From soups to stir-fries, so many dishes can be made tastier with the addition of mushrooms. Enoki mushrooms are mild-tasting mushrooms with a slightly fruity flavor that are used to add texture and earthiness to dishes. If you’re a soup lover, this is the perfect vegetable to grow at home.
If you want to know how to grow Enoki mushrooms at home, it’s pretty easy. Enoki mushrooms can be grown at home using spawn, a hardwood growing medium like sawdust, a glass container, and a dark location to store your mushrooms while they spore.
We’ll give you step-by-step instructions so you can start your mini mushroom farm at home in no time.
What is the Best Substrate for Mushrooms?
Enoki mushrooms can be found growing on logs and dead trees in the wild. To replicate this natural environment in your mushroom farm, use hardwood substrates such as sawdust or hardwood chips. You can buy oak pellets from gardening stores and soak them in hot water to create a soft substrate similar to sawdust.
Some gardeners have also used substrates like coffee grounds and hay. If you use hay, you must soak it and boil it to kill any microbes that could harm your mushrooms.
Enoki Mushroom Growing Temperature
Enoki mushrooms require high humidity to grow (about 90-100%) and do best in temperatures ranging from 72-77°F (22-27°C). The best way to ensure your mushrooms get this high of humidity is to grow them in batches in small clear containers. These clear containers (glass or plastic) act like a mini greenhouse, reusing the water in the soil to create a stable, moist environment.
How to Grow Enoki Mushrooms at Home
Growing your mushrooms from scratch is easy and can save you money at the grocery store. Plus, we all know homegrown food tastes better! Here’s our step-by-step breakdown of the process.
What You Need
- Glass jars or plastic bottles
- Hardwood substrate
- Enoki mushroom spawn (can be purchased online or at garden stores)
- Sterilize your equipment. You can boil your glass jars in hot water for ten seconds to sterilize them. If you’re using plastic bottles, spray them with an alcohol disinfectant and rinse clean
- Soak your substrate. You want your substrate to expand and hold plenty of water. Hardwood substrates like sawdust can be soaked overnight, giving it a consistency similar to soil. Make sure you use hot water to kill any bacteria in the substrate. Drain your substrate before using it.
- Mix your Enoki mushroom spawn in with your substrate. Mix your spawn with the substrate before adding it to the individual containers so it’s distributed evenly.
- Add the substrate and spawn mixture to your glass or plastic containers. Don’t pack the substrate too tight, and be sure to leave a 1-inch (2.5 cm) gap at the top.
- Cover your containers, but leave some holes to allow air to circulate.
- Place your containers in a dark place. A basement shelf or cupboard will work. Ensure the temperature stays within 72-77°F (22-27°C). Keep the containers in these conditions for 2-3 weeks.
- After 2-3 weeks, your container should begin to display signs of mycelium (white fungus). Once you see this mycelium growth, you can move your container to a cool area with a temperature ranging between 50-55°F (10-12°C).
- Watch as your Enoki mushrooms grow! You can cut and use the mushrooms once they get long enough. Enoki mushrooms will continue to grow even after cutting until the substrate is depleted of moisture and nutrients.
How Long Do Enoki Mushrooms Take to Grow?
From the time when you mix the spawn with the substrate, it takes about 2-3 weeks for the mycelium to form. Not long after, you will begin to see pinhead caps sprout from the substrate. Your mushrooms should be ready to harvest 14-20 days after the first pinhead cap spotting. This will, of course, depend on the conditions and temperature.
Can You Grow Enoki Mushrooms From Cuttings?
It’s possible to grow Enoki mushrooms from the leftovers of store-bought mushrooms. The success rate is relatively low for this method of growing, but if you want to give it a go, here’s how:
- Cut the stems from the end of your store-bought Enoki mushrooms.
- Place the stems in a jar with soaked hardwood substrate. Cover the stems until they are barely visible.
- Place the jar in a dark place with temperatures ranging between 72-77°F (22-27°C) for 2-3 weeks.
- Once mycelium appears, move the jar to a cool area with temperatures ranging between 50-55°F (10-12°C). If successful, you should begin to see Enoki mushroom pinhead caps form within weeks.
Where Does Enoki Mushroom Grow?
Enoki mushrooms are native to Japan, China, and Korea and are commonly used in each country’s cuisine and traditional medicine. Enoki mushrooms have been growing in this region of the world since 800 BCE!
Enoki mushrooms can be found in the wild on deadwood, stumps, and trees. They have a fondness for the Chinese hackberry tree but can also be found growing on oaks, walnut, and persimmon trees.
Wild Enoki mushrooms are much more orange in color than the Enoki mushrooms that can be found in stores. The cultivar we enjoy today was first invented by the Japanese and gave the mushroom its long skinny features and unique texture.
What Does Enoki Mean in Japanese?
Enoki (Flammulina filiformis) is also known as Enokitake in Japanese. Its Japanese namesake comes from the fact that it was cultivated in Japan and is heavily featured in Japanese cuisine.
Enokitake is a combination of two words. “Enoki” is the word for Chinese hackberry, referring to the tree where these mushrooms are commonly found. “Take” is the Japanese word for mushroom. So together, they mean “Hackberry mushroom.” A fitting name!
Are Enoki Mushrooms Healthy?
Although they don’t have much flavor or color, Enoki mushrooms have some surprising health benefits! They contain essential vitamins like B vitamins and fiber. They are also high in niacin, which helps develop the brain and regulate cholesterol.
Some impressive studies show Enoki mushrooms may have the ability to slow the growth of cancer cells. Some test tube studies show that Enoki mushroom extract can block cancer cells from spreading in the liver.
When is Enoki Mushroom Season?
Since cultivated Enoki mushrooms are grown indoors, they are available year-round. You can grow your Enoki mushrooms at home in any season!
A little-known fact is that you can forage Enoki mushrooms in the wild. The most common variety you can find in the wild is golden Enoki. Golden Enoki can be found in North America, Asia, and Europe. They are a popular mushroom for foragers because they grow in the winter. In Vermont, golden Enoki mushrooms will grow straight from the snow as late as January.
In states further south, golden Enoki can be harvested throughout the winter. They are often found on dead trees and favor elms and willows in North America. You must be careful when harvesting wild Enoki because they look similar to other poisonous mushrooms. Traits that make golden enoki unique are:
- a glossy cap
- a brownish-red cap with a dark center and light edges
- a fuzzy stem
Always forage with a mushroom expert until you become better versed in which mushrooms are which.
Even if you don’t have the space for an outdoor garden, it’s always exciting when you can grow small amounts of the food yourself. Growing food is a great way to practice self-sufficiency and a rewarding hobby. Enoki mushrooms are the type of food that can be grown even in the smallest condos or apartments.
Enoki mushrooms can be grown at home using spawn, a hardwood growing medium like sawdust, a glass container, and a dark location to store your mushrooms while they spore.
Within 2-3 weeks, your mini mushroom farm will grow mycelium. Shortly after, you should see Enoki mushrooms pop up from the substrate. As long as you control the climate, you can grow these unique mushrooms all year.