Growing Mushrooms With Rice!

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Introduction: Growing Mushrooms With Rice!

About: Building better gear for growing mushrooms!

Mushrooms are fantastic! They’re bizarre (Cordyceps, a parasite that grows in insects), great for your health (Lion’s Mane, a popular nutraceutical), and good to eat (Maitake, AKA “Hen of the Woods”).

In this instructable, we present an easy way to grow mushrooms directly from cooked organic rice bowls that you get from your grocery store!

The pictures of mushrooms shown in this tutorial are mostly Oyster variants, but a wide variety of mushrooms can be grown using the approach described in this instructable. We’ll take you through the steps that will transform your brown rice into a mushroom harvest!

Let’s grow!

Supplies

There are two parts to growing mushrooms from rice. 

  1. Colonize the rice with mycelium.
  2. Grow mushrooms from the mycelium.

This section describes what you'll need for the first part.

Supplies Needed to Convert your Rice into Mycelium


You’ll need the following items to introduce the mushroom spores to the rice:

1 cooked rice bowl (Nishiki or Minsley brand)
1 mushroom liquid culture syringe
1 wood dowel ( ½“ diameter / 2“ length)
1 upholstery tack
1 candle or lighter
1 synthetic filter
Isopropyl alcohol wipes as needed

You probably have most of these items around the house except for the filter. You can replace the filter with Micropore tape, available at your local pharmacy or at Amazon. Here's an Amazon shopping list for the parts listed.

Mini Task. Push the upholstery tack into one end of the wood dowel. Voila! You’ve built a hot stamp that you’ll use in the next step.

For your convenience, we’ve put together a Starter Kit that includes all of the items listed above, including a rice bowl, an Oyster mushroom live culture and an assembled hot stamp. You can get the Starter Kit on Amazon here. You can also get the Complete Mushroom Growing Kit on Amazon, which includes the Grow Chamber discussed in Part 3.

For mushroom live cultures, there are many vendors online that offer hundreds of mushroom varieties. Typically they are provided in 10ml syringes. Here are some sites you might try:

North Spore, Southwest Mushrooms, MillyWyco

Note that mushrooms have near-infinite variety and differing requirements to grow properly. If you start with Oyster mushrooms, you’ll probably be ok, and we encourage citizen scientists to explore different varieties with this system.


Supplies Needed to Convert your Mycelium into Mushrooms


Please skip to Step 3 to pick the path you want to take for this final step. Each path requires different supplies. You can go ahead and complete Step 1, if you like though. Step 2 will take a while, which will give you time to decide what you want to do in Step 3.

Step 1: Add Mushroom Live Culture to Rice

Place the rice bowl, the live culture syringe, an alcohol wipe, the hot stamp you made, and a candle or lighter on a clean, flat surface, preferably away from air currents. Your kitchen counter or table should be fine.

Follow these steps:

  1. Place the rice bowl in front of you. Orient the position of the transparent window to the right side.
  2. Use an alcohol wipe to clean off the opposite side of the bowl.
  3. Heat your hot stamp and apply it to the rice bowl lid to stamp a hole on the cleaned area. Place the alcohol wipe on top of the hole to keep it sanitized.
  4. Remove the stopper from the mushroom syringe and place the tip of the syringe into the hole you made in the lid of the rice bowl (move the alcohol wipe out of the way first). Some vendors include a needle with the live culture syringe for different protocols. You don't need it.
  5. Using the syringe, inject 3mL of the live culture into the rice. Remove the syringe and wipe the tip off with the alcohol wipe. Put the stopper back into the syringe and place the alcohol wipe back over the hole.
  6. Remove one synthetic filter, wipe it with the alcohol wipe, and place it over the hole.
  7. You're done! Put your hot stamp and candle or lighter away. You should clean the syringe - you'll be using it later. The easiest way to clean your syringe is to put the tip into clean water and draw and plunge it a few times.

--

Great job!

Place the rice bowl out of direct sunlight and not too close to a radiator or other heat source. Some good places are a shelf in your kitchen, or on your desk. 


On to Step 2. Colonizing Rice with Mycelium.

Step 2: Colonizing Rice With Mycelium

In this step, the mushroom live culture converts the brown rice in the bowl into mycelium – a solid block of white material that enables mushrooms to “fruit” or grow. This phase is called colonization

Finishing colonization takes as little as one or two weeks for some varieties (oysters are a good example) to a month or more (e.g., reishi).  

