Remember the mushroom kit I posted about? Well, our DIY mushroom kit fruited like crazy and we yielded 3 cups of delicious oyster mushrooms! My son was really into spritzing the kit with water, and he was willing to taste them once I cooked them up. This is a really fun science project because the mushrooms grow a lot (roughly doubling in size?) from one day to the next. Here’s what I learned from my first experience. We had a great time, but I don’t think I’ll go for a second fruiting of this kit or break it up to make new kits. I think it’s ready for the garden as a soil amendment. One of the openings in the bag looks a little greenish, so we’re gonna call it done.
Tips I Wish I Had Known for Harvesting Mushrooms
- These things grow REALLY fast. Get your ruler or other measuring device out when you set up the kit so you’ll be ready to measure and harvest when the biggest mushrooms are 2-2.5″ in diameter.
- The mushroom organism will “abort” most primordia to allow one or two dominant ones to grow to their full potential. So don’t cut lots of holes in the plastic everywhere you see primordia, cuz they won’t turn into much anyway, and it just makes the kit dry out.
- Harvest the mushroom bunch by twisting it off instead of cutting it. If you cut it, there’s a stem that stays there and may rot if you try to keep using the kit.
A Recipe for Gomba Paprikás (Mushroom Paprikash)
I cooked up our mushrooms into a Hungarian dish that I love but seldom make. It’s good on its own over pasta or rice or preferably spaetzle (nokkedli or galuska in Hungarian). We don’t do spaetzle because of N’s egg allergy, but it’s delicious! I had this over pasta the first time and a wild rice pilaf with some yellow lentils as leftovers.
Prep time: 30 minutes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1-2 tbsp Hungarian paprika (not the smoked or spicy kinds! Less paprika means a stronger mushroom flavor.)
- 1 tbsp concentrated tomato paste or a fresh tomato & fresh Hungarian green pepper, or guyláskrém
- 3 c. chopped mushrooms (remove tough stems first)
- 1/2 c. water
- 2-3 tbsp. sour cream
- 1-2 tbsp. flour
- chopped parsley for serving
- Heat oil in a large saucepan or small pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until soft.
- Add salt and paprika and stir to coat. Be careful not to burn the spices.
- Add tomato paste, mushrooms, and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer until mushrooms are soft and most of the water has boiled off, about 5 min.
- In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, mix sour cream with enough water to make it liquid and pourable (this is what Hungarian sour cream is actually like). Add flour slowly and stir in completely. The more flour you add, the thicker your mushroom sauce will be. Adjust amount based on how watery the mushrooms are looking.
- Slowly add sour cream/flour mixture to mushrooms. Stir well and simmer until thickened. You could also thicken this dish with corn starch to make it vegan or gluten-free.
- Serve over pasta, rice or spaetzle with a sprinkle of chopped parsley on top.
CaroMarch 14, 2016 at 9:02 pm
Sounds so yummy!!! I want to try it. Any advice on finding Hungarian paprika?
GreenThinkerMarch 14, 2016 at 9:33 pm
Oh, any grocery store should have it in the spice section under ground paprika. I’ve even seen the Hungarian “Pride of Szeged” brand in the little tins at Grocery Outlet here in Seattle – who knows what you’ll find. Enjoy!
DanMarch 15, 2016 at 6:24 pm
Just a quick question, how can you tell when the first fruiting is over? Do the mushrooms just stop producing or do you just have to guess?
GreenThinkerMarch 15, 2016 at 8:38 pm
I was confused about this, too, but in practicality it seems that just one large bunch fruits at once. When the individual mushrooms in that bunch are 2-2.5″ in diameter, you should harvest that whole bunch and the first fruiting is then over. To get a 2nd fruiting you start again with a couple weeks in a dark room and then bring it out into the light again to see if another bunch will grow. This is my understanding but I will check with the experts for you, too!
DorothyMarch 22, 2016 at 2:06 pm
That sounds fun and looks really delicious!