How to Harvest Mushroom Spores

Overview

Growing medicinal or culinary mushrooms can be a rewarding and challenging experience. The easiest way to harvest the spores is to make a spore print, which is created from thousands of microscopic fungal spores. They can last for a number of years if stored properly, and can even be used to grow the next batch of mushrooms to harvest. Start this process only when the mushrooms are ready. They can be harvested once the top edges of the cap have separated itself from the stalk, called "veiling".

Step 1

Put on disposable gloves. Place a laminated card in the center of your work area. Your work area needs to be in a cool, dry place out of sunlight that is clean and clear of debris. You need a smooth, non-porous surface to work on.

Step 2

Soak a cotton ball in the alcohol, and wipe it thoroughly over the card. Let it dry for about five minutes.

Step 3

Remove the mushroom cap carefully from the stalk, by gently twisting it off or using a knife.

Step 4

Put the cap right-side up on the card that you sterilized. Cover the card and cap immediately with an upside-down clean cup. You want to make sure that the work surface is airtight.

Step 5

Keep the mushroom cap, card and cup where it is for about ten to twelve hours. This is letting the thousands of spores to fall from the underside of the cap, in amounts large enough to create small piles.

Step 6

Take the upside-down cup off the cap, then remove the cap and set aside. Slide the card into the plastic bag, carefully making sure you don't touch the sides of the plastic with the card. Seal the plastic bag.

Things You'll Need

  • Laminated index card
  • Disposable gloves
  • 91 percent isopropyl alcohol
  • Cotton balls
  • Sharp knife, such as x-acto
  • Viable mushroom
  • Clean cup or glass
  • Plastic bag, sealable, larger than an index card

References

  • Making Sporeprints
  • Harvesting Mushroom Spores
Keywords: harvesting mushrooms, mushroom spore prints, harvesting mushroom spores

About this Author

Lauren Wise is a journalism major from Arizona State University with over forty published magazine and media articles and over 400 Web site articles. Wise owns Midnight Publishing with over eight years experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food and wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in magazines including Runway, A2Z, Scottsdale Luxury Living and True West.