These wonderful, underground, fruiting mushrooms are a delicacy everywhere; they are considered the diamond of the kitchen, and are found by using pigs or, more commonly, dogs.
White truffles are found in Northern Italy and parts of Croatia. The mushrooms grow symbiotically with oak, hazel, poplar and beech trees and fruit in the autumn. The flesh is pale cream or brown with white marbling. White truffles can be sold anywhere from $1,000 to $2,200 per pound.
Black truffles are found in the Piedmont region of France and grow with oak and hazelnut trees. Their flavor is slightly stronger than that of the white truffles and is not as delicate.
The Pacific North West is also a very popular place to harvest different but still edible truffles. Oregon is known for their famous “Oregon White Truffle”. The act of finding truffles takes a well trained animal, patience, and the ability to keep your finds a secret. Since truffles are highly regarded in the culinary world, no one gives up their hunting grounds.
I have always been fascinated with mushrooms and love to eat them. One day I went into my cooler and noticed a little fuzz on the base of our oyster mushrooms so I decided to put them in a slurry of wood chips and water. This experiment is to try and grow one of the easiest mushrooms to grow at my house.
Here is the start of the project. The day after the mushrooms were in the slurry we strained out the water and place the wood and mushroom stems into a bin to grow.
You can see the fungi starting to grow, you will notice the three colors of wood, the lighter layer on the bottom has too much water so we drained it one more time.
- The fungi has started to grow quickly.
- If there is too much water then the wood will start to rot and mold and the whole project would be ruined.
Up close picture of the fungi growing inbetween the wood chips.
- After a week in there has been a lot of growth so we will move the fungi into a larger container to allow for even more growth.
This is the wood chip bed for the mushrooms to grow in. The dimension is about 8" by 12".
This round of experimenting is done, we did not boil the wood chips, which we should have to sanitize them, so there was some un-wanted mold growing. Round two will involve cardboard and coffee grounds.
Going to close down the mushroom growing until further notice, I have too many projects going at once and the fungi starts great but finishes with mold on top, which is bad. I need to find a more sterile and controlled environment to attempt to grow them and I will let you all know when it gets started again.
This time I have taken the project a little more seriously and instead of just throwing mushroom stems into a bucket of wood chips, I have taken extra precautions to ensure that I am putting the stems in a sterilized environment.
The first technique that I used was to smash the fuzzy stems between pieces of corrugated cardboard. We put the cardboard into the steamer to sanitize it and in turn it also got it pretty damp. We let it cool then pressed the stems in the middle. After a week they have started to show some growth and it looks to be promising. The picture below is after two weeks of growth.
Our second attempt included exhausted, or used, coffee grounds. This would be a great use for coffee grounds at home, as you can make a little bed to grow mushrooms in. After brewing gallons of coffee a day, I decided to take a couple of batches of used coffee grounds and add our “sprouting” fungi to it. After two days there has been a lot of growth. The coffee grounds seem to be a good medium to grow mushrooms.