What is Enoki Mushroom?
Enoki mushrooms (Flammulina velutipes), also known as Enokitake mushrooms, Velvet Stem, Winter Mushroom, Velvet Foot, or Velvet Shank.
Enoki is white and resembles spaghetti noodles (long, thin stem). This is because they're grown in the dark and the stems stretch out while seeking light.
Adding Enoki to your diet is beneficial because they are high in iron and calcium, high in protein, fiber, amino acids, and also contain B vitamins. Unlike the majority of mushrooms, Enoki is low in calories as well as sodium.
Health benefits of Enoki mushrooms
The medicinal value of Enoki mushrooms is due to the beta-glucan content, which has been known to have immune-supporting properties. Additionally, Enoki mushrooms decrease cholesterol levels and help fight heart diseases.
Enoki works as a natural anti-cancer agent due to the high level of antioxidants in it, which helps protect against free radicals that can cause cellular damage. The carotenoids in Enoki have been known to improve eye health as well as reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
Enoki's health benefits are also due to their amino acids that help with mood-boosting neurotransmitters like serotonin, which is why Enoki is known as an anti-depressant.
They are also used to treat liver infections.
How to grow Enoki Mushrooms at home
Enoki is extremely easy to grow.
It takes an average of 2 months for the Enoki to fully grow, with temperatures ranging from 10 degrees Celsius during the day and 5 degrees Celsius at night.
The temperature also determines the flavour. The warmer the temperature, the lighter it will be compared with flavours. If you're looking for a stronger taste, then minimally decrease the temperature. They also seem to grow faster when their host plants are in direct sunlight.
Enoki likes to have humidity levels around 85% - 90%. The mushrooms require high relative humidity and bright light conditions for proper development. If you can't provide bright light, just place them in a well-lit area.
How to grow Enoki mushrooms with a growing kit
It will be in your best interests to invest in an all-in-one growth kit because you don't have to buy each item separately.
The pre-made kit comes in different variations
- Mushrooms-In-A-Bag: Ideal for beginners because of its simplicity. It only requires regular watering and indirect sunlight, in this case, artificial sunlight.
- Shiitake Log: Ideal for growing enoki mushrooms indoors. The log is constructed of hardwood with several Enoki mushroom spores. You simply need to water as directed and place it in an area away from direct sunlight.
- Propagator – This is a device that comes with a tray and lid with holes for venting. To use it, you simply fill the bottom with the proper medium and add a few Enoki mushroom spores. Maintain regular watering and indirect sunlight.
1. Get the growing kit from a supplier, making sure it has been cleaned with alcohol before use.
2. Open the lid and pour water into it until the bottom is covered with 1 inch of substrate.
3. Add spore-water culture jar into the kit with the substrate, making sure to cut a hole through its lid and cover it with gauze or cheesecloth to allow air, but not light, to enter.
4. Place the jar with mycelia for at least 2 weeks.
5. Harvest when they are fully grown, which takes about 2 months.
How to grow Enoki mushrooms with a log
1. Collect hardwood logs from a well-maintained tree, preferably apple or willow trees for Enoki mushroom production.
2. Trim away all outer bark and any blemishes on the outside of the log then drill holes near the end of both sides at each end onto the log according to your desired spacing (1 to 2 inches).
3. Insert a dowel into a hole and drill more holes on the other side of the log at the same interval then insert dowels into them from one end to the other, leaving an inch of space between each of them.
4. Plugin mycelia spore suspension onto each of the holes using a syringe.
5. Let the log stand for several months in a growing environment until it is ready to be harvested.
How to Grow Enoki Mushrooms With Spore Syringe or Spore Tape
If you do not wish to invest in a growing kit, you can purchase spores from a supplier and make your own spore syringes at home or tape them to the substrate, which will then grow into mycelia or mushroom roots.
- Use a sharp knife to scrape spores from the spore print sheet and cover the bottom of a jar with them by brushing them with your fingers.
- Add water until there is a thin layer covering the spores. Close the lid and wait for the spores to grow into mycelia or mushroom roots.
- Take a sterilized syringe and puncture a hole through the lid of the jar, making sure it's sterile using an alcohol pad.
- Use the needle to suck up spore water from the jar and transfer it into a new jar that has been cleaned with alcohol.
- Transfer the jar with spores to an area away from direct sunlight, making sure it is in a well-lit area. Water as directed by the manufacturer every 2-3 days, keeping the substrate moist but not soaked.
- Harvest when they are fully grown, which takes about 2 months.
If using spore tape, simply attach the spore strip on top of the jar and let it grow for 2 months.
How to grow Enoki Mushrooms with spores in sand at home
1. Get dried fern spores from a supplier and allow them to grow in a jar with mycelia for at least 2 weeks.
2. Place the sand in a large container, making sure it is sterilized using an alcohol pad before placing the spore-water culture jar inside of it.
3. Make small holes through the lid of the jar and cover them with cheesecloth or gauze to allow air, but not light, to enter.
4. Place the jar inside of the sand where it will be at least 65% shaded and regularly watered, about once a week depending on how warm or humid the environment is (check by touching the top foil).
5. Harvest when they are fully grown, which takes about 2 months.
How to preserve Enoki mushrooms after harvesting
- Refrigerate: Enoki mushrooms can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Ensure they are dry (do not wash) and store them inside of a zip-lock bag or wrap them in aluminium foil before storing.
- Freeze: Place the enoki mushrooms you wish to freeze inside of a container allowing enough space for expansion. Fill it up with water, covering the mushrooms by 2 to 3 inches, making sure no air bubbles are present. Seal the container and keep it in the freezer overnight. Once frozen, remove them from the container allowing excess water to drain out then place them inside of a zip-lock bag or wrap them in aluminium foil before storing them again in the freezer.
- Dry the Enoki Mushrooms.
Place them inside of a jar and seal it with an airtight lid, allowing it to dry for two weeks. Once dried, store the mushrooms in a container or ziplock bag and keep them inside of a cool and dark space. If rehydrating, cover the Enoki mushroom with warm water for 5 minutes then drain before cooking or eating.
How to Eat Enoki Mushrooms
They can be eaten raw or cooked.
Enoki is a popular ingredient in various Asian dishes. Traditional preparation methods usually involve stir-frying it with vegetables and/or meats.
It is commonly used as an ingredient for making stir-fries or added into miso soup. Enoki is also a common addition to salads and can also be stuffed with vegetables and minced meat.
Growing Enoki Mushrooms at home is easy and fun. Just follow the few simple steps and provide them with the necessary things that they need to grow, then wait for a couple of weeks until they are fully grown. While this takes time it's really worth the effort as you can enjoy eating enoki mushrooms for a very long time.
Have you grown Enoki mushrooms before? How did they turn out for you? What are some of the best ways to use it in your cooking?
If you have any questions or clarifications feel free to leave them below, too. We'll get back to you as soon as possible. 🙂