Aren’t mushrooms our favorite? Well, some of us are so fond of this veggie that we start cultivating them. Are you one of those who want to know about the steps and tricks of cultivating mushrooms? If you are then you are at the right place. In this article, we are going to discuss how to use a pressure cooker mushroom cultivation.
In addition, we have provided some exclusive tips and tricks for smoothing out the whole cultivation method. So why wait? Let’s get the cultivation started.
Features That Should be Present in a Pressure Cooker for Mushroom Cultivation
Firstly you have to see which pressure cooker to use for cultivation. For cultivating mushroom substrates, certain features must be present in a pressure cooker. Henceforth, while purchasing a pressure cooker to prepare mushrooms, you must see if the equipment has the following features present within it:
PSI Gauge: An authentic PSI Gauge is extremely necessary to be present in a pressure cooker that is to be used for mushroom cultivation. You will have to monitor the amount or size of pressure building up within the cooker. Therefore, a cooker with a gauge that displays the pressure level accurately is what you need.
Maintain 15 PSI: You must get yourself a pressure cooker that can reach an extensive level of 15 PSI.
Seal: The seal is an important component of the pressure cooker. You must check if it is in the proper condition or not. There must be no or little sign of warping present on the seal of the cooker. This is because if the durability of the rubber seal is hampered, the cooker may leak. Such a leak must be avoided if you do not want any accident to take place.
Pot size: You must purchase a cooker that has a spacious pot. The pot should have maximum space available for storing various numbers of pots and jars of mushrooms. One that can accommodate more than 20 to 25 quarts is quite suitable for mushroom cultivation.
Reliability: A durable cooker is very much needed as you will have to use it repeatedly for mushroom cultivation. One that is built with durable and strong material is what makes cookers quite reliable.
If you don’t have such a pressure cooker then you can check some of the market-leading pressure cookers.
How to Use a Pressure Cooker for Mushroom Cultivation?
The cultivation of mushrooms is not a kid’s play. A lot has to be done to carry out the whole process. When the cultivation is done, the remarkable results of freshly brewed mushrooms will make the whole process fruitful. No more fuss talk, let’s get started.
1) Check All the Parts of Your Cooker
Before you begin with the process, have a look at the pressure cooker. Please do a thorough check and see whether the equipment has all of its parts and features functioning properly. The basic parts that you must check are as follows:
- Air Vent/Locking Mechanism: Slide it to check if the part can move smoothly or not.
- Overpressure Plug: See if the plug firmly sticks to the lid, and there is no room for damage.
- Sealing Ring: Check if the sealing ring is torn or shuffled.
- Vent Pipe: See if the vent pipe has been cleaned or not. Dispose of any material that clogs the vent pipe.
- Pressure Gauge: Check whether the gauge is in fine condition and can show reading properly or not.
2) Pour Some Water
Place the pot in the pressure cooker by tiling them slightly. Pour 3 quarts of water up to the first notch of the pot of the cooker. If you are going to use tap water, we suggest you heat it.
However, if you want to avoid the peril of doing so, you can directly use distilled water. Distilled water is a better option as it increases the durability of the equipment. Now, many of us are reluctant to have watermarks on our clean and clear utensils. If you want to avoid watermarks sticking to your cooker, add three tablespoons of vinegar with the water.
You might notice that the addition of water is causing the mushroom jars to float and shake. You can easily avoid them by placing lid rings underneath the cooker. Moreover, you can keep a cooking rack on top of the jars. Placing the rack on top is very helpful as it will keep the jars stable and spread the steam over a larger surface area.
3) Prepare the Cooker
You have to arrange the cooker in a manner that the steam does not enter the filter patch. You can easily do so by placing foil paper over the lids with filter ports. Moreover, you have to ensure no extra moisture enters the cultivation media. You can do so by folding the bags.
4) Adjust the Lid and Increase Heat Exposure
Tighten and adjust the lid so that its arrow mark matches correspondingly to the arrow mark on the handle. The lid has to fit the pot firmly and should be in correct alignment.
Now, it is time to heat the cooker. To do so, you will have to place it on top of a stove. Then Turn the heater on and let the fire ignite at its finest pace. With time passing by, you will notice water droplets and gaseous steam emitting from the vent pipe. After 10 minutes, when the steam starts evaporating, you have to place it on the weight.
5) Increase the Pressure level of the cooker
Now the mushroom will be subjected to a lot of pressure. Once the cooker reaches the desired PSI, you can reduce the heat exposure. We feel that a PSI level of 15-18 PSI is quite enough. If the cooker is not reaching the desired PSI, you can try adjusting the heat exposure.
