Pioppino mushroom kits, though reliable, may take extra attention and time to produce mushrooms. They prefer cooler temperatures and need a constant humidity. Using a humidity tent will help mitigate humidity issues as long as there are enough holes in it for proper gas exchange.
Cooking: The Piopinno develops a small, brown cap connected to a long, thin stem. Both the cap and stem are firm and develops a crisp and crunchy texture when cooked. They produce a mild and nutty flavor when cooked.
Properties: Pioppino mushrooms exhibit antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. An ethanol extract of the Pioppino mycelium exhibits 82% antioxidant activity (Asatiani et al., 2007). Additionally, Pioppino mushrooms contain compounds that inhibit the COX-2 enzyme, which is an indication of anti-inflammatory activity (Elgorashi et al., 2008). A study examining the best method to extract the beneficial polysaccharides from Pioppinos demonstrated that the mushrooms should be cooked at ninety degrees Celsius for one hour (Hui-Ling Mao et al., 2007).
1) Your Pioppino mushroom grow kit is an amended sawdust block that has been completely colonized by Pioppino mushroom mycelium. Take the block and place it on its side, exposing a side where the block presses right up against the plastic bag. Take a sharp knife and slice a 5-6 inch slice along the bag, slicing the bag with as little damage done as possible to the block. Gently squeeze out any air left in the bag, take the loose flap without mushroom substrate in it, and fold it underneath the kit. The Pioppino mushroom mycelium will sense the oxygen in the air and produce mushroom ‘pins’, another word for ‘baby mushrooms’. This should begin to happen within two weeks of slicing your bag.
2) Mushrooms need proper humidity and ventilation to survive. 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. If your home is really dry you may want to make a humidity tent to place over your bag. Simply take a trash bag or other loosely fitting plastic bag and put PLENTY of 1/2 inch holes in it (THIS IS IMPORTANT: Mushrooms exhale CO2 and inhale oxygen. They will suffocate themselves if there isn’t adequate airflow! Pioppino that look stringy or strange are usually growing that way because they need more air!) Spray the outside of your block near the slice at least once per day. If you choose to use a humidity tent make sure to spray the inside of the tent once per day to maintain humidity.
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 2-7 days after pin formation.
4) You may choose to attempt a second fruiting off your block! Second harvests are difficult with Pioppino though not impossible. We recommend giving your block a one week break from spraying. Soak your block in cold water for 20 minutes 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.