Mushrooms are so versatile that they can be the star of a dish or play a supporting role. They also make great replacements for meat.
Oyster mushroom is divine when fried. It retains its juiciness on the inside while it gets crispy on the outside.
King mushrooms are a staple in barbecue joints in Seoul for good reason. They are cheaper and their sweet meat can give beef a run for its money. Shiitake can make a decent filling for wheat buns. It has a nice, chewy texture reminiscent of the shredded pork filling in siopao.
Enoki, meanwhile, is great for grilling on its own or wrapped with bacon.
If you’re already salivating from the dish options for mushrooms, then perhaps it is time to grow your own. Mushrooms make for a great addition to any garden.
Oyster mushroom fruiting bags are your best option if you want to try growing them. Prices range from P50-P100/bag.
“We grow our own food because our town is far from supermarkets in the city,” said Monie Suganob, a modern farmer in Lambunao, Iloilo. “Growing them is also fast. The mycelium can start to show in a week after opening the mouth of the bag. ”
Clean and sterile environment
You have to be patient at this point and let it grow out. Wait for the mushrooms to bloom for a couple of days before you harvest, to allow it to bloom in full.
Suganob added that the most important thing about growing mushrooms is finding the right spot for it. “It has to be placed in a shaded area, away from direct sunlight. Make sure that it’s not exposed to insects like ants,” she advised.
This writer’s aunt agrees. Marilou Navarra grew 50 bags in one cycle because she thought she could use the harvest for her catering business.
“I found out that they don’t grow at the same time. You have to have hundreds to be able to do that,” she said.
Navarra grew her bags in a clean and sterile environment. Bacteria can easily fester in the fruiting bags, preventing growth of the mycelium. Paranoia also made her mist her fungi with distilled water, but any clean water will do.
Eden Panesales, in charge of mushroom production at the Department of Agriculture in Western Visayas, says a sterile area is really important. Fungi are very sensitive and any odorous area is detrimental to their health. Keeping them away from the garbage area will ensure their growth.
Keeping the right temperature for mushrooms is also important. During summer, mushrooms need to be misted at least three times a day. Misting means one to two spritzes on the mouth of the bags.
“I don’t check for temperature. You can base it on your comfort level. If it’s hot, they need misting. When it’s cool, you can let them be,” Navarra said.
Panesales added that humidity is very important to mushrooms. Growers can put them next to a humidifier. As an alternative, covering the bags with wet towels will also do.
To prevent ants from getting to her bags, she placed them horizontally on top of wires. But any place where the mushrooms can grow from the mouth of the bags should suffice. Just keep checking for insects.
It’s also normal to get bags where there are holes on the side. If mushrooms grow out of these holes, just let them be and enjoy the yield.
Penasales said that a ready-to-fruit bag can give you 300-500 grams of mushrooms in a span of three to five months.