Enoki mushrooms are cultivated for the mild, sweet flavor and crunch they add to hot-pot soups, stir fries, and stews. Especially popular in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese cuisine, enokis are rich in B vitamins and antioxidants. Enokis, also called enokitake, may even fight cancer and boost the immune system.
The enokis found in the grocery store look nothing like the squat, golden Flammulina velutipes that grow on the side of tree trunks in the wild. Enoki develops into stringy, white stems with tiny button caps through carefully managed growing conditions. Low light, temperature controls, and high carbon dioxide are critical for achieving the sproutlike appearance of enokis. Grow your own at home with a mushroom starter kit or with a jar, grain spawn, and substrate.
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Grow Enoki Mushrooms From a Kit
Consider purchasing a growing kit for enoki mushrooms to provide you with all of the tools and materials you need to successfully spawn the mushrooms. Buy an enoki mushroom kit, water as instructed, and get the satisfaction of growing your own mushrooms with very little fuss. The typical growing kit consists of a plastic bag filled with sawdust and grain that is inoculated with mycelium, or a threadlike fungal colony, that is primed and ready to grow once moisture is added. There are a few steps you can follow to reap the best harvest:
- Set the kit on your kitchen counter or somewhere convenient that is warm and in low light, preferably at a Fahrenheit temperature in the low to mid 70s. Add plenty of water according to the growing kit instructions. Place a plastic bag loosely over the top of the kit without sealing to maintain humidity but allow some airflow.
- Mist with water using a spray bottle when needed to maintain moisture. Watch for the enokis to colonize the substrate and eventually begin to emerge and fruit at the surface of the growing medium.
- Move the kit to a cool area with temperatures ranging between 50 and 68 degrees. The mushrooms require some light but should not be placed in direct sunlight. Dimmer light will produce paler mushrooms.
- The enoki mushrooms should be ready to harvest in two weeks to 30 days, after the pinhead caps have fully formed.
Grow Enoki Mushrooms From Spawn
If you enjoy getting your hands dirty and seeing the results of your labor, try growing enokis from grain spawn. This approach is still relatively simple and only requires a few materials: grain spawn, sterilized substrate, and a jar or bottle for growing.
- Clean and then sterilize your jar in a pan of boiling water for 10 minutes. Wash your hands thoroughly before handling any materials.
- Open your bag of presterilized mushroom substrate and add it to the jar, filling it about halfway. Then open the bag of grain spawn and pour it on top until the jar is two-thirds full. Wearing sterile gloves or using a sterilized utensil, thoroughly mix the grain spawn into the substrate. Water until the mixture is moist.
- Loosely cover the top of the jar with a plastic bag. Store the jar in a dimly lit, warm spot, preferably with a temperature in the low to mid 70s. Spray with water using a spray bottle when needed to maintain moisture. Watch out for mold, which could require throwing out your growing medium and starting over.
- When the enoki mycelium overtakes the substrate and begins to emerge at the surface of the growing medium, move the jar to a cool area with dim light and a temperature ranging between 50 and 68 degrees to achieve the best growth.
- The enoki mushrooms will eventually grow above the top of the jar. Your mushrooms should be ready to harvest in two weeks to 30 days, after the pinhead caps have fully formed.