Forij fruiting kits include a supplemented sawdust block that is fully colonized with gourmet mycelium (think of mycelium to mushrooms as trees to apples, the mushrooms will grow from a myceliated base). This sawdust fruiting block is contained within a sleek, sturdy, waterproof box. With your kit, you will also receive a spray bottle, detailed instructions, a recipe card, and FAQs.
Species available for order for the Forij fruiting kits are:
- Blue oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus) - mild, fleshy, full-bodied
- Pink oyster (Pleurotus djamor) - meaty, high in protein
- White oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus) - mild, fleshy, full-bodied
- Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus) - seafood-like, stringy, sweet
- Pioppino (Agrocybe aegerita) - nutty, delicate, earthy
- Speckled Chestnut (Pholiota adiposa) - nutty, crunchy, earthy
Each kit comes with a recipe card with a unique and delicious way to cook your mushrooms. Be sure to keep an eye out for monthly specials!
We recommend keeping your Grow Kit in a moist area indoors, away from direct sunlight. Near a kitchen sink is a spot that will provide you with additional moisture in the air. Additionally, you can make a humidity tent to create a microclimate with elevated moisture. Do not keep your fruiting block in an area with no ambient light. Do not store your fruiting block in a cupboard or pantry.
The life cycle of a saprophytic fungus is more than what meets the eye! A tangled network of mycelium (‘mushroom roots’) spreads out within a substrate such as hardwood sawdust and, when it’s consumed all nutrients, the fungus prepares to ‘fruit’. When mycologists reference fruiting, they are referring to the growth of a ‘fruiting body’ which is what we know as mushrooms.
The white mycelium growing around your fruiting block is a living fungus. When out of nutrients to consume, the mycelium has a goal to fruit into mushrooms that will spread its spores and extend its life cycle. To avoid disruption to the life cycle we recommend cutting open your block as soon as it is fully covered in white. However, the block can be stored in a fridge (4oC) or another cool, dry space away from direct sunlight for about 4 weeks. Pink Oyster fruiting blocks can not be stored in the fridge as they are not resilient in temperatures lower than 5oC.
Even with proper storage, your fruiting block is eager to grow mushrooms and may begin to fruit within the bag. This is no big deal. You can still cut your ‘X’ and have thriving mushrooms. You can even make a little cut above the pins to help them grow.
Something Seems Wrong
Hooray! Your fruiting block has arrived. Before cutting open the bag be sure to thoroughly inspect the contents within the bag, and the bag itself. A healthy colonized fruiting block will have a network of white mycelium interlaced with brown sawdust. Check that there are no holes in the bag. Look for any unusual colours, such as green, black, or blue (a pink tinge in the mycelium of Pink Oysters and Lion’s Mane is normal, as is a yellow tinge). Any of these colours could indicate mold contamination has occurred during transit. We also suggest giving your bag a sniff to see if a foul odour is detectable. If you notice any discolouration please take a picture and email us. We would be happy to advise you if it has been exposed to contamination and replace it free of charge if it has, so long as the bag has not been opened.
For optimal mushroom growth, the fruiting block should be compact, like a brick. If when you receive your fruiting block it has broken apart there is no need to worry as it is still salvageable. Breaking up of the substrate is common due to jostling during transit. Gently press to block together to create a solid foundation. We recommend giving the block a bit of time to re-establish itself before cutting it open.
If you were eager and already cut open your block, squish it back together to the best of your ability. Then, to retain moisture, we recommend a humidity tent until the mushrooms start pinning (small mushrooms appear). You can then remove the humidity tent (or not!) and continue to spray regularly.
There are several species of fungi-loving gnats. If the bag broke in transit, gnats would be eager to take advantage. If you find gnats before cutting into your fruiting block, take a picture and email it to us. We will replace your fruiting block ASAP. If you find that your block has attracted gnats after slicing it open, we recommend you purchase a fly trap or make a homemade one.
Give it time! Sometimes the blocks can get broken up in transit and just need a little time to heal themselves. If you have a Lion’s Mane kit, the mycelium often appears very fine or unnoticeable. We guarantee our fruiting blocks will produce mushroom “pins” within 2 weeks. If after 2 weeks after cutting open the bag you have not seen any signs of fruiting, email us with evidence and we will send you a new fruiting block.
