Lion's Mane mushroom kits are one of the easiest of all of our Grow Your Own kits. They are very reliable producers and tend to produce multiple rounds of mushrooms. They can be prone to drying out if ambient humidity is too low.
That's not mold; that's mycelium! Your kit includes an amended sawdust block fully colonized with mushroom mycelium. It may appear covered with a soft, white, mold-like substance - that's the mushroom mycelium! It is completely normal. The mycelium of some species is more prominent than others. Check out our FAQ for more information.
Cooking: Due to its consistency and flavor, Lion's Mane can be used as a seafood substitute in recipes. We like to slice it into rounds and pan-fry it in olive oil or butter, or try ripping it up and making 'Lion's Mane Cakes' by following a crab cake recipe with the Lion's Mane subbing in for the crab meat!
Properties: Lion's Mane is considered both an esteemed edible mushroom and a valuable medicinal and is currently being studied for its effects on neural health, Alzheimer's, and dementia. The mushroom contains a substance called erinacine, which has the ability to catalyze the production of nerve growth factor (NFG) and reduce the effects of Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative disorders (Yamada et al., 1997). A study in Japan, on men aged 50-80 years old with mild cognitive impairment, suggests that Lion's Mane is effective at improving cognition. Subjects were split into two groups and half were given dry powdered Lion's Mane three times a day and observed over 16 weeks. At weeks 8, 12, and 16, the group taking Lion's Mane scored significantly better on a cognitive test than the other half in the placebo group (Mori et al., 2008). You can read more about this study here.
1) Inside this box is an amended sawdust block that has been completely colonized by mushroom mycelium. Open the front of your kit along the perforated line and dispose of the remaining cardboard.
2) Slice an 'X' into the plastic underneath with a sharp knife or scissors.
3) Fill the sprayer included in your kit with tap water and spritz the plastic where you sliced your 'X' shape. Spritz your kit at least twice daily - more if you're in a particularly dry climate. (If your mushrooms start to grow but dry up and die, your growing conditions may be too dry and you should make a humidity tent! See instructions below).
4) Place your kit in the most humid part of your home and outside of direct sunlight. We suggest putting it on a kitchen counter close to a sink. The mushroom mycelium will sense the oxygen in the air and produce mushroom 'pins,' another term for 'baby mushrooms.' This will usually begin to happen within two weeks of slicing the plastic.
5) Harvest when the mushroom forms visible 'teeth' and before it starts to yellow. Mushrooms grow quickly, so when you spot your first pins keep an eye on them. The warmer the environment the faster they will grow. Mushrooms should be ready to harvest 2-5 days after pin formation.
How to make a humidity tent:
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! Lion's Mane that look stringy or strange are usually growing that way because they need more air!). Spray the slice at least once per day with the included spray bottle. If you choose to use a humidity tent make sure to spray the inside of the tent once per day to maintain humidity.
*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.