Anyone who knows me in real life can attest to the fact that I most definitely do not have a green thumb. My mum, my sister and Neil are the gardeners in my family so really, I get to enjoy the fruits of other people’s labours. So when I received this Grow Your Own Mushrooms kit from Mushrooms Canada as part of the FBC2013 swag, Mr Neil was pretty dubious 😉 I mean, mushrooms that are “simple” to grow. In a box? I am pretty sure he thought I might mess these up too 😉
The information from the website made it look pretty darned simple: “The Back to the Roots’ grow-at-home mushroom kit lets you grow up to 1 1/2 lbs of gourmet, tasty oyster mushrooms per box…. harvest your first crop in as little as 10 days.”
- Grow up to 1 1/2 lbs of tasty pearl oyster mushrooms per box
- 2 crops guaranteed! Many customers harvest 3 or more crops!
- Grow your first crop in as little as 10 days!
- Just 3 Easy Steps – Open, Mist, and Harvest (spray mister included).
- All indoors – just set on a kitchen window sill and mist twice a day (mister included)
- The soil inside is 100% recycled plant-based waste safe & sustainable
- 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed. If you are not satisfied with your purchase we will send you a replacement kit
And here’s what it looks like – literally, a box you grow your mushrooms in…
The first few days I faithfully misted twice a day but not much was going on. Even Cleo was impatiently waiting…
On Day 7, from the morning to the evening there was a lot of mushroomy magic happening. Teeny tiny mushrooms in the morning which expanded over the course of the day…
On Day 8, they exploded…
On Day 10, I still didn’t think they were ready – the were pretty small still…
So I let them go to Day 11…
And Day 12….
I should probably have harvested them at that point but timing was a little off and I simply didn’t have time to harvest and cook them that day…
So I got to it…
As you can see, they are a little dry on the ends…
Nothing a little butter bath (aka sautéeing!) won’t fix…
Perfect when mixed with a little cream and served on top of a creamy risotto…
Risotto with mushrooms
A basic risotto served with creamy mushrooms. Adapted from Jamie Oliver's basic risotto recipe (http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/rice-recipes/a-basic-risotto-recipe)
- 1 cup mixed mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 4 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 400 g risotto rice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 knob of butter
- Approx 100g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Over medium-high heat, melt the butter and sauté the mushrooms until they are just starting to soften (about 5 minutes - you don't want them too soggy).
- Heat the chicken or vegetable stock over medium-high heat.
- In a separate pot, heat the olive oil and butter and over medium-high heat, sauté the onions, garlic and celery until softened but not coloured.
- Add the rice and stir thoroughly to coat all the rice with the onion sauté mixture.
- Add the wine and increase the heat
- Stir constantly until the wine has nearly evaporated, now lower the heat and add a ladleful of the hot stock.
- Turn down the heat so the mixture is just simmering.
- Stir the rice until the ladleful of stock is completely absorbed.
- Add the next ladleful and stir until it's completely absorbed into the rice mixture as well.
- Continue to add a ladleful of hot stock at a time until, stirring so the rice absorbs the liquid until you've used all the stock. This will take about 15 minutes.
- The rice will be cooked when it still has a slight "bite" when you bite into it. If you run out of stock before you feel the rice is cooked properly, you can add some boiling water (have a kettle on hand).
- Remove from the heat, add the butter and the parmesan.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover the pot and allow to sit while you prepare the mushrooms.
- Re-heat the mushrooms and slowly pour in the cream.
- Cook over medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated. You're not looking to make a sauce, this just gives the mushrooms a creamy flavour.
- Once the cream has nearly evaporated, remove from the heat.
- Serve the risotto in shallow bowls and spoon the mushrooms over the risotto.
- Sprinkle with a little thyme to serve.
- Serve immediately.
Disclosure: I received this kit from Mushrooms Canada who provided kits to all participants at the Food Bloggers of Canada Conference (FBC2013). We were not required to write about our experience growing them (or, ahem, obsessively Instagram them!) but in choosing to do so, I will be entered in a random draw for a $50 gift card. I have not been compensated for writing this post.