It is unlikely that the wrong species was sent to you, but mistakes happen! Give the mushrooms time to grow. The pins (baby mushrooms) look different from the mature mushroom. If once matured, it still appears to be the wrong species, take a picture, and email our team. Keeping in mind that all mushrooms are unique, and it may not look quite like pictures you may have seen. We will replace the block free of charge if you were sent the wrong species.
Try using a humidity tent! This can easily be made with a clear garbage bag or plastic tote. Make sure to cut several 1/2 “holes throughout the bag, mushrooms require fresh air to fruit. Then drape the bag over the block. Make sure to continue to mist the block with water multiple times a day.
No, do not open the bag or take the fruiting block out of the plastic. Mushrooms require moisture to grow, leaving the plastic on the block and only cutting open sections keeps the moisture in. Additionally, it keeps the integrity of the shape of the block.
This is normal. Once the mycelium has covered the entirety of the fruiting block the mushrooms want to fruit. Cutting the plastic gives them an influx of oxygen to fruit toward but some of the pins are just a bit too eager! You can cut the plastic above the baby mushroom for it to flourish.
For folks unfamiliar with the look of mushroom mycelium, it could easily be mistaken for mold! The fruiting block contains mycelium woven throughout the sawdust block. This is the “mushroom root” that the mushrooms will fruit from. Mycelium is soft and white, it should coat your fruiting block. Some species have more prominent mycelium than others. For example, Blue Oyster mycelium is often thick and spongy, whereas Lion’s Mane is fine and sometimes difficult to see. Lion’s Mane and Pink Oyster mycelium may have a pink hue. This is normal and healthy.
Before shipping, each bag is thoroughly inspected to ensure no mold is present. However, if the bag was damaged in transit there is a possibility mold could have found a way into the fruiting block. Inspect your bag for any green, black or orange patches. Contact us with a photo and we will send you a replacement.
Watering & Dry Blocks
Maintaining moisture within the fruiting block is essential for the mushrooms’ fruiting process. Starting immediately after you cut open the plastic on your fruiting block, we recommend using a spray bottle to spritz the area around the fruiting block 2-3 times daily with tap water. Spray more frequently if your fruiting block is stored in a dry climate. Do not spray directly onto the mushrooms. Making a humidity tent is a great way to maximise humidity. If using a humidity tent you can angle the spray bottle to mist the interior of the bag to create moisture within the plastic.
Humidity tents can be built in several different ways. One of the easiest ways to build a humidity tent, with household items, is to take a garbage bag, or monotub and prop it up with some sort of stick. If using a plastic bag you can also tape it to a wall above your mushroom. Pierce the plastic bag or monotub with several ½ “ holes, mushrooms require fresh air to trigger fruiting. The goal of the humidity tent is to maintain moisture levels surrounding the fruiting block after spraying. Spray 2-3 times daily. You can angle the bottle to mist the interior of the bag or monotub.
Maybe the air surrounding the fruiting block is a bit too dry! Make sure the fruiting block is placed in a moist area, such as near a sink, and out of direct sunlight and not close to a drafty area such as a window.
If you still notice your mushrooms drying out, we do have one more trick to retain moisture in a dried-out block. Place the block in a bowl of water. For oyster mushrooms leave the block soaking for 20 minutes, but for Lion’s Mane do not leave it soaking for longer than 10 minutes as the mycelium is very fragile and can fall apart easily.
After soaking your fruiting block it is important to drain any standing water that may still be inside. To do so, leave the cut side down to drain for 10-15 minutes then pat it dry and place the cut side up, continue spraying 2-3 times daily, more if you are in a dry climate, and wait for the pins to form. This technique can be useful for generating additional flushes.
Mushrooms will dry out and cease growing if there is not enough humidity around the block. Even if the first pins die the block still has everything it needs to produce a second flush of beautiful mushrooms! First pluck off the dead pins, then wait 1 week allowing the block to dry out. After a week you can soak the block in water for 20 minutes (no longer than 10 for Lion’s Mane). Make sure to drain out excess water.
Now it’s time to give your mushrooms a second chance. If you did not use a humidity tent the first go-round it may be a good idea. The humidity tent will create a humid microenvironment. Make sure to spritz with water 2-3 times daily, more if you are in a particularly dry environment.
