Making mushroom magic at home with the Expresso Mushroom Company

by Nick Harman - Friday October 28, 2016 4:10 pm

Why wander through fields and woods at dawn when you can grow your own mushrooms in the comfort of home?

‘They’re a bit scary,’ says the wife when invited to admire the mushrooms growing in the home office. I know what she means, there is something rather eerie and sinister about mushrooms even before one considers how some varieties can kill you very quickly, while others can send you off on a magical mystery tour.

Not these mind you, these are Oyster Mushrooms a very delicate and delicious mushroom and one which works wonderfully well in Asian dishes.

I started the mushrooms off about seven days ago and already there is a strong sized crop with what looks like another crop following close behind. It couldn’t be simpler to do thanks to the Expresso Mushroom Co and their easy peasy kits.

It all comes in a box, take out the bag inside and cut a slash in it where marked. Then submerge the whole bag in water for about twelve hours, weighing it down to stop it bobbing to the surface.

Then after shaking off the excess water, put it back in the box having first opened the flap in the front.Then stand the box somewhere in reasonable, but not blinding, sunlight and wait. All the maintenance needed is to spray the opening twice a day with the water pump provided.

It seems at first that you’ve wasted your time and have simply put a bag of dirt in the house as nothing appears to be happening. But  then three or four days after you see little pinheads of white on the surface and soon, almost magically, the mushrooms emerge, swell and grow literally doubling in size every day. All that’s needed is to pick the optimum moment to harvest what is understandably called by experts ‘the bouquet’.,

The Expresso Mushroom Co have certainly taken the uncertainty out of mushroom growing with their clever little eco-friendly kits. The growing medium is made of used coffee grounds, collected from cafes around Brighton by pushbike, in fact each box is made up f the grounds from around 100 expressos. This is great use of something that’s otherwise destined for landfill.

And when the mushroom kit is finally exhausted (you should get about three harvests out of one box) that growing medium has been broken down and enhanced by the mushrooms and is now excellent when used for houseplants or as a soil enhancer.

To try the mushrooms for taste we made a simple pasta dish with them using home made pasta, the torn up mushrooms, some garlic and cream. Normally I’d use also use some dried porcini to add a further depth of flavour but left them out to let the home-grown mushrooms shine.

And shine they did, soft and slippery and with that mushroomeyness you only get when they are super fresh. I took a picture, but owing to the madness that is Apple’s Photo app it got erased later. Trust me, it was pretty with the home-made ribbon pasta and easily made thanks to to our new  Kitchenaid Pasta Roller set, a little treat I indulged in when the trusty hand rolling machine finally collapsed a few weeks ago after decades of service. Motorised pasta rollers are so easy to use, I recommend them.

The Expresso Mushroom Company also make a Hot Pink kit and either is great fun to use. A great eco-friendly and fun gift idea,too.

We had a go at making a stop motion movie but made mistakes, first turning the camera only after  the first pinheads had appeared and then forgetting to leave the light on one night.

David Attenborough need have no worries about us getting his job, obviously, but it does give an idea of the growth. The frames were taken every 45 minutes over a five day period.

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