October 16, 2008

Growing mushrooms Day 12 (3nd harvest)

I'm up in Traverse City, Michigan to check in on the house we're building. I couldn't bear the thought of missing the pom pom blanc mushroom's growth so I brought the log with me. Toting a mushroom log to a hotel did seem a little odd but it was worth it. To travel with them I placed the mushroom log sponge, the log and its plastic tent in a cherry picking bucket. They handled the drive up without any trouble and the coral-like clusters have been slowly increasing in size and becoming toothier.

The directions say to harvest these mushrooms when they are still creamy white and firm. When I felt them this morning the largest cluster was beginning to have a little give. I cut them from the log and gave them a smell. They gave off a rich, musty mushroom aroma similar to chanterelles. Since I've never tasted these mushrooms before I wanted to serve them simply. The directions suggested brushing them with melted butter and baking them to preserve the beautiful exterior texture. This sounded like a great idea but when it came time for dinner I didn't feel like waiting for the oven to heat up just for a handful of mushrooms. Instead, I gently ripped them into half inch florets and browned them in a little "butter" (Earth Balance margarine.)

John and I shared them (with me getting the lion's share) along with some steamed crab legs. This wasn't an intentional pairing but when I was eating them I remembered reading a description of their taste as lobster-like. Maybe it was the crab legs coloring my assessment but I did get a shellfish flavor. Their texture also had a slight stringiness that enhanced the lobster/crab impression. Whatever it was, these were wonderful mushrooms! They and the shiitakes are worth the effort of growing the logs yourself. The pom poms for the fact that they can't be purchased in stores (that I know of) and the shiitakes for their outstanding flavor. For each log I got 2-3 ounces from my first harvests. Soon I can restart each mushroom log and get a second harvest and potentially a third. And with my morel spawn planted in our forest I could have morels next spring!
The pom pom blanc mushroom log
The 1st harvest of pom pom blanc mushrooms

My other mushroom posts:
Growing mushrooms Day 9 (2nd harvest)
Growing mushrooms Days 6 & 7 (1st harvest)
Growing mushrooms Day 5
Growing mushrooms Day 4
Growing mushrooms Day 1
If you are interested in growing your own mushroom logs, I purchased mine from Gourmet Mushrooms.

Visit my other blog Building on Dog Hill for pictures of my new house and woods