Open-Source Protein part II
So there’s a story involving some hurricanes hitting Norway in the winter of ’11-’12, infrastructure disruption, and mail that was way late.
My parents sent us an oyster mushroom growing kit produced by the good fellows at Backtotheroots.com as a Christmas gift. I am a major fan of the company and what they are doing, and I have cultivated mushrooms in the past. . .the major block for continuing production (or for starting production in the first place) is the cleanliness issue.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a slob, and I enjoy living in a clean house, but the cost for starting and maintaining a sterile lab environment are prohibitive to most, not to mention the investment of time that is required. So this project (“Open-Source Protein”) is setting to the task of finding a method (or family of methods) to start and maintain cultivation of this wonderfully healthy source of protein.
So in the 2 months since we finally received our package the loose timeline is as follows:
The project starts
T+7 days: We followed the instructions (cut a “+” and soak the culture-bag. Mist twice a day, expose to indirect sunlight) to no avail. The culture block started secreting a yellow brine, with no other activity
T+9 days: A snap decision is made to save the culture, which is only secreting more of this discharge into its bag. Some jars filled 2/3 with coffee grounds are sterilized in a pressure cooker. 12 hours later, with a clean knife wiped in a strong vinegar solution, small sections of the culture block are cut off, and crumbled into the coffee grounds.
T+12 days: Two of the jars of coffee grounds have been successfully inoculated, one of them is showing the first signs that it has been infested with the dreaded Trichoderma mold. It is immediately disposed of, and the tupper box holding the other two jars is wiped clean. Turns out that sterilization isn’t the way to go, especially with open air (non-sterile/lab conditions) culturing. I’m not so used to being over-effective at things 😛
T+16 days: Several more jars have been inoculated (thanks to the local café for their spent coffee-ground donations. We can’t drink THAT much coffee, try as we might). The two jars from the first batch are fully covered with mycelium, and are now being naturalized to other foodstuffs (a small sliver of a fresh, well-brewed kombucha culture in one, and some cat-hair in the other (hair contains protein, and oyster mushrooms can eat most anything, they just have to develop the enzymes first). Now the great ironic fun: The original block (which we’ve been continuing to mist/fan 2wice a day and keeping in a clear tupper box) finally started to fruit!
There are now 13 jars with healthy cultures growing on coffee grounds. 1 jar/culture has been soaked, and is in the fruiting chamber with the original culture.
Harvesting the ‘shrooms off of the original culture in a few days, and cooking them up (mmmmm, tasty. . .). Naturalizing some more cultures to various complementary substrates (Ash/poplar sawdust, book paper, human hair, etc) and hoping the jar that was soaked will fruit. Stay tuned!