 1 clove chopped garl and 4 rashers sliced bacon. Fry for a minute then add 200g of chopped Oyster Mushrooms and fry until beginning to brown.
- Add a splash of sherry.
- Add 250g puy lentils (washed) and enough stock to cover (I made a pigeon stock).
- Simmer until the lentils are cooked but retain their shape. Season well.
- Drain the wood pigeon breasts. Fry in a hot pan for a couple of minutes each side.
- Rest before slicing and plating up with the wood pigeon resting on top of the braised lentils. Serve with curly kale on the side.
Mmm, those photos make me hungry! Check out www.thekitchentable.org.uk to find out more about The Kitchen Table.
It’s a fair question – how do we turn waste coffee into Gourmet Mushrooms? Don’t most Gourmet Mushrooms grow on wood, straw, or horse manure? Well, yes they do – but the Pearl Oyster Mushroom is very versatile and is able to use waste coffee grounds as it’s food too. When a cup of coffee is made, less than 1% of the coffee beans end up in the cup. The spent grounds are still packed full of cellulose, lignin, nitrogen, sugars and other nutrients which the Mushrooms can make use of.
So, how do we go about it? Well first up is the collection of waste coffee grounds. We pick these up at the end of each day from large cafes in Plymouth, who would otherwise just throw them out with the rest of their rubbish. Usually with mushroom cultivation, you have to sterilise the compost you are going to grow your mushrooms on, but the beauty of growing on coffee waste is that the grounds have already been sterilised when going through their espresso machine. We then mix the coffee grounds with shredded cardboard that we buy from Paperchain – a recycling social enterprise based in Exeter. They collect waste cardboard from local businesses and shred it, and we add it to the waste coffee to help our mushrooms grow. The cardboard provides a dense source of cellulose and other nutrients, and creates good structure in the growing compost for the mushrooms to prosper.
We then add our own in-house grown Mushroom spawn. We grow this ourselves in our lab to ensure that we have lots of high quality spawn to use. So we now have a mixture of waste coffee, shredded cardboard and fresh mushroom spawn – all made up under semi-sterile conditions, in the right proportions and adjusted to the correct moisture content. This is then loaded into special mushroom cultivation bags and incubated in the grow room for 3 weeks.
During this time, the mushroom spawn grows thousands of fine root-like threads (called mycelium) out in a network across the coffee and cardboard waste. This mycelium is able to break down the waste and extract valuable nutrient from it to use as it’s food. When it has finally grown across the whole compost mixture, it is now well established and ready to produce delicious Gourmet Mushrooms from. Some final checks to ensure each grow kit displays good healthy growth and then they are ready to be sent out to our customers. When a hole is cut in the bag, oxygen is introduced to the Myclium and in around 7 days time, tiny mushrooms then begin to emerge. You can then watch in amazement as every day the mushrooms double in size until around day 14 when they are ready to harvest and enjoy.
There is a lot more that goes on behind the process – but that, in a nutshell, is how we turn coffee and cardboard waste into Gourmet Mushrooms! If you’d like to grow your own delicously fresh gourmet mushrooms at home, why not give one of our growkits a go. See here for more info.