Mushrooms are a delectable addition to several dishes, like pasta, salads, and are even a famous meat substitute for vegetarians. Whether you grow your own mushrooms, pick wild mushrooms, or buy mushrooms at the local grocery store, learning how to harvest mushrooms correctly is vital.
Mushroom picking is relatively simple; however, there are many important things to keep in mind before harvesting.
Harvesting mushrooms from the wild or a garden is an excellent way to get some fresh air while enjoying the taste of locally grown food from mushroom beds.
In this article, we teach you when to harvest mushrooms and how to do so correctly. Additionally, we provide the necessary information for where to store your mushrooms and how to identify poisonous or illegal mushroom varieties.
When you pick mushrooms, you must know what kind of mushrooms you are selecting. Because there are dangerous mushrooms, like magic mushrooms, educating yourself on the different types of mushrooms is crucial for your health.
- Basic Information about Mushrooms
- How to Harvest Mushrooms in Your Garden
- Where to Store Mushrooms after Picking
- When to Pick Mushrooms and When to Avoid Poisonous Kinds
- When to Harvest Mushrooms in Your Garden
- How to Identify Chaga Mushrooms
- How to Locate Magic Mushrooms
Basic Information about Mushrooms
Understanding when to pick mushrooms starts with being able to locate a mushroom bed. One identifier of mushroom growth is mycelium on a mushroom substrate.
Mycelium is a fungus that absorbs nutrients from the environment and passes them onto the mushroom. Mycologists have determined that mycelium is safe for humans to consume and contains several nutrients that promote better health.
Mycelium looks like a white, cotton material spread across the surface of a mushroom. Pay attention to mycelium’s color, and if it is green, blue, grey, or black, it is most likely contaminated.
How to Harvest Mushrooms in Your Garden
Utilizing an effective harvesting technique is essential for growers and foragers to not damage any part of the fruit bodies. A mushroom harvest grows underground below the mycelium.
If the mycelium remains on the mushroom farm after harvesting, new mushrooms spawn.
Gently place two fingers at the base of the mushroom and twist in a counter-clockwise direction. Twisting the bottom of the fruiting mushroom breaks the roots that hold the mushroom in place.
After turning, pull the mushroom upward slowly until it is above ground. Harvesting mushrooms is easy when you first break the roots and then pull them out of the earth. This form of harvesting works well on both small mushrooms and larger mushrooms.
Where to Store Mushrooms after Picking
Of course, understanding how to harvest mushrooms is the first step in collecting mushrooms the right way. Storing your hand-picked mushrooms in an ideal location is just as important to ensure the fungi stay fresh.
Whether you pick Portobello or Chanterelle mushrooms, collecting them in a porous cloth bag or basket allows the spores to disperse. Spore dispersal is required for mushrooms to thrive continuously even after harvesting.
As you collect your mushroom harvest, place them in your basket or bag with the pores facing downward. Avoid the use of a plastic bag for harvesting mushrooms.
Plastic bags contain several chemicals that fresh mushrooms absorb, making them potentially dangerous for human consumption.
If you have a large harvest, you may wonder how long do fresh mushrooms last? Unfortunately, they don’t last very long.
When to Pick Mushrooms and When to Avoid Poisonous Kinds
If you plan on harvesting mushrooms in the wild, you must know how to identify poisonous mushrooms. Throughout the world, there are about 70 kinds of toxic mushroom species.
Although only a few of these species are fatal, the others lead to severely uncomfortable symptoms. If you possess any of the following undesirable signs after eating a wild mushroom, consult a doctor immediately.
There are a few indicators that different mushroom types are poisonous. Mushrooms with white gills, a ring around the stem or volva, or a red color on the cap or stem are often toxic.
The volva is a cup-like structure at the mushroom base, only visible when you harvest the mushroom from the bottom. A solid rule of thumb when harvesting mushrooms is that if you feel any doubt, refrain from picking an odd-looking mushroom.
Learning when to harvest mushrooms and how to do it is necessary when locating poisonous mushrooms.
When to Harvest Mushrooms in Your Garden
Growing mushrooms at home in a backyard garden is possible. One of the best things to add to your mushroom’s soil is a substrate. A substrate is similar to composting and allows your mushrooms to grow quicker.
Creating your substrate is simple and requires only a few ingredients. If you do not want to make your own substrate, a mushroom grow kit usually includes one.
Hammer four holes into the lid of a Mason jar before combining the ingredients inside. Stir the homemade mushroom substrate with a spoon until all the contents are well-mixed.
Work the substrate into the mushroom’s soil every day for a week to speed up the mushroom’s first flush. The substrate works with the soil’s nutrients to assist healthy mushroom and mycelium growth in your garden.
How to Identify Chaga Mushrooms
Almost as famous as Oyster mushrooms, Chaga mushrooms are a fantastic type of mushroom that carries numerous health benefits.
Chaga mushrooms are filled with antioxidants that promote a healthy immune system, reduce inflammation, reduce blood sugar levels, and help fight cancerous cells.
When looking for a Chaga mushroom, search for a mushroom that has a golden yellow color. Another useful identifier is the Chaga mushrooms soft and squishy yellow-orange core.
An easy way to pick out Chaga mushrooms is where it is growing. Chaga mushrooms grow almost exclusively on birch trees. Be cautious when harvesting Chaga mushrooms because they have similar features to poisonous mushroom types.
How to Locate Magic Mushrooms
Psilocybe mushrooms are commonly referred to by their street name, shrooms. Consuming psilocybe mushrooms is not only dangerous, but it is also illegal in most of the United States.
Fortunately, there are numerous telltale signs of magic mushrooms, making it simple to know when to pick mushrooms and leave them in the ground.
Most psilocybe mushrooms have a deep golden brown color when they are young and a light golden brown color when mature.
Other signs of magic mushrooms are a dark spot at the center of the mushroom or a blue hue around the stem due to a psilocybin interaction. Psilocybe mushrooms often have veil breaks, which are observable around the mushroom cap.
When harvesting mushrooms in the wild, it is important that you understand which mushrooms are safe to consume and which are dangerous. Sometimes, merely touching a magic mushroom leads to psychedelic effects.
Truffles and mushrooms are two kinds of tasty edible fungi. Unlike truffles, mushrooms are far easier to find and less expensive to grow and consume.
With the countless different mushroom varieties, it’s important to know when to harvest mushrooms that are safe for you to eat. Poisonous mushrooms have several clues located on every area of the mushroom that helps you avoid them.
Whether you grow mushrooms in a garden or harvest them from the forest, using the proper harvesting techniques allows your fungi to stay fresh and ready to eat.
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