How to Grow Button Mushrooms
Growing button mushrooms from home, learn how to grow button mushrooms with growing kits and home-made appliances.
Button mushrooms may not be considered the most exciting of the mushroom family, but they certainly are the most dependable. Known as the common store mushroom (Agaricus Bisporus), this particular fungi keeps well and is available every single day of the year, no matter what the weather.
All about the Button Mushroom
Button mushrooms are also sometimes called commercial mushrooms. They date back to the 1700s, when they were cultivated by farmers inFranceon horse manure farms. Manure is actually one of the best places to grow these mushrooms (more on growing techniques later). Don’t be grossed out though; after washing the mushrooms they are perfectly fine to eat!
Back when button mushrooms first started being grown and widely used, they were a brown color. The button mushrooms that you see today are white. So, what happened? Well, sometime in the 1920s, aPennsylvaniafarmer found some white button mushrooms growing in a clump on his farm. He was used to seeing the brown buttons, so you can bet that he was pretty excited. He grew cultures from these new, rare white capped mushrooms, and thus the white button mushroom was born.
The button mushroom is a superstar in theUnited Statestoday. It used to be the most widely grown of the mushroom family, but was recently bumped off the top spot. It still ranks high though, and you can head to any grocery store to try one of these fairly mild flavored mushrooms.
What are Button Mushrooms Used For?
Common white button mushrooms are used prevalently in a variety of different recipes. They are sold in grocery stores in fresh varieties and canned. These mushrooms have an earthy, yet mild flavor that lends well to many different types of foods and seasonings.
For the most part, these mushrooms taste the best when they are fresh, whole and unopened. This is because the outside veil that protects the gills is not broken. Once it has been broken, the cap will expand and the inside flesh starts to soften, which will give the mushroom a stronger taste. The button mushroom will not keep as long after it has been cut, as it will slowly begin to darken and the taste will become stronger and less mild.
Cultivated varieties that you grow yourself or purchase in the store will taste great in nearly any recipe that you think of. They are mild and soft enough to work perfectly in soups and stews, but they can also be featured raw in a salad. The flavors also lend well to egg dishes and meats.
Depending on whether you have a wild variety of buttons or a farm-grown version, the taste can be a little different. Wild Agaricus look very similar to the cultivated species; however they have a slightly darker color and black gills when they are mature. The wild buttons come in three common varieties called the “field mushroom,” “the horse mushroom,” and the “prince mushroom.”
- The field button mushroom grows wildly in pastures and grassy areas, usually in late autumn. These mushrooms taste fantastic when mixed in egg dishes or with other vegetables. They have a lot of juices when cooked, and taste great on pizzas and with other meat as well.
- The “horse” button mushroom is usually more robust and larger in size than the cultivated button mushroom. It can also grow in fields, pastures or forests. This one has more of a cream color and tastes wonderful raw in salads or with other fresh vegetables.
- The “prince” mushroom is known for having meaty flesh and for being sweeter than cultivated buttons. These grow all over, from city parks to deeps forests in the wild. These mushrooms are great for stuffed mushroom dishes, and can also work well sautéed in butter and pepper and served with meat. They also taste great served alone with some herbs and olive oil.
Growing Your Own Button Mushrooms
You can easily grow your own button mushrooms at home from scratch, you just need to follow these steps and give them the loving care that they need.
In order to grow buttons, you will need:
- 2 by 3 foot growing tray
- Button mushroom spawn (purchase from a garden supply store or online garden store)
- Water spray bottle
How to Grow Button Mushrooms (Step-by-Step Guide)
- Step 1
Fill your growing tray with compost and then water. You want the compost to be moist enough, but it should still crumble if you sift it between your fingers.
- Step 2
Mix the dry mushroom spawn flakes in with your compost. You’ll want to make sure to loosen up the mixture and that you heap it into the tray in piles that are not packed down. Leave to set overnight. The next morning, use a flat objet to press the loose piles down.
- Step 3
Keep at a mild temperature between 65 and 70 degree F and make sure to water lightly twice per day.
- Step 4
You should start to see white webbing within a couple of weeks. Once you do, place a 1 ½ inch layer of peat moss that is moist over your mushroom webbing. Cover this with multiple layers of newspapers and keep these moist as well. Grow for another 10 days.
- Step 6
Get rid of the newspaper after 10 days and you should see tiny button heads. Pick when they are at the size that you desire. Smaller, young mushrooms are firmer, while more mature ones are softer and have a stronger flavor.
Enjoy your tasty button mushrooms however you like them!
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