Oyster Mushrooms

June 28, 2010 By: erik Category: Experiments, Food, Photography, Photos, Timelapse, Videos 687 views

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Oyster MushroomsAs soon as I learned that my friend and grocery store manager, Andrés, cultivates mushrooms, I knew immediately that we had to do a timelapse photography project with his next batch. The particular species he cultivates is Pleurotus ostreatus, the oyster mushroom. He buys preprepared bails of hay wrapped in plastic, to which nutrients, mushroom spores, and water have been added. Holes have been cut in the plastic on the top and sides of the bail. Before you can see any mushroom growth, the whole bail gets warm to the touch, as the nutrient consumption begins inside. When the little fungal sprigs started appearing in the holes, Andrés came to me, with a big grin on his face, and said, “Today’s the day!” So I returned that afternoon and set up the tripod, flash, and intervalometer pointing at the bails of hay in his grocery store’s warehouse right down the street from where I live. And then we waited…

Unfortunately, I don’t have any way to plug my camera or flash into a wall outlet, so I had to go twice a day with my laptop and a spare charged camera battery to download all the photos from the memory card and replace the camera’s battery, a process which required removing the camera from the tripod. Even though I was careful not to move the tripod, every time I changed the battery, either the tripod moved or the level of zoom changed slightly. Thus I was unable to get one long take of the mushrooms growing. I will have to investigate alternate power sources, and perhaps pull the photos out using the USB cable instead of removing the memory card.

The entire process took about 72 hours. After the first batch of mushrooms have been harvested, more will continue grow. Each bail of hay providing four or five harvests. And even then it’s better if you spread the hay in a dank dark corner of your garden, because they will keep growing and growing and growing.

Fresh Oyster Mushroom Recipe

Because these mushrooms were freshly harvested from a clean environment when I cooked them, they didn’t need to be washed at all. In fact, Andrés specifically told me not to wash them because they will absorb the water and then release it into the frying pan later, losing taste as they do. This species of mushroom is fairly common in supermarkets around Spain – they call them setas, which is is a term that encompasses most types of edible mushrooms – but the time between being harvested and the time spent in a refrigerator means they lose a lot of flavor. These were fresh and very flavorful.

  1. Cut the mushrooms at their base with a pair of scissors
  2. Optionally wipe them off a little bit with a napkin. Do not wash them!
  3. Do not cut off their stems. Since they are fresh, the stems are tender and edible.
  4. Sprinkle on a little bit of salt
  5. Sauté them in a little extra virgin olive oil.
  6. Serve.

Some people add a little garlic, but these fresh mushrooms are so flavorful that extra spices are not really necessary. Taste the fungus!!

Timelapse Video

Worth viewing in HD.

Photos

Now on to the photos. More are available in the photoset here.

Oyster Mushrooms

Oyster Mushrooms

Oyster Mushrooms

Andrés with his babies

Andrés looking like a proud father.

Oyster Mushrooms ready for sauteeing

Warming up the frying pan.

Sauteeing Oyster Mushrooms

Sautéing oyster mushrooms.

Sauteed Oyster Mushrooms

On the plate.

Ready to eat a mushroom dinner

A hungry timelapser ready to enjoy the fruits fungi of his labor.

 
  • Andrés

    Well done, Erik! You have done a great job!
    Espero que hayas disfrutado de este experimento tanto como yo.
    Y sobre todo, deseo que, en Octubre, los Rasmussen puedan degustar este producto tan exquisito, como le prometí a tu padre.
    Ójala que este post tenga tanto éxito como aquél que tu ya sabes. Habrá que ir pensando en el siguiente proyecto, amigo!

    Greetings to all friends of Erik’s blog

    • Paul

      Esto se ve muy grande Andrés! Nos vemos en octubre!

      • Andrés

        Of course Mr Rasmussen!!!

    • http://www.erik-rasmussen.com/ Erik R.

      Translation:

      I hope you has as much fun with this experiment as I did. And especially I hope that, in October, The Rasmussens can taste this exquisite product, as I promised your father. I hope this post has as much success as that other post, you know. We shall have to be thinking about the next project, my friend!

      Thank you very, very much, Andrés, for letting me participate in your mushroom cultivation. In English, when someone is good at gardening, we say “they have a green thumb”, but since fungi don’t use chlorophyl…perhaps you have a white thumb?

      I agree that this is only the first of many projects we collaborate on!

  • http://n/a Amb M

    YUM i love these. We used to find them in places like Point Reyes in the Bay Area. I like to eat them in a stir fry with a bit of garlic and green leafy vegetables.