Q&A for mushroom cultivation and cuisine

Dank Mushrooms has been fielding questions about mushroom cultivation and cooking with mushrooms. Stay tuned for answers to common questions in your inbox and online!

What do you do if you have too many mushrooms?
What does it mean that mushrooms are “pinning?”
What should I do with my grow bag after it's spent?

What do you do if you have too many mushrooms?

Gourmet mushrooms may last three days to a week in your refrigerator. Don't worry, you have some options if you have too many!

Refrigerator (3 days) 

If you are storing mushrooms in the refrigerator, do not wash them first. It's OK to wash mushrooms immediately before cooking or drying, however mushrooms will become saturated with the tap water if it is used before storing. To clean fresh mushrooms before refrigeration, try using a dry cloth or paper towel. Place mushrooms in a paper bag in your refrigerator so they don't become over-moist.

Freeze (9 months)

Mushrooms may be frozen, like other foods, however additional steps should be taken. If you choose to freeze your mushrooms, try either steam-blanching them or sauteing them first. This will help to preserve nutrients while the mushrooms are frozen. You can freeze the mushrooms on a tray for several hours and then vacuum seal the frozen mushrooms for added freshness.

Dehydrate or freeze dry (2 years)

Dank Mushrooms is investigating the benefits of freeze dry versus dehydrating mushrooms. Freeze drying has more up front costs, but may result in mushrooms with longer shelf life and lower moisture content than dehydrating.

You may use your kitchen dehydrator, air fryer or oven to dehydrate mushrooms. Simply let them sit in the dry environment until they are brittle. Package the dried mushrooms in plastic bags and place someplace cool or in the refrigerator. Avoid vacuum sealing dried mushrooms as they will flake and crack. When you are ready to eat the dried mushrooms, simply soak them in water until they regain their original constitution.

What does it mean that mushrooms are “pinning?”

The “mushroom” people commonly refer to is only the fruiting body of the fungus organism.  Beneath the surface of the mushroom is a huge organic network called “mycelium.”  This network can be loosely compared to the root structure of a tree; above ground we do not commonly see the tree roots, but know that the roots of the tree are responsible for supporting the tree and getting nutrients from the soil.  This comparison only goes so far, however, because fungi are not plants.  Fungi do not use light and carbon dioxide the way that plants do.  In this way, they are more like animals; fungi consume and repurpose dead organic matter, breathe oxygen and release carbon dioxide into the environment.

The mushroom forms when the organism believes it is dying.  The mushroom will ultimately release spores into the environment for re-colonization before it dies.  Thus, when the mycelium, which thrives in a dark, warm environment, is exposed to an environment more similar to the earth’s surface, mushroom formation begins, starting with “pinning.”

Preceding this stage of growth, the mycelium block will appear more white and begin to have a glossy appearance.