Its flavor is similar to filet mignon and lobster meat. It has low calorie content; it is rich in B vitamins and proteins and helps in reducing serum cholesterol. Have you guessed what we are talking about?
It is Shiitake Mushrooms and we are going to guide you towards growing Shiitake mushrooms. This mushroom called Shiitake is a savory Japanese delicacy and is an emerging star of the gourmet industry.
Importance of Shiitake Mushrooms
The numerous benefits of growing shiitake mushrooms can’t be overstressed. This is why people need to know about this amazing mushroom.
Shiitake helps you in battling obesity as certain elements in this mushroom have hypolipidaemic (fat-cutting) effect, like b-glucan and eritadenine. According to a study in 2011 in the Journal of Obesity reported that these 2 elements increase satiety, reducing food intake, delaying nutritional absorption and reducing plasma lipid level.
A study featuring 52 males and females indicated that Shiitake mushrooms also have the amazing capability to strengthen your immune system and fight off numerous diseases through the provision of valuable vitamins, enzymes and minerals.
Moreover, researchers suggest that shiitake mushrooms help you in effectively fighting cancer cells and an element in shiitake, called lentinan, help in healing chromosomes that are impaired by anti-cancer treatment.
Growing Shiitake Mushrooms: How to Get Started
Tools and Materials Required
You will require the following items for this process:
- Hardwood logs made of oak, maple, poplar or birch
- A shady area for seasoning purpose
- Spawn plugs
- Cheese wax
- A cooking thermometer
- A double boiler
- A paintbrush
- A hammer
- A drill.
You would be better off knowing that shiitake mushrooms are usually grown outdoors on hardwood logs like oak, maple, poplar and birch to name a few. We advise you to use logs from newly-felled trees for shiitake cultivation.
To help manageability, stocks should ideally be in the range of 3 to 6 inches in diameter. Cut your logs into the length of 40 inches each keeping the bark intact, which is required for fruiting.
You should place the billets out of wind and sun to let them cure, leaving enough space between logs for free air circulation. A shady spot is ideal for seasoning logs.
Now you can return to your other activities, as the logs require 30 to 90 days to cure. During this period they lose their moisture content by about 50%.
Log Inoculation using Shiitake Spawn
Logs are ready for inoculation once their moisture content has plunged to about 50%. Get your spawn plugs (wooden dowel soaked in shiitake spawn) ready about 6 weeks in advance. You will require about 3000 plugs per log. Also get hold of materials and tools like cheese wax, a cooking thermometer, a double boiler, a paintbrush, a hammer and a drill.
Are you ready? It is time to get back to work in a shady spot.
- For each log you need to inoculate, drill a row of 1 inch deep holes with a space of 10 inches apart.
- Turn your log 2 inches and bore the next row of holes in a position so that they are parallel to the first. Repeat this pattern on the rest of the log.
- Once you have drilled the holes, immediately introduce the spawn. Delaying this process will make the logs vulnerable to organism contamination.
- Spawn plugs should be firmly hammered into the holes, flushed with wood; then using a paintbrush apply melted wax (use a double boiler for melting) on the plugs.
Wait for the Shiitake Crop
After the inoculation phase is complete, restack your logs in a shaded and dry area. These logs will take 1 to 2 years to bear fruit. After harvesting your initial crop, you can expect more harvests each fall and spring for about 3 to 5 years. For now, just inspect your logs once each week for contamination.
In case you notice fungi or surface molds, provide additional air circulation to the logs to get rid of this problem. In case logs are deeply contaminated and are losing their bark, remove them. Also look out for excessive drying. Turn over the logs occasionally, which will help in keeping their moisture evenly distributed.
Harvesting Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms bear fruit in the fall and spring. You can tell the fruiting is imminent by taking a look at the ends of the logs which will apparently have a fuzzy and white growth known as mycelium. When the mycelium appears, you can afford to relax, as the odds of organism contamination shrink considerably.
However, if the mycelium has not shown up, be patient and wait for nature to do its job. Heavy rainfall may just do the trick. When Shiitake mushrooms appear, harvest them on a daily basis during the fruiting stage, which can last for 1 week.
Shiitake mushrooms come in the shape of rounded knobs, the growth on the brown-gilled caps tend to open and flatten reaching a maximum of about 6 inches in diameter. They have meaty and thick stems. Pick your shiitake mushrooms before their cap flattens completely by simply pulling the fungus from the logs using a twisting movement.
This article means a lot to us as growing shiitake mushrooms is very important. It has high nutritional value, being rich in protein and medicinal properties – these mushrooms are used in preventing numerous diseases. Moreover, growing shiitake mushrooms is a good use of idle resources, involves modest capital and they can be grown all year round.
So did you enjoy the tutorial? I am hoping you found it interesting and informative. Please feel free to leave your feedback in the comments section we would really appreciate it, also share this article with friends and family to spread the word.