If you attempt to grow the phoenix oyster mushroom at home, you will be able to watch it rise from your colonized substrate
The phoenix oyster mushroom (Pleurotus pulmonarius) comes with many names. It is also known as the Italian oyster, summer oyster, Indian oyster, or lung oyster. You can find this mushroom growing in the wild during the late summer here in the northeast. This mushroom is similar to other Pleurotus mushrooms, like Pleurotus ostreatus or Pleurotus populinus. If it is past summer and you haven’t been able to forage for phoenix oyster mushrooms, you can grow them at your own home, garden, or commercial farm. Below we go over some methods for phoenix oyster mushroom cultivation.
Growing the phoenix oyster mushroom at home
The first option for growing phoenix oyster mushrooms at home is with a fully-colonized, ready-to-fruit mushroom growing kit. The phoenix oyster kits we offer are certified organic and weigh a whopping 10 pounds! You will get multiple flushes of tasty mushrooms from this kit. If you are able to keep the kit within the ideal temperature and humidity parameters, then you should be able to fruit upwards of four pounds of fresh phoenix oyster mushrooms! Once the kit arrives it will take around 14 days to get your first harvest of mushrooms. We have a variety of spawn products that will help you grow phoenix oyster mushrooms at home or on your commercial mushroom farm if you want to do your own inoculations.
Phoenix oyster does very well on sugar maple. You can also use bigtooth aspen or trembling aspen. Poplar, elm, willow, and cottonwood all work as well. If you plan on using logs, we have plug spawn and sawdust spawn available for the phoenix oyster mushroom. If using logs, you will need to drill into the logs. Once holes are drilled into the logs you will insert the plug spawn. You can use a palm inoculator or a hammer to do so. With sawdust spawn, you will drill holes and fill them with the spawn.
Once the holes are plugged or filled, you will need to use cheese wax, beeswax, or food-grade paraffin wax to seal the holes. This helps keep moisture in while also stopping other types of bacteria or fungi from entering. Grain spawn of the phoenix oyster is available for anyone interested in doing indoor inoculations on straw, coffee grounds, or supplemented sawdust. The phoenix oyster mushroom can tolerate hotter temperatures than some oyster mushrooms. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons it's known as the summer oyster. The summer temperatures are warmly welcomed by some creatures. Ideal fruiting temperatures for these mushrooms is around 75 degrees F. The relative humidity should be around 85%.
Using the phoenix oyster mushroom in recipes
One of my favorite ways of preparing phoenix oyster mushroom is a sauté with garlic and green onions. It doesn’t take too long to prepare or cook this dish. To begin, collect your ingredients. You will need one pound of phoenix oysters, four green onions, and four cloves of garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Chop the green onions and mince the garlic. Heat the olive oil on medium heat. Get the oil hot but not to a point where it is smoking. Once the oil is hot enough, add the garlic and phoenix oysters to the oil. Cook for two or three minutes, stir constantly. After a few minutes you can reduce the heat to low. Add a little salt and pepper and continue to sauté the mushrooms. You will want to cook the mushrooms for around 10 minutes in total. Add half of your green onions at around the 8 minute mark of cooking, and then you can add the other half of your green onions at the end to add a different texture and flavor to the dish. This dish pairs well with any fish or meat entrée.
More info on the phoenix oyster mushroom
Here is a rundown from the mycology fandom page on the phoenix oyster mushroom:
Cap: 2-12 cm; convex, becoming flat or somewhat depressed; lung-shaped (hence its Latin name) to semicircular, or nearly circular if growing on the tops of logs; somewhat greasy when young and fresh; fairly smooth; whitish to beige or pale tan, usually without dark brown colorations; the margin inrolled when young, later wavy and, unlike Pleurotus ostreatus, very finely lined.
Spore print: White, to yellowish, to lavender gray.
Gills: On hymenium and are decurrent. They will descend the stipe.
Stipe: Not distinct with sufficient air exchange, long and narrow with buildup of CO2.
Mycelium: white, linear, becoming cottony, and eventually forming a thick, peelable, mycelial mat. If cultures on agar media or on grain are not transferred in a timely fashion (i.e. within two weeks), the mycelium becomes so dense as to make inoculations cumbersome and messy.)
What are your experiences with phoenix oysters? Have you grown them? Have you eaten them? Share your story in the comments below.