Reishi mushrooms have a long history in oriental medicine for their beneficial effects. The mature mushroom is hard and woody and it has a bitter taste due its medicinal ingredients. It is generally used in small quantities to make tea or soup but it can also be ground up and mixed into other foods.
The Reishi mushroom kit is made up of hardwood chips, sawdust, organic wheat bran and a small quantity of crushed limestone and gypsum. It is totally chemical and additive free. Upon delivery, the block will be totally white from the mycelium which has grown through the chips/sawdust mix. This mycelium is your mushroom organism and with the proper care and stimuli it will produce the ” fruits “or mushrooms. Reishi is a slow-growing mushroom and will take several months under the proper conditions to reach full size.
To provide the stimuli necessary for mushroom “fruiting” follow these steps:
- Leave the kit in its original bag, but cut away the plastic bag above the top of the kit, thus exposing only the top of the block (unless you want to produce the “antler” shape, which requires high carbon dioxide, in which case leave the bag unopened)
- This kit must be kept in a high humidity environment (85%-95% RH). This can be achieved by using the perforated bag and the wooden dowels as per the drawing. Remove the block from the original plastic bag and insert the dowels around the top in an arrangement that will hold the perforated bag in a tent-like position over the block. The dowels should be inserted about 1-2 inches into the top of the block, one in the middle and the other 3 around the top perimeter at a slight angle out. It is important to arrange the dowels so that the bag does not touch the block. Place the block with the dowels in the perforated bag so that the bag forms a tent over the block. To keep the humidity high you should mist the block with water at least a couple of times per day. Place the kit on a tray or pie plate large enough to protect the surface of the table or floor because water will condense on the inside of the bag and drip down. Please note that the block of mycelium needs to “breathe” and the perforations in the bag will allow an exchange of gases. The mushrooms require some light, but not direct sunlight as it is too strong. A shady corner, or a florescent bulb will provide adequate light. The optimum temperature range for the kit is 25-30°C (75-85°F).
- Be patient as this mushroom grows quite slowly. Mushroom production begins when small white “bumps” form on the side of the block (these maybe already forming). After a few weeks the colour of these bumps will change into a golden brown colour and the characteristic ‘conch’ shape of Reishi will begin to form. It will take a few months for full development. A fine light brown dust on and/or around the mushroom is a sign of spore production indicating maturity. You can pick the fruiting body at this point by cutting it off the block, or you can let it grow to a larger size before harvesting. Reishi is a hard, woody polypore and will not rot.
- Unlike other kits, Reishi kits will normally only produce one crop. You may be able to get more mushrooms by burying the block in a shady area under a bush in your back yard.
- After the kit is finished you can break it up and it will make an excellent soil conditioner for your potted plants.
The mushroom should be air dried and stored in a sealed container. Use small quantities in preparations (tea or soup). For optimum effect use on a daily basis. An excellent book on the medicinal properties of this mushroom can be obtained from us:
Reishi Mushroom, Herb of Spiritual and Medical Wonder by Terry Willard CDN$ 28.00
Medicinal Mushrooms by Christopher Hobbs ……… CDN$ 25.50