During colonization, the major hazard to your mushrooms is doing too much. You don’t need to water or fertilize the bowl, or put it into the sunlight, like plants need. In order to prepare for the next step, you need to learn how to tell when your rice bowl has completely colonized.

Examine the bowl’s transparent window every few days. Initially, you’ll see brown rice, but as the rice is colonized, it will turn white and you won’t be able to see individual grains any more. 

Try this: hold the bowl in both hands and gently push down on the top of the lid with your thumbs (don’t push down where you put the hole, though). At the beginning, you should feel a squishy sensation that fits what cooked brown rice will feel like. Generally, in a week or so, that sensation should firm up and resist the pressure of your thumbs.

Once the rice you can see in the substrate pod display window turns totally white, and the bowl strongly resists the pressure wherever you apply it, your bowl should be ready for the next step: fruiting.


NOTE: Colonization speed is dependent on many factors, including the temperature inside your home. Most mushrooms are comfortable colonizing around 75 degrees, but some varieties may prefer significantly higher or lower temperatures. For more information, see Paul Stamet’s book in the References Section.

ALERT: Step 2 is going to take over a week, so read Step 3 - you’ll need to make a decision about how to take the final step in “fruiting” your mushrooms. The decision will affect the supplies that you’ll need for fruiting.

Step 3: Fruiting Mushrooms in Mycelium

Picking your Path


Things should be going pretty smoothly at this point. You have a rice bowl colonizing somewhere in your home, cheerily converting the rice into a block of mycelium. The next stop, fruiting mushrooms from the mycelium block that you’re creating, has two paths.

PF Tek has been in use for many years. It can be a reliable way to grow mushrooms at home. It also, generally, will grow more mushrooms than Path 2.


ei2o Tek is a new approach to fruiting mushrooms that is designed to work with rice bowls. It is generally faster and easier to use ei2o than PF Tek, although it may not grow as many mushrooms.


Path 1: PF Tek

There is a featured instructable on PF Tek by that shows you how to fruit mushrooms from mycelium:

https://www.angelo-maxies.com/Growing-Mushrooms:-PF-Tek/

If you choose this path, just start at Step 10. The Fruiting Chamber. You’ll need the following supplies:

perlite
a Tupperware container (as the fruiting chamber)

Alternatively, you might use FreshCap's PF Tek guide on YouTube. You'll need:

a large tote for making the fruiting chamber
coarse perlite
a spray bottle for water
repti-fogger (optional)


Either way, you'll be using a reliable way to grow mushrooms with the bowl of rice that you just colonized.


Path 2: ei2o Tek

The second path is to use a purpose-made growing chamber and procedure with ei2o Tek.

Use this Amazon link if you want the Complete Mushroom Growing System

This instructable will continue with ei2o Tek in Step 4.

Step 4: Move Your Bowl of Mycelium to the Grow Chamber

If you followed the instructions in the previous section, you converted the rice in the rice bowl to mycelium. Before we move to the next step, check how complete the process is:

Carefully remove your rice bowl lid. You should see a solid or nearly solid white surface of mycelium. If you don’t, skip to the step titled What If? to figure out what you need to do next.

Get out your Mycelerator. You’ll need the casing panel, the substrate ring and the fruiting chamber for this step.

  1. Place the casing panel into the bowl, on top of the mycelial surface. It should seat firmly within the bowl.
  2. Next, snap the substrate ring on top of the bowl by gently pressing down on the sides of the substrate ring. The casing panel and substrate ring will interlock.
  3. Add perlite to the casing panel. Spread it to cover the ring surrounding your mycelium.
Mycelerators purchased in 2023 include a humidifier strip that replaces the perlite. Ignore step 3 if you have a humidifier strip. More details in Step 5.
  1. Finally, screw the fruiting chamber into the substrate ring.
  2. You’re ready for the final phase – fruiting!

The mycelium may require daily watering between colonization and fruiting for the mushroom varieties we have tested. Please go to Step 5 for more details.

Step 5: Preparing for Your Mushrooms!

Next Steps

At this stage you might be just a couple of days from fruiting, but the mycelium may take longer to fruit, or it may refuse to fruit indefinitely, if the environment in the fruiting chamber isn’t correct. 

