Growing mushrooms in coffee grounds: when recycling is simple and delicious

Nothing of the best things that nature gives us is ever throw away. And with a little effort and creativity, everything can find a second creative and eco-friendly use. Coffee is no exception and after use, it can become the ideal soil to grow edible mushrooms at home. This is how you can do it!

The use of coffee grounds in cosmetics has become quite popular: coffee grounds help you to stay in shape, are ruthless enemies of cellulite and allies of dark hair and can be reused in a thousand ways thanks to their numerous beneficial properties.  In the last few years, they have also proved to be valuable for gourmet recycling. Indeed, they have become an excellent growth medium for edible mushrooms. We can really say “from the coffee cup to risotto”.

An idea from the Far East

The idea, in reality, is of a Chinese mycologist who perfected it over twenty years ago. More recently, however, there have been start-ups that have focused on this ecological and economic method of cultivation, and companies that have decided to market ready-to-use kits.

Why coffee grounds?

But what are the features that make coffee grounds so suitable to grow mushrooms? First of all, they are sterile, due to the high temperatures to which they are subjected. If they are well preserved, it prevents the proliferation of moulds and bacteria. In addition, coffee grounds are very rich in nutrients that are useful for the growth of mushrooms: phosphorus, nitrogen and cellulose combined with an acidic pH are ideal for the growth of different varieties of mushrooms, especially the Pleurotus, which are very easy to cultivate.

All you need to grow mushrooms at home

To organise the cultivation of mushrooms you just need a few items: a dark, resistant plastic bag, a wooden box such as those for fruit, mycelium—the seeds of the mushrooms that we want to cultivate— and, of course, a large number of coffee grounds at room temperature.

How to get a good harvest

Start by placing the dark bag in a wooden box and fill it with well-ventilated coffee grounds, alternated with mycelium. After doing this, the bag must be closed and kept in a cool, dark place for the incubation period. After a few days, the mixture will become whitish and it will begin to have a pleasant fragrance of mushrooms. This is the right time to make some cuts in the bag and store it outdoors in a spot not hit by direct light, at a temperature between 15 and 20 degrees. In about 3 weeks, we will be able to savour the first crop that will be fresh and fragrant. In addition, when the production cycle is over, you will be able to recycle coffee grounds to fertilise the soil of acidophilic plants such as azaleas, hydrangeas and rhododendrons, or to use it as compost for your vegetable garden.

Therefore, coffee continues to amaze us with its virtues and the many recycling options it offers. Have you ever tried to grow mushrooms at home? Have you ever used coffee grounds for this purpose? Share your experience with us!

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