(Image above does not have precisely accurate colors. The gills and stem are somewhat more lilac colored than shown, and the cap is more mauve.)
Clitocybe nuda (or Lepista nuda), commonly known as Blewit, or Blue Leg Mushrooms that are dried in a carefully controlled environment to preserve the viability of the spawn. Instructions to extract spores are included. (Kit includes a metal tin of dried spawn, and instructions for creating the appropriate substrate and for growing out of doors. Due to a preference for cold temps, this mushroom is best grown outdoors.) Brookhaven Woods strain.
This mushroom is now being commercially cultivated in some areas of the world, with the cultivated mushroom said to lack flavor compared to wild mushrooms - we suspect this is because commercial enterprises cannot resist the impulse to use industrial waste for cultivation rather than natural substrates. Cultivation in woody and leafy compost will likely produce a comparable mushroom to wild mushrooms. People seeking a new mushroom for commercial purposes might do well to experiment with this one, since bagged leaves should be easy to gather in the fall, and woody compost is easy to create with the acquisition of a wood chipper - many people are only too willing to have someone come pick up wood debris from fall or spring pruning. Creation of good substrate is as easy as laying down a layer of topsoil, and covering with a mixture of sawdust and partially composted leaves, and then topping with woodchips and dried leaves. New layers of woodchips and leaves can be applied periodically to keep the bed producing.
Lilac tops, gills, and stems draw attention to this mushroom and provide the basis for identification. The tops usually turn mauve, brown, or tan as they age. Stems and gills may also wash out to tan as they age. No veil, and no ring zone on the stem clue you to separating this from similar non-edible species which do have a veil. The pale pink spore print confirms the ID.
This is a compost mushroom that loves shade and woody debris. It grows well with hardwood sawdust or wood chips, leaf litter, or mixed hardwood litter.
CAUTION!! This mushroom is listed as causing sensitivities in some people. It should NOT be eaten raw, but should always be well-cooked (15 minute minimum). Some people who have reported sensitivities to it have also stated that cooking may not have been thorough. It is considered to be a good edible the world over.
Blewits are considered by many to have excellent flavor. Others find the flavor to be too strong - this suggests perhaps using it mixed with less overpowering mushrooms such as Portobello or Criminis. Recommended uses are with cream sauces, shallots, or chicken, or other mild flavored foods which temper the strength of the Blewits. It is a good sized meaty mushroom, and can reach 6" across. It dries well for use in off-seasons.
It has a distinctive smell, which is described as "fragrant", "lilac", or "orange juice concentrate". If you smell the mushroom itself, it is just sort of oddly mushroomy. But cutting the stem releases a stronger smell - not at all as described at first, but then developing into a more fragrant odor within a minute or so. I can identify hints of both lilac or orange juice scents, but I have to think about it to make the associations.
It is a good garden mushroom for shady woodchip gardens or woody compost piles. It produces at times when other mushrooms may not produce, just as winter sets in, but in different circumstances than other winter mushrooms.
It can be a little tricky to find at times in the wild, because by the time it pops up through the duff, it is already tannish colored, and blends easily with fallen leaves. The slightly pinkish tones of the brown colors of the faded cap set it apart from the more grayish fallen leaves though, cluing you to the possibility of that spot being something other than more leaves!
May be used to culture into woody compost to create spawn, or can be direct sown into the woods, woodchip gardens, or into compost piles that have a high wood content, using several simple non-sterile methods.
Each order of dried spawning mushroom contains enough to create two batches of active spores, which may be cultured and expanded, and then sown into the desired substrates.
Dried Spawn is EASY to use! Just reconstitute in water, and either finely chop or use a blender, and pour the resulting spore and mushroom mixture over your substrate or onto the ground where they need to be sown.
Packaged in metal tins for longest storage and viability. We do not use plastic in handling this product (plastic leaches chlorides, which are fungicidal in effect), and our products are not exposed to chlorine or other harmful chemicals during growth, processing, or handling on our property. You may be assured of the highest quality and maximum growth potential.
NOTE: Dried spawning mushrooms must be selected and handled correctly to produce viable spores. They must also be used correctly to extract spores, and then to culture the spores into the receiving medium. Our proprietary methods ensure viable spores, and we give you instructions for culturing them in a non-sterile environment. (If cultured improperly in a non-sterile environment, things go terribly wrong.) You are not only paying for the mushroom spores, you are paying for our expertise in both the processes we carry out before you see the product, and the instructions we give you for using the spawning mushroom.
Cross contaminations DO occur with non-sterile mushroom spawn (they seem to occur with alarming frequency with supposed sterile spawn as well!). In general, these contaminations are harmless, they may produce other non-edible, or other edible mushrooms, but for the most part, the mushroom you paid for will outnumber the contaminations by many times, and will not establish ahead of the desired mushroom.
Additionally, when using non-sterile methods to culture in natural materials, prior colonizations of unwanted fungus may occur, resulting in the fruiting of unexpected, random mushroom types. This is not at all a disaster, and normally does not cause problems. These mushrooms will typically be inedible, and may be ignored - in our experience, the cultured mushroom still establishes well and will produce well in spite of the interlopers! The chance that a poisonous look-alike would grow instead is virtually non-existent - because dangerous look-alikes don't grow in the same environment as visually similar edible species.
We do advise that you KNOW YOUR MUSHROOM - and that you know what it looks like, so you correctly identify anything coming up. This is wise in every instance, because even when you are using "sterile" kits or materials, rogue mushrooms may grow.
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