Congratulations on successfully growing your own mushrooms!
Now that your mushrooms have reached maturity and have started to fruit, it's time to learn how to harvest and dry them properly to preserve their quality and potency.
Harvesting the mushrooms
Before harvesting your mushrooms, make sure to use a sterilized tool to prevent contamination. Gently twist and pull the mushroom stem to detach it from the substrate, and avoid touching the gills or the cap to prevent bruising.
Drying the mushrooms
Drying your mushrooms is crucial to preserve their quality and potency. Here are some tips to ensure proper drying:
- Cut open the area where it has turned black: If your mushroom turns black after drying, it could be a sign of bacterial contamination. To check if it's bacterial contamination or just spores on top of the mushroom, cut open the affected area. If it's slimy or black all the way through, it's likely bacterial contamination, and the batch should be discarded. However, if it's just spores on top of the mushroom, it's safe to consume.
- Use mild heat and lots of moving air: To dry your mushrooms, use mild heat and lots of air movement. A fan alone is better than a heater alone, but both are best. Avoid using too much heat as it may cause the mushrooms to lose their potency.
- Don't rush the drying process: Drying your mushrooms too quickly may cause them to lose potency and become less effective. Be patient and let them dry naturally to ensure the best results.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your mushrooms are properly dried and will retain their quality and potency. Enjoy your homegrown mushrooms and happy harvesting!