For Christmas, my boyfriend bought me a Blue Oyster Mushroom kit from Mushroom Adventures, and I had so much fun with it. The kit arrived on December 19th, and the box said "do not open until December 30th." This is because the mycelium is still being prepared. On January 2nd, I opened the box, which contained a clear plastic liner and a black plastic bag with slits cut in it. Following the instructions, I placed it in a well-lit location and sprayed it with water daily, and after seven days, the first mushrooms started emerging through the slits in the black plastic!
Within 15 days of opening the box, the mushrooms were larger than my hand and ready to be harvested. This was so low maintenance - all I really had to do was spray the kit with water daily - and so much fun to watch! After I picked the mushrooms and cooked them, I started spraying the mycelium again with water. The instructions said I should get a couple of harvests out of this.
You might be wondering why the mushrooms in my photos aren't blue. Well, the instructions say if they didn't turn blue, it means I didn't give them enough light. No matter - they were still delicious. The texture was so succulent and meaty, and they were much fresher than any oyster mushrooms I've ever had.
Mushroom Adventures also offers portobello and white button mushroom kits. The box is about 2 feet by 2.5 feet and does not really take up a lot of space in my kitchen. It didn't make a mess at all - the clear plastic liner catches all the water and keeps it inside the box. The mushrooms dropped their spores inside the box, and since there's no dirt, I didn't even have to clean them off. I simply just picked them, and cooked them up. Also, since I grew this indoors, I didn't have to deal with bugs!
I've also been told that Fungi Perfecti is a good company to shop for mushroom kits. They offer several different varieties than Mushroom Adventures does, such as shiitake and pioppino mushrooms.
I've only had one harvest so far (the next harvest hasn't sprouted yet) but in the first harvest, I got about a pound and half of oyster mushrooms out of it. Considering oysters sell for around $10 to $12 per pound and the kit cost $36, and I'm supposed to get more harvests out of it, I'd say this is pretty cost effective! Plus, it was so much fun. I think this would make a wonderful family project to do with kids.
(Images: Kathryn Hill)