Two posts within six months…I think it might be a miracle!I have more thanks to give, this time to Merryhill Mushrooms who very kindly sent me a kit for growing their Yellow Oyster Mushrooms, after I’d mentioned the chestnut success (which, until recently, were still cropping!). It was quite good incentive to properly take a look at their website (I’d originally ordered via Amazon) and I liked the bit in the about page that reads ‘Everyone kept saying to us, that they have never managed to find a mushroom growing kit that actually works, with this in mind we developed a kit that is guaranteed to work’, as that has been repeatedly been my experience too, lots of plug kits, and ready mushroom logs, but rarely any actual mushrooms.I’ve been picking field mushrooms for years and years (the above and below photos are from some time ago…look at the boys tiny feet in their little crocs…they are size 7 and 9 now!!).Here we’re mushrooming on the farm, in Yorkshire, where I grew up. It’s never occurred to me to be nervous of picking field mushrooms, I’m pretty confident that I know what they look like and where they grow and I can think of nothing nicer than fried, fresh, hand-picked mushrooms….that was until my sister and I went on a mushrooming course at River Cottage. It was great…but the resounding message was don’t pick and eat anything unless you have a verified expert with you, or you will poison yourself and die a horrific death. OK, maybe it was less dramatic than that, but I think it was shortly after some famous writer and his family had all tragically eaten some fatal mushrooms they shouldn’t have. I’ll happily pick field mushrooms ‘back home’ but I would be nervous of picking anything else, or even field mushrooms from a location I don’t know. (The course was great fun, I should add, and we learnt lots about cooking mushrooms too! – very hot pan, and small batches so they fry, not steam).So it is perfect, I think, to buy kits that you absolutely know will produce fresh fungi and it was a delight to see them grow…amazingly quickly, in this case!The photos are taken a day apart. It’s likely they were in an area a bit too warm, as it’s important to spray them regularly with water, to for me that meant the downstairs utility room, next to the sink. I understand that overly warm means quick to grow (ideal is 15-18C, but mine were likely around 20 degrees).Look how pretty and intricate they are? The ones on the front, right, had evaded the early regular water spraying and I noticed they were a bit ‘woody’ and never really grew…But the rest were awesome…and the ones on the back did well too, especially considering I hadn’t noticed there was a growing hole in the back, so for the first couple of days they didn’t get sprayed – oops! (read the instructions, Beth, read the instructions).I cropped the lot, cutting low (I’m told, if I keep watering the ‘stump’ I’ll get a second flush of mushrooms) and spent an age debating what to cook.I settled on a Jamie Oliver recipe, for posh mushrooms on toast (Mushrooms sourdough bruschettas, to be exact). I used to have a thing about mushrooms on toast, since becoming addicted to them in a little cafe in Skipton, when we were allowed out of school to eat our lunch in sixth form. Back then they were cheap and creamy and from a tin and I do still often cook a version with creme fraiche and garlic, but this recipe calls for hollandaise and tarragon and it seemed worthy of my precious growing efforts.
All in all, it has been a lovely experience using these kits, super easy and with great results. Sorry any family reading that get these for gifts, but you’ll thank me in the long run 🙂