The Pretzel Cap is slow to grow which makes it susceptible to contamination and drying out,
IF you dont follow these instructions diligently, you will likely be doomed.
Your Grow Kit comes with a Recommended Bag Cut Date.
You can find it on the top flap of your box.
For Pretzel Caps, it can be up to 6 weeks from the day you open your box.
Before this date, all you have to do is sit the bag upright inside of the box with the white filter patch up so that it can breathe and watch the mycelium colonize the bag.
During this time keep an eye out for signs of contamination. Green, Pink, Black or other unusal discolorations could mean your bag is contaminated with a Mold or Bacteria.
If your grow kit is contaminated at this point we will be happy to replace it for you.
As your block ages, it will be normal to observe some yellow / orange liquids (aka metabolites). They are just the products of digestion.
Occasionally your grow kit will not be ready by the recommended bag cut date. You will be able to tell if this is the case because a significant portion of the substrate is not yet colonized If this is the case then send us a picture!
Occasionally your grow kit will be ready before your recommended bag cut day. You will be able to tell if this is the case because your bag will start forming little orangish brown pins (mushroom babies). If this so, just skip ahead.
Its your recommended bag cut day (or close to it) and its time to trigger the growth of baby mushrooms! (pins)
First lets put the grow kit somewhere between 60 – 72 deg F avoiding direct sunlight and away from direct air flow. A kitchen counter is usually suitable.
Lay the grow bag back in the box and with a clean knife cut the bag along the mark on the bag (Either an X or a slit).
Be sure to cut 1/2″-1″ deep into your substrate block, this will help make the right micro climate for the mushrooms to form.
Fill up the spray bottle with clean water and spray the area where you cut as well as the entire inside of the box. Its important to maintain near 100% relative humidity during this time to encourage the formation of baby mushrooms.
If you have a home humidifier, place it near by.
If you are in a dry climate, use the provided biodegradable bag to create a humidity tent,
You can flip the box flaps up and place the bag over it to increase humidity. HOWEVER, be sure to poke ALOT of holes in it for proper ventilation.
Keep misting 3-5+ times a day for 5-14 days until you see baby mushroom blobs begin to form.
Once the baby mushrooms are about 1/2 inch tall, do not spray them directly anymore. Instead, spray around them. But still 3-5+ times a day.
The goal is to maintain 75 -90 % relative humidity until it is time to harvest.
Once the mushrooms are 1 inch tall, you can remove the humidity tent and lower the box flaps a little to promote more fresh air exchange.
If you notice that the mushrooms start growing very long stems, try to increase fresh air while still maintaining high humidity.
Watch your mushroom grow! They may double in size every day!
Finally its time to harvest!
It is best to harvest right when the cap separates from the stem and the gills are first visible.
If you let them grow much longer, the mushrooms begin to release their spores and the caps will become brittle and slimy.
Mushrooms rapidly deteriorate after they release their spores, and spores can also be a mild to severe respiratory irritant so, please be mindful and try to harvest on time.
Pretzel Caps, are typically ready to harvest 14-21 days after slicing the bag open.
You can harvest your mushrooms by grabbing the mushroom cluster close to its base and twisting while lifting!
A typical yield for your first harvest will be 1 – 2.5 lbs.
You might find a bit of substrate attached to the base of your mushrooms, you can just chop that off.
DO NOT EAT THEM RAW! They do not taste as good, are not as nutritious and can make you sick! So be sure to cook them thoroughly!
We like to simply sauté them on high heat with a bit of oil until browned on both sides. Add salt at the end.
You can also try to coat them in oil and salt and bake them in the oven or air fryer until they turn to chips! They are super delicious this way!
Pretzel Caps are best stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator where they will remain fresh for 4-7 days.
If you did a good job at keeping clean and your grow kit is not entirely covered by mold you can likely get more than one harvest from your block!
However, each subsequent harvest will yield less mushrooms and is more likely to become contaminated.
To do this, start by plucking off all remaining pieces of old mushroom and taping over the cut plastic. Be sure to seal it well otherwise little mushrooms will sneak out.
Flip the block over to a new uncut spot, and repeat the fruiting process from step 2.
It might take a few days longer than previously so be patient! Typical yields for 2nd harvests are 1/4 lb – 1/2 lb and 3rd harvests are even smaller.
You can keep doing this until the substrate bag contaminates with mold or bacteria or produces no more mushrooms.
Even still, the usefulness of your mushroom substrate block isnt over yet!
Remove the bag, break up the block and add it to your garden.
“Spent Mushroom Substrate” is known as an EXCELLENT compost and soil amendment. It can really help your garden grow!
You can also bury the block whole and your garden might even sprout some extra mushrooms!