Thursday, September 12, 2019

How to grow mushrooms on household waste- A display at National Mushroom Fair, 2019



22 years ago, on 10th September, Solan got its name as "The Mushroom City of India". On this historic day, the Directorate of Mushroom Research, Solan organized a National Mushroom Fair. More than 1 thousand mushroom farmers, growers, scientists and researchers from 24 states of the country participated in this fair. The objective of this fair was to showcase the improved technologies in mushroom production, disease protection and post harvest technology of cultivable mushroom varieties. Along with the fair, a "Kisan Gosthi" (farmer-scientist interaction) was organized with an objective to provide opportunity to all the farmers and stakeholders to interact with the scientists.

Moreover, an electronic portal was launched that will provide mushroom related information around the world.



Himpicked has been working on "Grow Your Own Mushrooms (GYOM)" project for a few months. Our mission is to help people grow mushrooms organically on the common household waste like vegetable peels, sawdust, leaves, corn cob, fruit seeds, egg shells etc. Thus, the people do not have to buy anything fancy for growing mushrooms at home. We are grateful to the team of Himachal Punjab Kesari, Solan-Sirmaur Kesari & Amar Ujala for covering and sharing the whole process.



We are also trying to create a circular economy for mushroom cultivation. So, there is no waste generated in the whole cycle, from beginning to end.

In general, mushrooms are grown in single use plastic bags. These bags are discarded after harvesting all the mushrooms. Instead of discarding these single use plastic bags, they can be packed tightly into a plastic bottle, that can be used a a brick in construction purposes. This brick is known as ecobrick.
The left over substrate after growing mushrooms can used in garden compost pile or as a cattle feed.



Hundreds of farmers, students and local people showed their interest to engage in this cultivation method, which is 100% organic. This has turned out to be a potential breakthrough in the months to follow.




Sunday, September 1, 2019

MUSHROOM TINCTURE- RECIPE


Medicinal mushrooms (like Ganoderma, Hericium, Oyster and Turkey tails) have a long history of use for promoting health and longevity in Asian countries esp. China & Japan. Ganoderma, for example is commonly known as the 'Mushroom of Immortality' in Chinese as it promotes longevity, immunity & overall health. Similarly, Oyster mushrooms contain a compound called "lovastatin", that helps reduce bad cholesterol naturally.

WHY MAKE MUSHROOM TINCTURE

Medicinal mushrooms contain both water-soluble compounds (called polysaccharides) and alcohol-soluble components (called triterpenes). Also, most medicinal mushrooms are woody in texture. Our body cannot break it easily on its own. So, we use two step extraction process. This process combines alcohol and water extracts to maximize the medicinal benefits.

HOW TO MAKE MUSHROOM TINCTURE

STEP 1:

The process for making tincture is same, irrespective of the mushroom variety. The first step is to wash the mushrooms thoroughly with water (to remove any dirt). Then, place the mushrooms upside down in Sunlight for 6-8 hours. Sun-drying has 2 benefits:

1. It increases vitamin D content: Mushrooms have a compound in their cell wall known as ergosterol. This compound, when exposed to sunlight, transforms into vitamin D. So, if we are drying mushrooms in sunlight before consuming, we can be getting a lot of vitamin D this way.

2. It decreases moisture in mushroom: The lesser the moisture, the stronger will be the final tincture.

STEP 2:
In this step, we will extract the medicinal compound in the mushrooms.

Blend the dried mushrooms in a blender or cut them into smaller pieces using knife/ scissors. Now, take a clear glass jar. The jar should be thoroughly clean & dried. Fill 2-3rd of jar with dried mushroom pieces. Now, fill the jar with any "80 proof alcoholic drink". Vodka is the best option. Now, store the jar in a cool & dry place for 4 weeks.  The alcohol will eventually turn brownish & the mushrooms will expand a bit. This is the indication that the medicinal compound has been extracted.
To maximize the extraction, you can shake the jar once in 2 days.
Following are some examples of medicinal compounds extracted from mushrooms:

1. Ganoderma mushroom: releases ganoderic acid. It has been found to have direct cancer cell cytotoxicity. It has also been proven to reduce blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugar. Currently it is being used in diabetes treatment.

2. Oyster mushroom: releases lovastatin. It has been proven to reduce bad cholesterol.

3. Turkey tail mushroom: releases Krestin. It has both immune boosting and cancer preventing properties.


IF YOU GUYS HAVE ANY QUERY IN THIS STEP, PLEASE LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENT SECTION BELOW. I WILL UPDATE THE NEXT STEPS IN THE SAME ARTICLE.