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It is not yet mushroom season but it is approaching and we can already taste their flavor and all the good dishes we will cook. That's why we start explaining how to grow mushrooms in straw, in preparation. Mushrooms are not only useful in cooking, as ingredients for stews, sauces and risottos, but can also be used for the fermentation of alcoholic beverages and for making bread. Also in pharmaceutical field we find some mushrooms used for the production of antibiotics, anticancer and vitamins thanks to their ability to produce natural molecules.
There are those who go for autumn mushrooms, looking for them in the woods, and it is necessary to be very expert in recognizing them because not all mushrooms are edible and some are even toxic and can cause serious health problems. If we are passionate about mushrooms and want to have them at hand, you can learn how to grow mushrooms in straw, it is not at all difficult and you will enjoy it, not to mention the satisfaction you feel when you eat a risotto with mushrooms produced ourselves.
How to grow mushrooms in straw: what it takes
Let's get ready to grow mushrooms with all thenecessary equipment. Let's get a canvas and plastic bag, Cardoncello mycelia, a nebulizer, a lot of straw, a little soil, water, a rubber band, a pair of scissors and Polyfill.
How to grow mushrooms in straw: preparation
Let's begin! Let's start from the basics, from the base, actually, then preparing the substrate which then will have to host them as they grow. Let's take our straw and cut it into very small pieces with scissors so that there are no too thick "threads" left. So reduced, we immerse it in water for a whole day and then pasteurize it in water for two hours, bringing it to 70 degrees. Once ready we can place it in a bag to drain it and wait until it no longer contains water.
How to grow mushrooms in straw: instructions
Now that the straw is ready we can start preparing a series of alternating layers of straw and mycelium, in the plastic bag. The mycelia are the vegetative parts of the mushroom, we have chosen the Cardoncello, as you will see, because it is one of the simplest mushrooms to grow but the method we are learning can be replicated with other mushrooms.
The first layer of straw must be about 5 centimeters thick, then the mycelium, and gradually it continues filling up the whole bag. Let's make sure that there is no air in the bag, check it, and then close it with Polyfill. This is the right material because it allows transpiration. With an elastic band we block it.
To wait for the mushrooms to be born and grow, we must place the bag we have prepared in a place with a temperature of 20 degrees and wait about 30 days. We take a look every now and then, and when we realize that the straw has been covered with mycelium, we have to intervene by opening the bag and covering everything with topsoil creating a layer of 4 centimeters. Now we really just have to wait for the time to pass and for the mushrooms to grow slowly. The only concern must be to keep the bag protected from atmospheric agents and always in a condition of high humidity.
We mentioned this mushroom calling it one of the simplest to grow. Other than that what do we know about him? It is one of the best and most delicious mushrooms, even in ancient times. In Middle Ages it was declaimed in some Lazio taverns and was considered delicious and aphrodisiac, so much so that the Holy Office put it on the index because it tempted Christians and distracted them from the idea of penance
The Cardoncello it has a dark color and a fleshy and firm texture, the flavor is quite unique, not penetrating, but subtle and "elegant". There are those who call it an "honest" mushroom because it is impossible to mistake it for a poisonous mushroom.
There are many strains and it also has many names: Cardoncello, Cardarello, Ferlengo, Ferula mushroom. In Italy we can find it in various areas including Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria, Sardinia and some provinces of Lazio and Sicily. However, the place where we can be sure of grasping it is the plateau of the Appulo-Lucan Murge, where it grows spontaneously in poor soils mixed with grass.
From a nutritional point of view, here are the qualities that this simple mushroom exhibits. If fresh, it contains a lot of water (85-90%) and then 4-5% of sugars, 3.8-4% of proteins, 0.4-0.7% of fats. It has all the main amino acids and vitamins, it is often recommended in low calorie diets because it contains only 28 calories for every 100 grams and very little fat.
Cooking it is quite easy, you can choose from many alternatives without fear of ruining it consistency. Raw, roasted, fried, au gratin, sautéed and combined with pasta, rice, meat, fish, legumes and vegetables.