Love to Garden: Mushrooms

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I love the process of growing the vegetables in my garden, or flowers in the yard.

It’s exciting to start something from seed and watch it progress, to the point of harvesting it to eat or simply marvelling at the colours of the blooms.

But I didn’t know I could grow mushrooms at home. At least I didn’t until this year.

I find it both joyful and therapeutic to grow plants indoors and outside, and so the thought of growing mushrooms was exciting when I learned of it from a writing client.

I did work for this client on a past project, so I was interested in his latest venture, a site about the health benefits of mushrooms. It is full of valuable info about mushrooms that I didn’t know before, including the fact that I could purchase a mushroom grow kit and enjoy the fresh flavour of mushrooms at home.

So I purchased a grow kit and was on my way.

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The mushrooms arrived from a producer in Nova Scotia. There are others in Canada, including the west coast.

The process couldn’t be easier, since you receive a fruiting block and simply have to cut a slit in it and mist it regularly to keep it moist. I opted for oyster mushrooms because they are easy to grow and recommended for beginner growers.

I kept the block in a corner of the kitchen where it didn’t receive any direct sunlight.

It was pretty exciting when the first “pins” appeared. It did take a while, but once they started, it wasn’t long before the mushrooms exploded and we were preparing to “harvest” them.

I followed the instructions that came with the growing kit, and harvested them when they were ready. I fried them up and they really were delicious. There is something special about eating a fresh-picked food, whether it’s a vegetable, fruit or in this case a fungus. The richness of the oyster mushrooms was a delight.

Mushrooms are also loaded with health benefits. They are low in calories and sodium, fat and cholesterol free, and high in fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Mushrooms also have antioxidant properties, helping fight dangerous free radicals, and clinical studies are now confirming what ancient medicines long believed: depending on the type, mushrooms have anti-tumour properties, brain-boosting power, help fight inflammation, depression, and anxiety,  along with other medicinal benefits.

And the best part is, my grow kit should provide me with a few more “blooms” over the course of the summer. I have been misting it daily and there are some new pins appearing again.

 

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