Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's a Bird, It's a Plane...No it's Super Mushroom! (Oyster Mushrooms)

"If one mushroom can steer the world on the path to greater sustainability, fighting hunger, increasing nutrient return pathways in ecosystems, destroying toxic wastes, forestalling disease, and helping communities integrate a complexity waste stream, oysters stand out."
- Paul Stamets (Mycelium Running)


Well that's a lot of pressure for one little mushroom to take on.  Stopping world hunger, turning waste into reusable nutrients and controlling some of the world's worst diseases all in a day's work for this resilient fungus.  A few weeks ago while making...

pizzas, we encountered our fungy friends for the first time.  These low maintenance mushrooms have the ability to grow on a wide variety of substrates (medium on which to inoculate the spores), which makes them first time-grower friendly.

Unlike the Shiitakes, which were inoculated by directly drilling holes into the Oak wood, the Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) were grown in-between stumps, which supposedly can provide a much longer growth cycle than drilled logs.  The mushrooms featured in this post were inoculated in April and although Oysters tend to grow strongest in the Spring, in early November these big, plump Oysters were ready for harvesting.

Here's another species of medicinal mushroom you may be familiar with...

I have also read that Oysters have medicinal properties that make them antibacterial, antiviral, they help reduce blood pressure and reduce cholesterol.  One ongoing study is aiming to prove that Oysters' ability to positively affect liver metabolism makes it very useful for aiding HIV therapy by helping to prevent clogged arteries and heart disease that some of the necessary antiviral medicines induce.

Just like good value investors, mushrooms invest in assets undervalued by most.  They seek to find opportunities when everyone else has lost interest or overlooked.  When the trees have died and the animals have gone, the mycelium remain and turn these decaying logs into a homebase for powerful, flavorful, nutritious and medicinal mushrooms we can all enjoy and benefit from.  Well someone's got to clean up our mess and I'm glad these guys are around to do it.  So if you have some space, why not try cultivating some Oysters of your own.  If you have any questions just let us know below in our comments section and we'll do our best to find out the answers.



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