Young and Hungry

Grow Your Own Mushrooms: Week 2 1/2 Report

shroom explosion

Call the Army! The mushrooms are taking over! The mushrooms are taking over! The mushrooms are taking over!

My Mushroom Adventures kit, true to its word, has been producing  offspring like a Catholic family during the war. Even worse, the Portabellas are growing at alarming rates, which the kit warned me about: "Mushrooms will just about double in size every day when they are young."

No shit. Check out the picture from Sunday.

Despite their size, and their threat to break through the very box in which they were birthed, only the monstrous 'shroom in the upper right is ready for picking. How do I know?

From the kit: "A mushroom is mature and ready to be picked when the thin veil covering the gills under the mushroom begins to tear open. The size of the mushroom has nothing to do with maturity; even small mushrooms should be picked when the veil tears open."

I've been feeling up my Portabellas this morning, trying to determine if their veil has broken. Only the big guy's has.

Now my bigger problem is timing. I can't cook my mushrooms, given the nature of my job, until this weekend. Fortunately, Portabellas, according to, have a shelf life of seven days.

Keep those recipe ideas coming!

  • saf

    You need to go the library and read the Bradbury story "Boys! Grow Giant Mushrooms in YOUR Cellar!" before you cook and eat these things.

  • Former Staffer

    Crisp some bacon, sear some scallops, deglaze with by adding spinach to wilt and garlic. When the spinach is wilted add some cream and the crisped bacon back in.

    Place the scallops in a gill side up portabella and cover with spinach and cream sauce. Roast in a 400 oven until the mushroom is cooked (10 minutes or so).

  • Tim Carman

    I may do both of these suggestions, in fact.

  • Former Staffer

    Just make sure you factor in the water the mushroom will exude when roasting. It can thin the sauce you've made quite a bit.

  • GeneM

    You can salt the underside of the mushrooms and let them sit for a bit, salt side down on paper towel. That should draw out some of the moisture. Also, you can broil the mushrooms first, pat dry, add the stuffing and re-heat under broiler to melty goodness.


  • Nik

    Tim – I actually just graduated from UC Berkeley in May ‘09, and started a sustainable and urban mushroom farm here in San Francisco! We’re growing oyster mushrooms on 100% recycled coffee grounds from Peet’s Coffee & Tea…we’re recycling and reusing over 6000lbs a week of coffee grounds and using it as the substrate for our gourmet mushrooms.

    We just launched a new grow-it-at-home kit…all on recycled coffee grounds…would love to get your thoughts. You should try it out.

    Look forward to hearing from you Tim!