Oh, shiitake. January 29, 2010Posted by ourfriendben in gardening, homesteading, wit and wisdom.
Tags: growing your own mushrooms, mushroom growing kits, mushroom log kits, mushrooms, shiitake mushroom kits
Please forgive our friend Ben the uncharacteristic vulgarity, I just couldn’t resist. Exciting times have come to Hawk’s Haven, the rural cottage our friend Ben and Silence Dogood share in the precise middle of nowhere, PA: We just received a package with two inoculated shiitake mushroom logs.
Silence and I have always wanted to grow our own mushrooms, but have frankly found the cost of mushroom-growing kits prohibitive. But this year, after an especially generous Christmas gift from Silence’s beloved family patriarch, Mr. Hays, we felt that it was safe to indulge. We were discussing making our mushrooming dreams come true when Daily Candy, an e-mail service Silence gets that reports on retail trends, featured a shiitake mushroom farm, Lost Creek Mushroom Farm in Perkins, Oklahoma, that specializes in shiitake mushroom logs. (Owners Sondra and Doug Williams insist that the name of these mushrooms is pronounced “she-TAH-kee,” not “she-ih-TAH-keh,” as our friend Ben has long thought.) Check them out for yourselves at www.shiitakemushroomlog.com.
Clicking the link, we found that you could get a special deal on two inoculated logs with soaking trays (these look like plastic terracotta-colored window boxes), so you could alternate their fruiting cycles, bringing one into mushroom production while the other one rested. By alternating the logs, you could have a crop of homegrown shiitakes every month for four years! Suddenly, the price didn’t seem that exhorbitant.
Log care is simple: You keep it hydrated, alternate the temperature (it needs a cold “shock” to fruit after the initial cycle), give it alternating light and dark cycles, and maintain comparatively cool temperatures (the ideal is 50 degree F. nights and moist 70 degree F. days).
In addition to extremely complete instructions, our logs arrived with a complimentary recipe booklet. Silence of course also ordered Janet Bratkovich’s Shiitake Sampler, also available from Lost Creek Mushroom Farm, which includes many more recipes, from Shiitake Turnovers and Shiitake and Barley Soup to Timbale Shiitake, Shish Kebab Shiitake, and Shiitake Pilaf.
Silence and I are eagerly anticipating harvesting mushrooms in about two months, and from then on monthly for years to come. We love the flavor and meaty texture of shiitakes, and enjoy including them in Silence’s signature Mushrooms and Sweet Onions in Madeira Wine Sauce with Rice as well as in Chinese and Indian dishes. Oh, shiitake! We’re so looking forward to you.