Friday, August 3, 2012

Tickled Pink: Grow Oyster Mushrooms! 
A Feast for the Eye and Appetite 
Written by Mary Ellen

The Rose Oyster growing from a sleeve filled with pasteurized straw.

Pink Oyster mushrooms, (or the Rose Oyster, as we like to call them) are another warm weather loving Oyster mushroom (like the Golden Oyster see previous blog). We like to grow them on soaked straw as an indoor project, and for the more experienced cultivators…using pasteurized straw. Want to try something simple and fun? You can even grow these beauties on rolls of toilet paper! This mushroom really does like it warm, so lots of people (including us) are working with it planted on beds of straw/woodchips in the greenhouse...we’ll keep you posted of our progress! Should this work well, we’ll be renaming it something like “Pink Hotty 2012” should any of us forget this 3 month hot spell.

The beautiful color and rose-like appearance help give this oyster its name.

It's a very fast mushroom to produce, harvests occur as early as 12 days after inoculation. Rose Oyster cultures are sensitive to refrigeration, so if they are grown outdoors they will not like temperatures below 50F and certainly not below freezing. Therefore, we have never attempted growing them on logs because our logs stay outside for the winters. We live in the Great Lakes region where we get plenty of days below freezing. For those of you living in the South, we’ve been told the Rose Oyster can be grown on Palm tree sections in the totem method.

If you are growing Rose Oysters yourself, you’ll notice a range of hues as the mushrooms develop; this depending on the surrounding environmental conditions at the time of fruiting. They can range from a barely pink color to a deep rose or salmon red. You’ll also notice the mushrooms are very sturdy; resilient to breaking from bouncing around in a box while transporting them to market. To be truthful, the more finicky among you may translate this characteristic as…well…tough, but this is a great advantage when used as a skewered grilling mushroom in kabobs or in the recipe that follows.

Joe applies a brandy glaze over this months featured recipe.

Glazed Grilled Shrimp, Apricots and Rose Oyster Tacos

In this recipe the Rose Oysters will fade to pale pink with crispy browned edges. It is served up with shrimp, balanced with a glazed fruit and stuffed into a grilled corn tortilla accompanied by sour cream, cilantro and possibly your favorite fresh garden salsa. Amazing!

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/8-1/4 cup apple jack brandy or dark rum, your choice
3 tablespoons dark-brown sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated, peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water

6-8 fresh apricots, cut into quarters or eighths, or substitute with another firm fleshed fruit
32 medium shrimp, we like uncooked frozen shrimp, thawed, tail off
8 ounces of Rose Oyster mushrooms
1-2 package(s) of corn tortillas
Sour cream

•Make glaze: In a small saucepan, combine the lime juice, brandy or rum, sugar and grated ginger and heat until boiling. Stir, simmer another minute or so until the glaze is slightly thick. In a separate bowl, combine the cornstarch with the cold water stir into glaze mixture. Cook, stirring, until thickened and off the heat. Cool.

•Thread thawed shrimp onto skewers that have been presoaked 30 min in water. Season on both sides with salt. Thread fruit slivers onto separate skewers. Do the same with Rose oysters, threading through the stems. Brush shrimp, mushrooms and apricots on both sides with glaze.

•Prepare grill and oil grates. Place loaded skewers on grill; cook, turning once. Cook shrimp until evidence of blackening in spots and shrimp are opaque throughout, 3 to 4 minutes. Oyster mushrooms should be crispy to slightly blackened of edges.

•Sear the corn tortillas on grill until heated through.

•Pile the cooked shrimp, mushrooms and fruit skewers onto a big platter next to a basket of the grilled tortillas. People can load their own and sauce with sour cream, salsa, or whatever else you have in your garden. Just the three main ingredients will provide plenty or flavor and texture for a jubilant August picnic supper!

The finished product!