Germinating Morel Mushrooms
You can grow morel mushrooms from tissue culture or spores. Germinating mushroom spores can be the easiest step in the long and difficult process of growing mushrooms. Morel mushrooms can be a real cash crop and are followed closely by certain farmers. Thousands of people search for morels every year for the delicious taste and also for the thrill of the hunt.
Spore culture is the result of a mushroom population that is genetically distinct. For each type of spore you wish to grow into a mushroom, there is a different set of rules and steps. Once you have chosen the type of spore and mushroom you wish to work with, make sure you know exactly how to grow that particular mushroom.
When you are growing spores, be sure to keep the area sanitized and to thoroughly wash your hands before and after. Sanitatize your tools by holding them over an alcohol flame, then letting them cool for at least 5 seconds.
Begin by boiling one cup of water, then mixing in one tablespoon of agar until it has dissolved. Pour this mixture into your Petri dish no more than a ¼-inch below the top.
Soak your paper clips for 10 minutes in alcohol to sterilize them. Straighten them out except for the ends where there should be a hook. Pierce the small cardboard box with the paper clips. Hang the stem of the mushroom on the hook, and place the Petri dish underneath.
Squeez the mushroom gently for the spores cover, and seal the Petri dish. If the spores do not come out right away, let the mushroom sit for at least 12 hours. After a few days in temperature around 60 degrees and very little light, the spores will germinate into mycelia strands.
Morel or morchella mushrooms are edible and are mostly used for gourmet cooking, especially in French cuisines. These mushrooms look like honeycombs, with a series of ridges and pits between them. Morel mushrooms can most commonly be found growing anywhere from 2 to 3 years after a forest fire.
Morel mushrooms should never be eaten raw. They contain certain toxins that are usually removed after being cooked. Certain amounts of toxins can still be found in morel mushrooms even after they have been cooked. This can be avoided more easily if you do not consume alcohol with these mushrooms. When eating morel mushrooms fresh, keep in mind that soaking them can completely ruin their flavor. You can also purchase them canned or dry.