Sick of sourdough? Here's a new kitchen project for you to try: tabletop mushrooms

Safety measures during the COVID-19 crisis mean we all need to be creative about using our personal space. Our homes are now our studios, our gyms, our dance floors, our kids' classrooms and more. While many restaurants have now reopened, it's likely that many of us are using one usual domestic space more than normal at this time – the kitchen. If you're looking to try a new tasty project, follow these instructions for tabletop mushrooms from our publication Future Food Today: A cookbook by SPACE10


When enjoying a cup of brewed coffee we harness less than 1 percent of the coffee beans’ nutrients. You could throw away the remaining 99 percent. . .or use it to grow tasty oyster mushrooms at home. All you need are fresh coffee grounds, mycelium, a big jar and some patience. It takes 6 to 8 weeks, depending on the temperature, humidity and, of course, your thirst for coffee.

Microporous tape [find this at your local pharmacy]

Airtight lid [We use a metal, screw-on lid—it’s easier to drill through than glass]

Big glass jar

Spent coffee grounds [Make sure you let the coffee grounds cool down, otherwise the heat will kill the mycelium when you mix the two together.]

Mycelium [Mycelium is the vegetative structure of fungi. It typically grows in a web-like pattern in soil or other organic matter (like a bowl of food you forgot at the back of your fridge). To find this, get in touch with local mushroom farmers or make your own. We suggest doing a little online research beforehand if you decide to go DIY.]

STEP 1 When growing mushrooms, sanitation is key. So before you begin, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and hand sanitiser.

STEP 2 Drill two holes in the lid, about 20 mm in diameter each. To avoid messy edges on a
metal lid, sandwich the metal between two pieces of scrap wood, clamp the whole thing to a work table, then drill through the wood and metal in one go. Search for more detail online if you’re uncertain.

STEP 3 Next, sterilise the lid and jar by submerging them in boiling water for about one minute. Dry, then cover the two holes in the lid with microporous tape to make sure bacteria can’t get in.

STEP 4 Mix the mycelium and your freshly brewed coffee grounds in the jar, cover, and store
in a dark place. Keep the temperature at 20–25°C for 2–3 days, until the grounds are completely covered with white mycelium. Then add 1–2 cm of freshly brewed coffee grounds and wait for the mycelium to cover it up once again. Proceed until the jar is filled with coffee grounds.

STEP 5 When the last coffee grounds have turned white, place the jar in a humid and light place
at about 15–20°C. Avoid direct sunlight. After 10–14 days, the oyster mushrooms will pop up from the holes of the lid, forcing away the microporous tape. If the tape doesn’t come off on its own, give the mushrooms a little help. 

STEP 6 Harvest when there’s a cluster of oyster mushrooms and the heads appear horizontal. After the second or third harvest, the jar won’t produce any more mushrooms. Remove 80 percent of the substrate, put on new microporous tape and add fresh coffee grounds to the jar. Now you’re ready for a second round.

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