Mushrooms fruit in all sorts of ways! As your mushrooms are pinning (just popping up) they may look very different from the mature mushroom so give them a bit of time to flourish.
If the mushrooms are developing stringy, straggly, or sparse they may be lacking oxygen. Try moving them to a spot with a bit more airflow or place a fan in the vicinity (if you do this it is important to maintain moisture). Other abnormalities could be due to a moisture issue. Try using a humidity tent and do not spray directly onto the fruiting body, as they can become waterlogged. This is especially true for Lion’s Mane, they may become yellow and soggy due to excess moisture. Pale caps may be due to a lack of sunlight. Indirect sunlight surrounding the fruiting block is ideal. Do not store them in a dark area.
Mushrooms should be harvested before they get the chance to complete their life cycle and disperse their spores, as they begin to wither after spore release. Oyster mushrooms indicate they are ready to release spores when their caps start to flatten out. Harvesting should take place right before the caps begin to flatten when the caps are just starting to curl under. Mushrooms grow very quickly so it is important to keep an eye on them every day looking for the ideal time to harvest. If you wait a tad too long and the caps do flatten out, do not worry! The caps are still edible but they may not stay fresh as long and are more delicate. If they look moldy or dry they were probably left too long.
Lion’s Mane should be harvested before it turns yellow and mushy. Since they do not have caps and look more like a lump you can gauge when to harvest them by the length of their teeth. When the teeth are about ½ inch long it is time to harvest.
Mushrooms can be harvested several times within the lifecycle of one fruiting block. When mycologists refer to a flush they are referencing one harvest of multiple mushrooms that grow together. The species provided in our fruiting blocks will produce multiple mushrooms at a time. One flush is guaranteed but it is very feasible to get a second, third, or possibly fourth and fifth flush.
If you want to try for multiple flushes, and you absolutely should! It is important to maintain moisture in the block. After harvesting your first flush continue spraying your fruiting block as you were before. Do not make another ‘X’ or take the block out of the plastic. If it is looking dry you can make a humidity tent.
With each subsequent flush, the amount of time for pins (baby mushrooms) to form will be a little longer than the last. If after two weeks you have not seen any evidence of your second flush, and the fruiting block seems dry, we recommend soaking the block. Place the block in a bowl of water. For oyster mushrooms leave the block soaking for 20 minutes, but for Lion’s Mane do not leave it soaking for longer than 10 minutes as the mycelium is very fragile and can fall apart easily.
After soaking your fruiting block it is important to drain any standing water that may still be inside. To do so, leave the cut side down to drain for 10-15 minutes then pat it dry and place the cut side up, continue spraying 2-3 times daily and wait for the pins to form.
We guarantee 1 flush from our fruiting block but, species-dependent, second, third, or even fourth flushes are not out of the norm! Growing mushrooms can be a bit tricky so it pays to have a bit of patience. If you follow the instructions and meticulously ensure the mushrooms are well hydrated there is no reason you can’t have multiple beautiful flushes.
For the first flush, you can expect a yield of about 100-250g. This varies with the macro and microenvironment, and with the amount of effort put into maintaining the kit. Generally, yields in subsequent flushes will be smaller as the fungi have been depleting the nutrients in the block.
For all of our species, you can simply twist them off, or use a knife if you prefer. Make sure to wash off any sawdust and cook thoroughly. Mushrooms are best cooked right after harvesting but can be stored in the main section of the fridge in a paper bag or loosely sealed plastic one for a few days.
Preparing & Cooking
YES! It is exceptionally important to thoroughly cook the mushrooms harvested from your fruiting block. The cell walls of fungi contain a fibrous substance called chitin, which is difficult to digest. Cooking your mushrooms will break down the chitin, thus making them significantly easier to break down in your body. Cook them until they are soft. Cook time is often like that of cooking a carrot. For species you have never consumed before, it is recommended to eat a small amount and see how your body reacts.
Yes, you can! When your block is “spent,” you can compost the contents of your block by crumpling and burying the myceliated sawdust in your soil to enrich your plants and crops. Mycelium and plant roots have a symbiotic relationship--the mycelium will help the soil retain moisture and boost it’s CO2 content, allowing your crops to grow bigger and healthier. Plant roots tend to release sugars and oxygen back into the soil, which the mycelium happily consumes to stay alive.