Our mushroom fruiting block kits are fully colonized and ready to grow. Each block measures ~9x6x6 inches and weighs ~5lbs.
The chestnut variety is one of the easier advanced fruiting block kits. The first flush yields large beautiful clusters of brownish-red mushrooms. However, it can be trickier to get subsequent fruitings, so attempting a second or third flush will require a little extra work and attention.
For those who enjoy the distinct nutty flavor of chestnut mushrooms, we recommend frying them up with butter and garlic or adding them to your favorite creamy soup or pasta dish. As with other mushrooms, chestnut mushrooms require thorough cooking. However, given their lower moisture content, they do not require “sweating” in the pan.
Your fruiting block kit is an amended sawdust block that has been colonized by mushroom mycelium. Mushrooms need adequate humidity and ventilation to survive and thrive, so proper care is important.
1. Leave the block inside the bag, and do not open it. To activate your block, place it on its side, exposing an area where the block presses right up against the plastic. Take a sharp knife or razor blade and make a 5-to 6-inch cut along this part of the bag, then gently squeeze out any remaining air. Finally, take the loose bag flap, and fold it underneath the kit.
2. Place your sliced bag in the most humid part of your home (like next to the sink) or in a humidity-controlled grow chamber. Make sure it is kept away from direct sunlight, and keep it well hydrated. Do this by spraying the outside of your block, over the sliced area, with water at least once per day.
3. If your home is very dry, and you do not have a humidity-controlled grow chamber, you may need to make a humidity tent to place over the over fruiting block. To do this, find a loose-fitting plastic bag and make plenty of ½-inch holes all over it. Then place it over the fruiting block (that is still inside it’s original bag.) Once you’ve made the humidity tent, be sure to spray the inside of it a minimum of once per day.
4. Within 1-2 weeks of first slicing open your fruiting block bag, the mushrooms will sense the oxygen in the air and begin to produce mushroom “pins,” or little baby mushrooms. When you spot your first mushroom pins, keep a close eye on them. After 5 to 10 days of pin formation, your mushrooms should be ready to harvest.
5. Watch to make sure that your mushrooms don’t begin look “stringy” while growing. If this happens, they require more oxygen. Make sure they are in a spot with adequate ventilation and aren’t too close to other mushroom fruiting blocks or kits.
6. Harvest your mushrooms when they resemble the mushrooms in the photographs, before the caps flatten out and become concave.
Each subsequent harvest will be smaller in size, but can still produce a nice flush. Before trying for another flush,give your block a one-week break from spraying, then soak it in cold water for 20 minutes, and re-start daily water spraying.
Chestnut mushrooms have been found to possess medicinal qualities that inhibit the growth of tumors and microbes. In one study conducted on lab mice, researchers found that polysaccharides taken from chestnut mushroom mycelium reduced the growth of cancerous tumors by about 60 percent (Ohtsuka et al., 1973). Acting as an antimicrobial, an extract was also shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria including E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus (Dulger et al., 2004).
IMPORTANT: Cautions & Considerations
If you’re going to consume home-grown mushrooms, make sure to cook your fresh mushrooms thoroughly with heat. If it is your first time eating this species, it is best to start with a small amount to check for allergies, even if cooked.
Mushrooms grow spores as they develop. This is a natural means of reproduction. This is when people with allergies or compromised immune systems may want to consider putting fruiting mushroom kits outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. Spores in mushrooms sometimes cause respiratory irritation. In rare cases, spores may also cause irritation for some non-allergic or non-immunocompromised mushroom growers. If you are one of them, it is recommended to reduce the overall spore load by harvesting mushrooms while they are still in their younger growth stages.