Here’s how to maximize your chances that your mycelium fruits.


Instructions for Mycelerators purchased in 2022. See next section for 2023 Mycelerators.

Supplies Needed (comes with the Mycelerator):

  1. Perlite
  2. Spray bottle

You’ll also need some way to water your mycelium. In the video, we use the syringe from Step 2. You can also use a teaspoon or eyedropper.

Here’s what you need to do to keep your mycelium going:

Water and mist the mycelium in your Mycelerator (daily or as needed):

  1. Unscrew the fruiting chamber from the substrate ring
  2. Remove perlite if it has fallen into the mycelium.
  3. Water the perlite with the syringe or a spoon. --Don’t water the mycelium directly!-- It will take approximately 10mL of filtered water for the perlite to fill to capacity with water. As soon as water forms beneath the perlite, stop watering it.
  4. Fill the spray bottle with filtered water. Spray across the top of the substrate ring (not into the mycelium). This will cause a mist to fall into the mycelium.
  5. Put the fruiting chamber back on the substrate ring.
  6. Confirm that the vent (the "dial" on the top) on the fruiting chamber is closed.


Instructions for Mycelerators purchased in 2023

In the 2023 Mycelerator, you’ll notice that the perlite has been replaced by a reusable humidifier strip.  This makes humidifying the Mycelerator easier and also helps to filter the air that enters the unit. Here are the instructions for using the humidifier strip.

Here’s what you need to do to keep your mycelium going:

Water and mist the mycelium in your Mycelerator as needed.:

  1. Unscrew the fruiting chamber from the substrate ring.
  2. Remove the white humidifier strip from the substrate ring and place it into a bowl of clean water until it is thoroughly soaked. Then, put it back into the substratering. The humidifier strip will maintain high humidity for two or three days (or more, depending on external temperature and humidity).
  3. You can also occasionally mist the fruiting chamber. To do this, fill the spray bottle with clean water. Spray across the top of the substrate ring (not into the mycelium). This will cause a mist to fall into the mycelium.
  4. Put the fruiting chamber back on the substrate ring when you are done watering and misting your mycelium.
  5. Confirm that the vent (the "dial" on the top) on the fruiting chamber is closed.


For both models:

If the Mycelerator’s humidity stays in the 90s, you should be in good shape. 

In a few days, you should see tiny bumps on the top of the mycelial layer. That's known as pinning. Once visible, you may be just a few days away from your first harvest.

Step 6: Fruiting and Havesting

This step is the fun part.

Continue the watering and misting process described in the previous step. As soon as you see significant pinning (those tiny bumps on the surface), you should open the vent at the top of the fruiting chamber.

When your mushrooms look healthy, it's time to harvest! Remove the fruiting chamber and pull off mushrooms one at a time. You may find that twisting them as you pull may be more effective. Alternatively, you can use scissors to cut each mushroom at their base.

When you’ve picked them all, you should disassemble the Mycelerator and clean each piece with an alcohol wipe. Then, you’ll be ready for the next rice bowl.

Now that you have a harvest, you can make yourself an omelet, dehydrate them for tea or supplements and make tinctures

Step 7: Congratulations

Congratulations for finishing this instructable! Live long and prosper.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this instructable, you can add suggestions on this page, or email us at [email protected].

Let’s Grow!

Step 8: References

  1. Growing Gourmet & Medicinal Mushrooms, by Paul Stamets. Available at https://fungi.com/products/growing-gourmet-and-medicinal-mushrooms.
  2. Growing Mushrooms: PF Tek, by Nak. Instructable here: https://www.angelo-maxies.com/Growing-Mushrooms:-PF-Tek/
  3. Mushroom Terminology. North Spore. Article here: https://northspore.com/pages/mushrooms101
  4. AI-based Mushroom shown above courtesy this instructable: Making Art in 60 Seconds With AI: a Short Tutorial for DiffusionBee

Step 9: What If?

“…but I also can’t prove that mushrooms could not be intergalactic spaceships spying on us.” ~ Daniel Dennett


  1. What if my colonization didn’t happen/looks weird?

Colonization never started. This usually means that the live culture you used had a problem with it. One common problem is that live culture has a definite shelf life (you can extend it to at least a few months by putting it in a refrigerator). If this occurs, contact your liquid culture vendor and they should send you a replacement syringe. Stuff happens.

