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Amazing Mushrooms

When we first saw these grow-your-own mushroom kits from Back to the Roots at Camp Blogaway, our initial reaction was, “No way.” You can’t grow mushrooms out of a box with coffee grounds. Er…can you?

The answer is, apparently, yes you can. Ten days after we got our mushroom box started, we had an enormous spread of beautiful pearl oyster mushrooms. Not only was it fun for the kids (each day it was the first thing they wanted to look at when they got up in the morning) it also gave us plenty of quick gratification (the mushrooms seemed to grow by the hour, unlike most plants that take days or weeks to grow).

Back to the Roots was founded in 2009 by Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora as a 100% sustainable urban mushroom farm. Now their kits sell at more than 250 Whole Foods stores, and this year they are set to collect, divert and reuse 1 million lbs of coffee grounds from Peet’s Coffee & Tea.

But the real question is…how do the mushrooms taste? We’re happy to report that they are delicious: mild and flavorful, with just the right amount of chewiness (and no coffee aftertaste whatsoever).

We knew that we needed a special recipe to honor our beautiful mushrooms, and we first considered pairing them with heavier grains like barley. But given how delicate these mushrooms were, we decided that they needed to go with something a little lighter like couscous. When we settled on making mushroom couscous, the most logical name came to mind right away -  Moos-cous – and now the kids ask for it by name.

Moos-cous (Mushroom Couscous)

1 T. olive oil

1 medium white onion, finely chopped

1 cup chopped pearl oyster mushrooms

1 cup uncooked couscous

1 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth

2 green onions, chopped

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then add the onions. Saute the onions, turning frequently, until translucent (about 3 or 4 minutes). Add the mushrooms, continuing to turn them frequently, to cook for another 4 minutes. In a separate pot, heat the chicken stock until boiling. Add the couscous, stir, cover, and remove from heat. Let the couscous stand for 5 minutes, then take off the lid and fluff the couscous. Toss in the onions and mushrooms. Top with green onion pieces and serve. Serves 4.

The best thing about these boxes, as far as the kids are concerned, is that now that we’ve gotten the first harvest, we can grow more out of the other side of the box.

Like what you see? You can order your own mushroom kit directly from Back to the Roots. Use this special discount code for a 10 percent discount on the kit: Mushrooms4me10 . Happy growing!

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13 Responses to Amazing Mushrooms

  1. Joe May 16, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    oh, i am so doing that… awesome.

  2. Erika - In Erika's Kitchen May 16, 2011 at 5:42 pm #

    My box is still sitting on my kitchen counter….You’ve motivated me to read the directions!

  3. Laura @ Family Spice May 16, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    I gotta break into my box, too! Those grew so quickly! Very cool!

  4. jollytomato May 16, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    Thanks, Joe, Erika, Laura… and yes – I would definitely encourage anyone with kids to give it a try. It was such a fun and easy project, and the kids really got into it.

  5. Shannon May 18, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

    Can’t wait to go get a box. Yum and fun all in one box.

  6. Kim May 19, 2011 at 9:43 pm #

    I just cracked mine open tonight! It was already sprouting at the top. So I have about 10 days to come up with something special. :)

    Your Moos-cous is the perfect application.

    [K]

  7. sippitysup May 20, 2011 at 8:19 am #

    WOW! Time to pull mine from the closet and get growin’ then eatin’ GREG

  8. Karen May 30, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    So glad your enjoyed the mushrooms! I still get a thrill every time the little mushroom pinheads appear around Day 7. Definitely fun (and yummy) for big kids and small.

    • jollytomato May 30, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

      Thanks, Karen! I think our “pinheads” came even sooner than that. It was SO much fun – we can’t wait to do it again!

  9. Kristina Vanni June 12, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

    Neat! It is nice to see how that worked out. I completely neglected mine and left it in a corner of the garage. Suddenly a mushroom at popped up through the corner of the box! I will need to get a new one so I can properly give it a try. :)

    • jollytomato June 18, 2011 at 8:05 am #

      That’s amazing, Kristina! I guess they were very determined to grow!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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