6) Conclude the Cooking
Once you reach the desired PSI level and the timing for the Cooking expires, you can turn off the heat exposure. However, this does not mean you will open the pressure cooker right at that moment. You cannot do it as it might prove to be hazardous. Rather, you will have to calmly wait until the pressure gauge shows a reading of ‘0’ unit. Different substrates require different conclusive measures.
Once the PSI reaches the 0 levels, you can remove the agar substrates with care and ease. You must wear gloves as the cooker will be hot, and you might receive some unwanted burns. Now you can displace the substrate to a cooler position.
You may use an infrared temperature gun to check the temperature of your agar mixture. Let the agar substrate cool down to 45-50C. Do not let the agar be cooled down for too long, or it will be solidified.
Grain Substrate/ ETC
Before removing items other than agar, you will have to let the pressure cooker cool overnight. You can try adding some mycelium or spores to such hot grain substrate to kill the fungi.
7) Clean and Store the Cooker
You have to carefully clean every component of the pressure cooker once you are done. Do not forget to dry them up thoroughly. Once the dry-up is done, you can store the cooker dry at moderate room temperature.
Tips and Tricks for Cultivating Mushrooms
Cultivation of mushrooms requires hard work and awareness. Here are some effective tips and tricks that can help you to smoothen your cultivation.
Keep an adequate amount of water and moisture
If the cooker falls short of water and moisture, it can prove to be hazardous for you. Henceforth, you must make sure that there is enough amount of water available in the cooker.
The temperature that builds up within the pressure cooker will depend on the heat and temperature of the steam up due to heating. Therefore, a minimal amount of water present is important.
Moreover, you cannot keep too little water within the cooker because it can boil away if a reduced amount of water is present. If the water boils away entirely, you may find yourself in a dangerous situation. Although mushroom substrates can resist high temperature and heat, they can get spoiled or meltdown if a low amount of water is present.
Furthermore, you must be aware of the fact that temperature control is essential. This is because overexposure to heat and high temperature affects the quality and durability of the pressure cooker.
Control the steam
You must stay conscious throughout the process of cultivation. Most importantly, you have to make sure that steam keeps releasing from the pressure cooker during the first stage or the initial runs of the machine.
Also, you will have to consider that the bags of mushroom substrates do not burn or melt away. You can ensure this by letting the cooker cool down and reducing the heat exposure at the initial stages if you find no steam releasing from the pressure cooker.
Do not put an excessive amount of water on the jars of the substrate. Too much water can cause the jars and bags of mushroom substrates to leak. When they leak, the moisture content of the substrates will decrease.
Don’t let waste be accumulated in the vent
Once a certain level of pressure is reached, pressure cookers have been designed in a mechanism that helps you release steam through its vent. However, over-accumulation of debris in the vent can block it and cause a high amount of pressure to build in the cooker.
If other safeties and other steam releasing mediums are also blocked, it may prove hazardous. This is because the heavy build-up of pressure may cause the cooker to burst out, leaving the kitchen filled with steam and smoke. You must ensure that the pressure cooker vent does not get clogged or blocked by any form of junk or debris.
To reach maximized pressure, many people provide excess weight on the vent of the cooker. Do not do the mistake of adding any additional weight to the vent. This is because certain cookers are designed in a way that they can withstand a certain level of pressure.
Follow the given precautions
You must take note and follow the steps and precautions mentioned in the safety data booklet that comes with the pressure cooker. If you do not follow the safety precautions mentioned in the book provided, you will find yourself in hazardous situations.
Keep the bags at a safe distance from the base of the canner
The bags that you plan to use for sustaining the mushroom substrates should be in top-notch condition. You must make sure that they are not melted. You can do so by keeping a slight distance from the base of the canner from the bags. Although these bags are design to resist high temperatures, they can get melted if kept in direct contact with the lower sides of the cooker.
Avoid oversaturated bags
Oversaturated bags are a bad option too. To avoid using these bags, you can try folding the bags you plan to store the substrates.
Coil top or natural gas stoves
Coil top or natural gas stoves are the best equipment to provide heat exposure to the sturdy pressure cookers. You should avoid using glass top stoves. This is because the heavyweight of pressure cookers can gravely damage these types of cookers.
Keep the cooker away from propane burners
Do not use or place your pressure cooker near any large surfaced outdoor propane burner. A propane burner might overheat the cooker. Such a wide exposure to heat may damage the bottom part of the cooker. Henceforth, it is quite harmful for mushroom cultivation.
So here we are done discussing the cultivation process of mushrooms using pressure cookers. Do not get stressed and just follow the steps and tips mentioned above calmly. With that being said, we are taking our leave for now.
Do not forget to share it with your co-mushroom lover friends and comment below if you have any queries. Keep a keen eye on our site to get more interesting information on mushrooms.