Wood Blewits are mushrooms that are commonly hunted and eaten in Western Europe, and are even cultivated there. They occur all over North America as well, and can be found during colder months growing on leaves, pine needles or garden mulch. They’re pretty distinctive–you don’t see a lot of violet mushrooms! They typically occur in small clusters or in fairy rings, have a very distinct, fruity aroma and leave a pale pink spore print.
So I was in a park on Friday and I found a dozen or so. As I was pulling them up, I had an idea…
Immature mushrooms are deeply colored.
The color fades are the mushrooms mature. The variety that occurs in my area is almost brown at full maturity.
The mushrooms themselves went into an omelet the next day, but not before I took a lot of spore prints. As I was collecting the mushrooms I cut the stem butts off to keep the mushrooms from getting dirty, but I saved them! This is the first part of my plan to form my own little blewit patch that will make delicious mushrooms and turn old leaves into rich, dark soil. I plan on trying three methods: Stem butt propagation, spore slurry and.. mushroom puree.
Today I will document stem butts, since I haven’t started working on anything else. The basic method is as follows. I didn’t take pictures of these steps, so feel free to fuss at me.
1. Moisten cardboard sheets until the top layer can be peeled back.
2. Place stem butts on cardboard.
3. Replace top layer.
4. Dunk and soak cardboard overnight.
5. Incubate cardboard 3-4 months (If outdoors).
6. Profit. Er… transfer sheets to the final bedding location.
You need to start out with mushrooms that still have fluffy mycelium hanging off of them. Just snip the stem off a little ways up from the base. I had about a dozen butts, which I put in a battered plastic box with a snap top lid. Here are my results after three days of incubation:
You can see this better in the closeup, but the fluffy white stuff is the actual fungus, the living organism that produces the mushrooms. This mycelium will draw nutrients from the stem piece and use this to colonize the cardboard. Once the cardboard is completely white, I can use this to inoculate more cardboard, old newspapers, burlap sacks filled with wood chips, leaves, my compost pile, anything with a lot of lignin in it.
Oh hey, I found this Youtube video on the subject: