When we first heard about Back to the Roots' at-home mushroom growing kit, we knew we had to give it a try. The thought of harvesting succulent, umami-packed oyster mushrooms right in our kitchen sounded wonderful but the proof is, as they say, in the fungi (just kidding, no one says that). To our delight, the instructions were easy to follow, and our mushrooms sprouted within just a month. But then something strange happened...
Are our minds in the gutter or does this mushroom look a little…odd?
The smaller mushrooms that popped up seem just fine, but is it us or does the ginormous one on the right look a little… unsettling? Then again, growing mushrooms is not a beauty contest, so we should point out that just based on the facts, the kit is easy to use and if we brown thumbs could get our mushrooms to sprout, you have nothing to worry about. But we did wonder what we did wrong to cultivate this undeniably profane-looking beast of a fungus when all of these other satisfied customers got tasty-looking, more, er, typical blooms.
So what can you expect if you purchase one of Back to the Roots’ mini mushroom farms? Each kit comes in a clever cardboard box that also does double duty as a growing container. To get our mushroom farm started, we just followed the instructions (cut the bag filled with spores and 100% recycled coffee grounds, soak it overnight and then spritz with the included water spray bottle a few times a day), and that’s basically it.
The Back to the Roots website says that the kit has “the potential to yield one pound of mushrooms per crop in 10 days” but ours took about 28 days to sprout (we may not have been spritzing enough). Everything was easy as pie and we’re pleased with the results except for the fact that we just don’t seem to find our monster mushroom very appetizing. Still, each box guarantees 2-4 yields, so maybe we’ll have better luck with the next one. Who knows? Maybe we’ll even sprout a Jesus-shaped mushroom that we can sell on eBay!
Photos by Yuka Yoneda