Colonization started, but the rice is contaminated. If you have green or black areas in your bowl, it has been contaminated by bacteria or other fungi. If their areas are small, you can carefully remove them from the bowl and continue the fruiting process. There is no guarantee this will work, however. It may be best to throw out the bowl and start again, with additional attention paid to use the alcohol wipe to sanitize anything that is used around the hole you make with the hot stamp.

Colonization completed, but there are small growths on top of the mycelium. This is good news! Your bowl is aggressively moving toward fruiting. Continue from Step 4: Move Your Bowl Of Mycelium To The Grow Chamber.

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19 Comments

1
The Mod
The Mod

6 weeks ago

Make sure not to leave it open in your house or something. It isn't good for you if you breathe in the spores too much.

3
WUVIE
WUVIE

7 weeks ago on Step 9

Great Instructable, very unique! A fine job you did with this tutorial, indeed!

0
ei2o
ei2o

Tip 8 weeks ago on Step 6

It's possible to use your mycelium block to fruit again after the first harvest. We're putting together an addendum, but you can also check out the FreshCap video linked above, which discusses how to do that.

Once we have a simple repeatable procedure for additional fruiting, we'll put the link here.

1
AAndy
AAndy

8 weeks ago

Excellent instructable!
my one question is why do u have people trash the mycelium after picking? Shouldn't they produce more mushrooms after a short while of rest?
thanks again

0
ei2o
ei2o

Reply 8 weeks ago

Quite right! We'll add a section that talks about what you can do with the mycelium for a second or third fruiting.

1
ilandedit
ilandedit

2 months ago

Two questions. Will this method work for morels?

And also, I read in the other guide, of a person who had their colonization step turning pink, instead of white and someone suggested that it is penicillin. What happens then? I'm uneducated on it, but I think penicillin is/was a base for an antibiotic, and if that is true, is there any danger in handling it? Or is it just ruined?

0
Daboke
Daboke

Reply 8 weeks ago

It is more likely the pink growth is Pseudomonas, a common bacterial contaminant. Toss it!

0
Daboke
Daboke

Reply 8 weeks ago

I recall reading that Morels are extremely difficult or impossible to grow. That was around 30 years ago. Truffles would be nice.

0
ei2o
ei2o

Reply 2 months ago

>Will this method work for morels?

We haven't tested morels in this system yet. There are some reports that brown rice will work, but morels are generally considered hard to grow. We'll be testing a broad variety of mushrooms at ei2o next year and we should have a better answer then.

>...colonization step turning pink, instead of white and someone suggested that it is penicillin.

The color of mycelium isn't always white. Pink Oysters, for example, will often display pink areas during colonization. Having said that, a different color can often indicate contamination. You might post a picture of your mycelium in a reddit or discord mushroom group - perhaps https://www.reddit.com/r/mycology

0
ei2o
ei2o

Reply 2 months ago

Thanks for checking!
The Instructables site adds ellipses when the site link is too long. The link will work fine.

1
ZaRue
ZaRue

Reply 2 months ago

It gave me a 404 error.

0
ei2o
ei2o

Reply 2 months ago

hm. Can you try https://ei2o.square.site ? If that works, click on the button at the middle of the page to see all of the grow kits and chambers. Not sure why the original link is tempermental - sorry!

I cleaned that section up as well. Maybe it will work better for you.

1
lordgadbury
lordgadbury

2 months ago

Clearest process of fruiting mushrooms I have seen.

I am growing a range of mycelium at present, as an amateur gardener that is a great article.

I am fortunate enough to have a garden producing mushrooms naturally. I will use or adjust this method to reproduce interesting shrooms I find.

0
ei2o
ei2o

Reply 2 months ago

Am glad you liked our instructable! Growing mushrooms outside is a great experience, let us know how it works out!

2
Chalet Naturalys
Chalet Naturalys

2 months ago

This was really interesting to read. I've always been fascinated by mushrooms and it's an area I wish I knew more about.
Do you recommend any particular resources to get started?

1
Chalet Naturalys
Chalet Naturalys

Reply 2 months ago

Thank you so much for the links about foraging. I like to walk a lot in forests and of course I see so many mushrooms, but I never know what they are called. This is going to help me a lot, thank you.