I loved mushrooms as a kid. My sister and I used to pretend that we were hobbits because we were mushroom-obsessed. Mushroom-flavored ramen? Check. Mushrooms for breakfast? Check. Mushroom curry? No potatoes, please; just mushrooms. Thanks.
Sadly, my precious spawn have failed to inherit my mad love of these delightful bits of fungi, so I have resorted to every tactic in the book to get them to eat them. (Because I firmly believe that if they eat them enough, they will hate them just a little less than if they never eat them. I’ll admit the logic jury’s still out on this one.) I slip them into lasagnas and sneak them into stir-fries, lavish soy sauce and parmesan on them before frying to a crisp, trying to ramp up every bit of umami goodness to wave before my children’s noses. The girls are warming up to them, but slowly.
Then I saw the mushroom kit.
Our new digs are really lovely in an over-the-top way, but lacking in one southern California girl’s essential way: direct sunlight. The idea of gardening while living here is a joke, but since mushrooms don’t like direct sunlight, I thought I’d take this as a small blessing and grow some oyster mushrooms.
When the world hands you shade, grow mushrooms.
Mushrooms are easy to grow in kits indoors. Just prep the kit, and spray a mist of water on it twice a day to keep it moist. Kazaam! Insta-mushrooms! Well, not instantly, but more like a few days to see them growing about ten to fourteen days to get to a good size. I’ve used different kits before, but am loving our current Back to the Roots Mushroom Kit as found on Amazon. It’s easy to use, comes with a mister, and doesn’t look unattractive, since you do need to stick it near a window.
Oyster mushrooms are rich in protein (up to 30 percent by dry weight), plentiful in B vitamins, have no cholesterol, and have significant levels of the cholesterol-lowering molecule lovastatin – up to 2.8 percent by dry weight (Stamets, 2005; Alarcon, 2003). Because of their native lovastatin content, oyster mushrooms have been studied for their benefits in helping modulate blood cholesterol levels.
The Mighty Oyster Mushroom: The Workhorse of Gourmet Fungi
Not to mention, they’re pretty with their little steely blue-brown caps. The girls are having a blast watching them grow so much every day. They’ve even expressed excitement about eating them and how to cook them. So far, their conversion to future little hobbits is on track…
Some drool-worthy recipes for mushrooms…
- Gooey Wild-Mushroom Lasagna [NYTimes]
- Crispy Mushroom Chips [Food Renegade]
- Garlic Butter Roasted Mushrooms [Smitten Kitchen]