Food In the margin

The Prêt-à-Pousser mushroom growing kit

10 November 2016
kit de champignons

During my years as a student, I lived in a small tiny flat on the 6th and final floor of a typical Parisian building. I had to be careful not to buy or keep any extra stuff that I didn’t really need as free space was a rare commodity for me at that time! Because of this, I didn’t grow any flowers in pots or fresh herbs for cooking. Now that I have a proper flat, I have some space for less-than-essential things and it makes for a much more comfortable home. I love growing sprouted seeds in my kitchen, and I also have a rather fabulous aloe vera plant in my living room.

Since both of these endeavours have been going well, I was happy to accept a rather original present from the French company Prêt-à-Pousser (“Ready to Grow” in English). And that is how I ended up with a mushroom growing kit in my house!

cultiver des champignons

The Prêt-à-Pousser oyster mushroom kit

The idea is simple here: the kit includes a cardboard box containing a kilo of soil and recycled straw, an instruction booklet and a small spray bottle. This is all you need to grow your own comestible mushrooms within 10 to 12 days.

It takes literally a minute to set it all up without even having any special tools: you just open the box, cut a cross into the side of it with an ordinary kitchen knife and spray some tap water onto it. You then spray the kit twice daily for 10 days and end up with a lovely cluster of organic mushrooms you can then cook any way you please.

It is a very fun project and I was quite impressed by how fast the mushrooms grew. In the beginning, the soil just gets covered in a rather weird-looking greyish foam you would never think of eating, but then the oyster mushrooms take form and become recognizable as what you would normally buy in a supermarket.

pleurotes gris pret à pousser

There are several recipe ideas in the little booklet, including risotto and a garlic and parsley sauce. But in the end, I devoured my oyster mushrooms in some homemade quesadillas. I started off by stir frying the mushrooms with some olive oil and garlic paste. Then, I heated up some tortillas in a frying pan and topped then with some chopped spring onions, lovely grated cheddar, freshly cracked pepper and chilli seeds. When the cheese had almost melted, I added the mushrooms back in and folded the tortillas in half in the pan. This made for some rather delicious vegetarian quesadillas, if I do say so myself. I liked them so much that I made them again the very next day!

I intend to gift a few of these mushroom kits for Christmas: I think they’d make a wonderful present for people who like nature, gardening and/or cooking. And it will be the perfect excuse to buy a new kit for myself!

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