Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Shiitake Log

I got this fantastic log for my birthday. It's sugar gum (at least I'm pretty sure that's what they said it was in the paper that came with it). Normally shiitake grow on oak but it's illegal to ship oak limbs into California for fear of importing some pestilence that we don't currently suffer.

To get it to bloom you shock the log by submersing it in ice cold water over night which makes the fungus think spring has sprung once it is removed and warms back up. Sometimes with a new log it takes two shocks before it's ready to bloom. Mine did. And the first bloom is often small which you can see, mine was.

Now that the mushrooms have been harvested (they were delicious by the way) the log needs to be kept moist while it rests in darkness for about a month. When I shock it again it should produce a more bountiful crop.

They look a little like pancakes and in some of the pictures they look like a shelf fungus because the cap is so big and they pushed up against the vertical bark of the log. Next time I might try to tip the log a bit so that the caps might clear the log and fully form. I can't wait.


  1. That is a very cool birthday present! I have been researching mushroom kits for outdoors (Oregon is a great place for mushrooms) but I think I need to create better habitat back there, so maybe I'll do it next year.

    I'm glad you're enjoying yours, though!

  2. We've done a mushroom box before, but the log looks like more fun! And Paula is right about mushrooms in Oregon. Waaaay fun to go chanterelle hunting in the fall.

  3. I almost bought my fiance a mushroom box for Christmas. Can you tell me where the log came from? I would love to get him one for his birthday!

  4. I bought the log from Lost Creek Mushroom Farm in Oklahoma through their Amazon store.

    So far the log has been a lot of fun. For Christmas, I got a large glass cloche to put over the log. It's really pretty. The mushrooms are protected and we can watch them grow.