King Trumpets are a relatively difficult Grow Your Own kit. They prefer cooler temperatures and are prone to drying out or aborting their growth if humidity is not maintained when the mushrooms are still in their early stages. However, when they grow successfully you can expect a large harvest of very meaty and delicious mushrooms. They do not reliably produce second flushes, but may produce if conditions remain controlled and humidity is correct.
Cooking: King Trumpets are one of the meatiest mushrooms able to be cultivated and make a great substitute for meat. They can be wonderful marinated and grilled. They have a somewhat neutral and savory flavor that lends well to many different cuisines and flavors. Thinly sliced they will sear nicely in a pan. With some grated Parmesan cheese, extra virgin olive oil, and fresh thyme, they make a great topping for pasta dishes.
Properties: Mushrooms of the Pleurotus genus, which includes King Trumpets and Oyster mushrooms, have a high protein content, several B vitamins, and all the essential amino acids (Marley, 2009). Their medicinal benefits include promoting anti-tumor activity and lowering high cholesterol. Pleurotus fruiting bodies and distillations have been shown to reduce tumor size in several studies on mice, rats, and hamsters (Hobbs, 1995). Additionally, Pleurotus mushrooms have been used in the Czech Republic as the main ingredient in a dietary supplement used to treat high cholesterol (Hobbs, 1995). Studies in animals have shown that a diet of Pleurotus mushrooms reduced the development of plaque in major arteries (Bobek et al., 1995).
1) Your King Trumpet grow kit is an amended sawdust block that has been completely colonized by King Trumpet mycelium. Before opening your bag at all, you should observe your block closely through the plastic. You want to watch for the development of baby King Trumpet mushrooms (called pinsets by mushroom growers). Once your block has developed mushroom pins, you want to cut the around the circumference of the bag 1-2 inches above the block while leaving one 2 inch section uncut. This should allow the bag to form a clamshell type enclosure around the block. You should be able to both cover the block with the bag, and pull it back to reveal the block to the open air.
2) Mushrooms need proper humidity and ventilation to survive. King trumpets especially love cold places. Place your sliced bag in the most humid part of your home and outside of direct sunlight. We suggest putting your bag on a kitchen counter somewhat close to a sink. The top of the bag that can clamshell open or closed will act as a humidity tent for your mushrooms block. Think of it like maintaining a terrarium. Keep in mind that mushrooms exhale CO2 and inhale oxygen. They will suffocate themselves if there isn’t adequate airflow! Mushrooms that look stringy or strange are usually growing that way because they need more air! Just open up the plastic flap a bit to allow more airflow or cut 1/2 inch holes in the top of the bag. Spray your block and the inside of your bag daily.
3) Harvest your mushrooms when they resemble the photograph on the front of your kit! Harvest before the caps flatten out and become concave. Mushrooms grow quickly, so when you spot your first mushroom pins keep a close eye on them. The warmer the environment the faster they will grow. Mushrooms should be ready to harvest 3-7 days after pin formation.
4) You may choose to attempt a second or third fruiting off your block! Second flushes are somewhat difficult with King Trumpets, but give it a try! We recommend giving your block a one week break between fruitings. Simply leave it alone on your kitchen counter, soak your block in cold water for 20 minutes after one week, drain any water that may have become caught in the bag, and then re-start the process of spraying your blocks with water daily!
*CAUTIONS AND CONSIDERATIONS:
IF YOU PLAN ON CONSUMING YOUR HOME-GROWN MUSHROOMS, MAKE SURE TO COOK THEM THOROUGHLY. IF IT IS YOUR FIRST TIME EATING THIS SPECIES, IT IS BEST TO START WITH A SMALL AMOUNT TO SEE HOW YOUR BODY RESPONDS!
MUSHROOMS PRODUCE SPORES AS THEY DEVELOP. THIS IS A NATURAL MEANS OF REPRODUCTION FOR THE FUNGUS. THEY USUALLY APPEAR AS A DUSTY SURFACE ON YOUR GROW KIT BENEATH THE MUSHROOM CAPS. PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES OR COMPROMISED IMMUNE SYSTEMS MAY WANT TO CONSIDER PUTTING FRUITING MUSHROOM KITS OUTDOORS OR IN A WELL-VENTILATED AREA AS AIRBORNE SPORES SOMETIMES CAUSE RESPIRATORY IRRITATION. SPORES MAY ALSO CAUSE IRRITATION FOR SOME NON-ALLERGIC OR IMMUNE COMPROMISED MUSHROOM GROWERS, THOUGH THIS IS RARE. HARVESTING MUSHROOMS WHILE STILL IN THEIR YOUNGER GROWTH STAGES WILL REDUCE THE OVERALL SPORE LOAD.