Enoki mushrooms, also known as Enokitake mushrooms, are a great addition to your culinary repertoire. They are thin and dainty in their cultivated form and appear nothing like the wild variety.
Although they’re not especially common, perhaps you’ve run across enokis while shopping in your grocery store produce section.
If you’ve been wondering what they were and what they’re good for, look no further.
Here’s everything you need to know about growing enoki mushrooms!
Where to Get Supplies for Growing Enoki Mushrooms
You’ve got a couple of options when it comes to growing enoki mushrooms at home:
- Collect your own supplies
- Use a pre-made kit
We’ll cover each one in detail below:
Collecting Your Own Supplies
You’ll need these supplies to start your indoor enoki mushroom farm:
- Healthy enoki spawn
- Growing medium
- A large glass jar with lid
Healthy Spawn. As fungi, enoki mushrooms reproduce through spores, not seeds. These spores are known collectively as spawn.
Growing Medium. You can successfully grow enoki mushrooms using a variety of organic substrates. However, since they grow naturally on trees and deadwood, using substrate derived from hardwood is your best bet.
This jumbo-size bag of oak pellets is a great choice. All you need to do is add boiling water to transform your pellets into a granular, sawdust-like texture.
A Glass Jar with Lid. You’ve probably already got jars stashed in your pantry or cupboard that would be quite suitable for growing enoki mushrooms. Mason jars or old pasta sauce jars are ideal.
As long as the jar is clean, at least 8 inches tall, and has a tight-fitting lid, you’re good to go!
Using a Kit
A kit is the easiest and most convenient option. The typical enoki kit includes suitable substrate, a growing container and instructions for use. Some kits may also include enoki spawn and pre-moisten the substrate for you.
This handmade option from Etsy seller KinokoCultures is a high-quality and easy-to-use starter kit. What’s more, you can also contact the seller to ask questions or get advice.
This all-in-one growth kit from Out Grow is a great choice, especially if you’re a beginner at growing mushrooms. You’ll need to supply your own enoki mushroom spawn, but everything else is contained in the kit, even down to the proper moisture!
Kits definitely make the growing process easier, but there a few downsides to consider:
- It’s a single-use item
- Limited in growing capacity
- Can quickly get expensive for larger-scale growing
If you’re just wanting to explore growing mushrooms at home or do some small-scale experimenting, a kit is ideal.
On the other hand, assembling your own enoki-growing setup takes a little more time and effort. But you’ll be able to re-use your vessel multiple times and you’ll also have more freedom to grow larger batches of mushrooms at a lower cost.
7 Steps to Growing Enoki Mushrooms
This delicate mushroom prefers a warm and humid environment to get started, then a cooler environment to produce its fruit.
If you’re using a kit, be sure to follow the directions on the package. Your kit should come pre-sterilized, and it may have the spawn already mixed in.
If using your own supplies, follow these steps for getting started and growing enoki mushrooms:
Step 1: Sterilize your glass container by submerging it in hot water (not boiling) for about 10 minutes.
You may also choose to wash your container with an antibacterial soap, rinsing all residual soap away with warm or hot water.
Step 2: Moisten your growth medium with boiled tap water, and mix your growth medium and enoki mushroom spawn.
Step 3: Fill your clean container with the growth medium and enoki mushroom spawn and cover.
Step 4: Place the container in a dark, warm (72o-77o F), humid spot.
Make sure the growth medium stays moist-mushrooms cannot grow in a dry environment!
Step 5: After about 2 weeks and up to a month, you should see some thin strands of enoki mushroom roots taking shape.
Step 6: Move your container to a cool (50o-65o F) spot and remove the lid.
Any sunlight exposure is fine, but be aware that light will turn your enoki caps golden brown while growing in the dark will yield white caps. Both are equally delicious!
Step 7: After about 2 months, harvest your enoki mushrooms. Depending on the size of your jar, the mushroom caps may reach over the top!
Potential Problems with Growing Enoki Mushrooms
There are some common mistakes to avoid when growing mushrooms at home:
Make sure your hands, containers, working surfaces, and tools are clean. Contamination in your growing conditions could lead to the loss of your entire crop.
Don’t rush growth stages. It’s hard to wait, but moving your enokis to a cooler environment before they’re ready can stop the growth process in its tracks.
Don’t cut corners: Spend the money for the right equipment!
Use the right habitat. Using a thermometer to ensure that your environment is the right temperature for each growth stage is well worth your time.
Learn what contamination looks like and know when you need to start over. It can be hard to lose a crop you’re excited about, but you’re better safe than sorry.
If you spot mold growing in your container, discard the entire batch of enokis and growth medium immediately.
After re-sterilizing your glass container, start over with a fresh batch of growth medium and enoki spawn.
Enoki Mushroom Background
Enoki mushrooms are native to Japan, China, and Korea. Also known as “velvet shank mushrooms,” several different types and colors can be found around the world.
In their natural habitat, enoki mushrooms grow on Hackberry tree stumps and dead tree bark.
Who knew something so tasty and beneficial could come from dead trees!
You can see how wild enokis look quite a bit different than cultivated ones in this photo:
Using Your Enoki Harvest
There are so many different methods of cooking enoki mushrooms and delicious dishes to make!
Enoki mushrooms have a mild taste that complements a variety of flavor profiles. When served raw, they also have an interesting, not-quite-crunchy texture (just be sure to wash them first!).
Enokis are a staple of numerous traditional Asian dishes. In fact, the list is too long to cover in its entirety here!
But here are just a few ways enoki mushrooms enhance traditional Asian dishes:
- Enoki mushroom soup
- Enoki mushrooms with garlic and scallion sauce
- Steamed enoki mushroom with garlic sauce
And having a ready supply at home is the perfect way to explore this yummy and versatile delicacy.
Try them on salads, in dressings, even cooked in soups and curries they make a delightful addition with great health benefits.
Because of their thin, noodle-like appearance, you can even add them to pasta dishes for a savory yet delicate flavor addition.
Due to their small size, you’ll usually retain the best texture by adding your enokis near the end of the cooking process.
Health Benefits of Enoki Mushrooms
Enoki mushroom benefits extend beyond just their yummy flavor: They’re also a nutrient powerhouse!
According to Healthline, mushrooms (including enoki!) are packed with nutritional goodness, including:
- Several vitamins
They’re also low in sodium and calories, fat-free and cholesterol-free.
Enoki mushrooms have the following good-for-you nutrients and more:
Antioxidants: Protection from free radicals that lead to cancer, heart disease, and other conditions. Selenium, which is essential to thyroid function and metabolism, is in especially high concentration in mushrooms.
B Vitamins: This group includes:
- Pantothenic acid
These nutrients are all good for heart health and are helpful for red blood cell production, digestion, hormones, and skin health.
Beta-glucan: A type of soluble fiber that can:
- Decrease cholesterol
- Assist in regulating blood sugar
- Contributes to heart health
Potassium: Critical for muscle activity, heart and nerve function!
Copper: Assists in red blood cell production and maintenance of nerves and bones.
The Mushroom Council shares even more information regarding the nutrition and health benefits of mushrooms. You’ll find some tasty recipes as well!
Frequently Asked Questions about Growing Enoki Mushrooms
As you can see, there are many uses to enoki mushrooms.
They’re easy to grow (in the correct medium), are packed with health benefits and are gaining popularity with chefs and home cooks.
These delicate mushrooms are also pretty and flavorful. So give them a try!
What are your thoughts about growing mushrooms at home? Do you have any other questions or helpful tips?
Let us know in the comments!