Harvesting your oyster mushroom

White coloured oyster mushroom ready to harvest

So you're at the point where your fungus is beginning to fruit - congratulations!

At this point, as long as you're keeping your fungus nicely hydrated, things should move very quickly. From hour to hour you will see your mushrooms growing bigger.

If you are planning to cut and eat (i.e. 'harvest') your mushrooms, then you need to make sure you do this before they get too large and dry.

Here is what to look out for:

Flattening at the top of the mushroom

Oyster mushroom with rounded caps

As you can see, some of the mushrooms are starting to flatten at the top and the edges.

This particular oyster mushroom is definitely ready for harvesting!

Darkening at the edges of the caps and gills

Oyster mushroom with caps with browning edges

You want to avoid the edges getting too dark.

This oyster mushroom has probably been harvested at just the right time, although it may taste a bit dry.

Drying out or hardening

Oyster mushroom that has dried out too much

This oyster mushroom has been left to grow a longer time than the others. Ideally it should have been harvested sooner, before it got this dry.

How to harvest your oyster mushroom

Either:

  • Pinch the base of your mushroom and twist firmly, or
  • Cut them with scissors.
Easy!

If you're lucky and your mycelium has gathered up lots of nutrients, you may be able to turn the straw over and have a few more mushrooms appear from the other side. However, we can't guarantee this will work.

Remember: once you have finished growing your oyster mushroom, you must dispose of the straw in the rubbish bin or by composting.

If you do compost your straw, please do not eat any mushrooms that may appear in the compost, as they may not be edible!