How To Grow Oyster Mushrooms At Home (And Get Plenty Of Flavor And Protein For Free)

You don't need a garden to grow mushrooms—any cool, shady space will do, even a cupboard or dark corner.


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It’s fairly easy to grow oyster mushrooms indoors in a bag or a 2-gallon bucket using sawdust or spent coffee grounds as the growing medium. Mushrooms appreciate the nitrogen in coffee grounds, and the coffee-making hot water treatment clears grounds of mold or microorganisms that might compete with your fungi as they get their mycelium running.

Collect used coffee grounds from a cafe or save your own at home. Keep them in the freezer until you have enough to get growing, or pasteurize your growing medium in the microwave. Depending on the variety, it may only take two weeks or so to get your first crop of mushrooms.

Begin with your butts

Novice mushroom farmers stand the best chance of success by starting with a modest mushroom-growing kit, consisting of “spawn” of an easy-to-grow variety and a container of growing medium. But some mushroom varieties, notably oysters, can be established from the mycelium trailing from stem ends, or “butts.”

Look for mycelium on freshly-picked mushrooms from the wild or from your farmers market.

Packed with nutrients

Mushrooms are a good source of protein, energy-releasing B vitamins, and selenium, a mineral that supports the immune system and fertility. They’re especially helpful for vegetarians and vegans, whose sources of selenium are limited.

Counterintuitively, the shade-loving mushroom is the only produce source of vitamin D, “the sunshine vitamin.”

Dry them for umami

Alternatively described as earthy, meaty, smoky, or savory, umami is the taste that brings flavors together and gives a dish substance. Dried mushrooms are an excellent pantry staple for instant, intensified umami. Cut clean mushrooms into thin slices or dry delicate mushrooms whole. Place the mushrooms on a baking sheet—without oil. Dry them slowly in the oven at about 180 degrees, turning them over once, until they are brittle and completely dry on both sides.

Some cooks swear by the transformative magic of mushroom powder. Pulverize dried porcini or shiitake in a spice grinder or blender. Mix in herbs, chili flakes, salt, and pepper to taste. Sprinkle on eggs, greens, risotto, pasta—even popcorn.

Mushrooms as medicine

Mushrooms are a good source of protein, energy-releasing B vitamins, and selenium.

Some varieties of mushrooms amp up their production of vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Mushrooms high in vitamin D are already being sold in supermarkets, and they could be a future non-animal source of vitamin D supplements.

Western medicine is catching up on an ancient aspect of Asian medicine—the medicinal properties of mushrooms. Recent research has shown shiitake mushrooms may help control the inflammation associated with conditions like arthritis and cancers. Some Japanese researchers are already treating cancer patients with lentinan, a compound derived from mushrooms.

This article appears in Cities Are Now, the Winter 2015 issue of YES! Magazine.

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July 17, 2018

Needs are clear and aspirations well grounded early this morning. However, the Virgo Moon is void of course long before most people begin their workday. The resulting low key atmospherics diminish urgency and ambition. Struggling against the cosmic ebb…
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July 2018

Join us for a monthly gathering of like-hearted people to give and receive angelic energy healing. This session is a combination of group meditation and discussion, along with working in pairs...

Cost: Scale $5-$20 ($10 suggested)

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Pathway Of Joy
884 Broadway, Suite 12
Upstairs in the Spiritual Renaissance Center building
South Portland, ME  04106
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This special 2-part evening offering. Earn your Integrated Energy Therapy® certification in two evenings, while leaving your summer days and weekends open to enjoy the season. Part 1 is...

Cost: $195

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Pathway Of Joy
884 Broadway, Suite 12
South Portland, ME  04106
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What better way to end a busy day than with a little bliss. We'll support your body right where it is today and help you to open your spine to find more movement and flexibility. Begin and end...

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Body Love Wellness Center
484 Bedford St
East Bridgewater, MA  02333
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Relax and restore this summer with free outdoor yoga classes on historic Rogers Field! We’re packing the lawn with yogis of all levels for yoga led by experienced practitioners from Dragonfly...

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Rogers Field
Devens, MA


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If you are worried about getting Parkinson’s or have beginning symptoms, check out a free intro on how to rewire your brain from the inside. First and third Wednesdays of the month,...

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Please note this event is held at an off-site location at the Double Tree Hilton in Danvers, MA There will be a book signing following the mediumship demonstration, and as part of your ticket...

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50 Ferncroft Road
Danvers, MA  01923
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July 20 - 22 The Chinese internal martial arts derive their extraordinary power from the conscious control of one’s subjective state-of-being and the use of jin (internal power)....

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Eastover Estate & Retreat Center
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Lenox, MA  01240
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The mission of the 4th Annual Compassionfest is to unite like-minded people that believe in the values of being just, kindness, equality and compassion. We’ll gather for delicious vegan food...

Cost: Free

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Whitneyville Cultural Commons
1253 Whitney Ave
Hamden, CT  06517
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Saturday, July 21, 10:00am – 4:00pm & Sunday, July 22, 10am – 4:00pm With Patty Collinsworth Get the beginner certification before Linda Howe comes in person to teach a new...

Cost: $170

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Circles of Wisdom
90 Main Street
Andover, MA  01810
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Creative Spirit
80 Washington Street
Marblehead, MA  01945
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July 21 - 22 NEMHoFest, is New England’s premiere metaphysical festival. This year’s line-up includes world renowned guest speakers and vendors from across the...

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Augusta Civic Center
Augusta, ME


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Worcester, MA
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