Reishi means ‘Divine/Spiritual Mushroom’ in Japanese, and is commonly referred to as the “mushroom of immortality”. This medicinal mushroom is thought to promote longevity and overall health. Reishi is easy yet slow to grow and can be grown as long thin antlers, or as a shelf-like conk. Reishi is woody and bitter, thus usually consumed as a tincture or extract. Good for beginners.
The Mushroom Grow Kit is intended to be grown inside. The Kit contains a bag of hardwood sawdust inoculated with Reishi mycelium and is ready to ‘fruit’.
Step 1: Inspect your Mushroom Grow Kit
- Examine your bag to make sure it is fully myceliated (white all over). If so, then it is ready to start fruiting! However, if you can see areas of brown sawdust that are not myceliated then place your kit in a dark location (~18-24 C), and check it every day until it is all white.
Step 2: Choose a location for your kit
- Place your kit in an area without direct sunlight (partial light enough to read by) at room temperature between 20-26° Mushrooms produce airborne spores, so to reduce exposure, grow in a well-ventilated area or cover with a ‘Humidity Tent’ (see below) once the bag is open.
- DO NOT OPEN the bag, but keep it upright so that there is room for the mushrooms to grow up inside.
- Reishi grows extremely slowly; you will begin to see “antlers” form in a few weeks to a month or two.
- Antlers are created by keeping CO2 levels high.
- Keep the bag closed and let the antlers grow as large as you like.
- They will grow all the way to the top of the bag and then begin to twirl back on themselves.
- Once the antlers are 1 to 2 inches tall, cut off the top of the bag leaving several inches of plastic to help retain humidity.
For Antler-like mushrooms:
For Conk-like mushrooms:
Step 4: Care for your mushrooms
- To increase the humidity, make a ‘Humidity Tent’ by loosely placing a clear plastic bag with 1.5cm holes (~10 to allow for air flow) over the kit.
- Mist the inside of the bag 2-3 times a day with water to maintain condensation on the inside of the bag.
- The increased oxygen (from the holes in the bag) will cause the mushroom to begin to grow horizontally like a shelf (conk).
Step 5: Harvest, Storage and Cooking
- Reishi can be harvested at any stage and can take more than three months to mature.
- Harvest mushroom at the base with a knife when antlers reach the top of the bag or when there is little or no white/yellow around the edge of the conk.
- Slice then dry the mushroom in the sun or a dehydrator, and store in a sealed bag or jar.
- You can use your dried reishi to make power, tincture, tea or try throwing a dried piece in soup stock to extract its beneficial properties.
- The book ‘The Fungal Pharmacy’ by Robert Rogers is a good resource for information on the medicinal properties and ways to use reishi.
Step 6. Compost your ‘spent’ Grow Kit:
- Once you are done fruiting your kit, break up the sawdust/mycelium and put it in your home or city compost or use as a soil amendment in your garden bed.
- Mushrooms produce airborne spores as they grow. When released from the gills they produce a dusty surface on your grow kit and surrounding area. To reduce exposure fruit your kit in a well ventilated area, use a ‘Humidity Tent’ and harvest mushrooms while they are still young.
- Always cook mushrooms before consuming.