STUFF

Mushrooms-recyclers

Text: Anna Plaszczyk, photos: press release

21 October 2016

Oyster mushroom, working on behalf of the environment? Ecological and grown at home? Ek-Miro offers to all lovers of mushroom sets for home growing of these delicious and healthy mushrooms.

The coffee grounds contain a lot of valuable substances. Mirosław Cierpich decided that they should be used, instead of throwing them away to the trash. While looking for information concerning the ways they can be "recycled", he discovered that they can be used as an oyster mushroom mycelium. – I really like oyster mushrooms, so the idea appealed to me – says Mirosław Cierpich, the owner of Ek-Miro – what is more, the idea of collecting something that we all throw away, seemed to me very interesting.

No wonder. Around the world, people drink about 1.6 billion cups of coffee a day. However, before it enters the consumer – it is harvested, roasted, packaged and transported. Mirosław Cierpich stated that it would be a pity not to regain such a large amount of energy put into the production of coffee, and thus – grounds. After examining the Polish market, he joyfully discovered that no one in Poland offers mushrooms that can be grown at home, on a bed of coffee grounds. The next day he visited several restaurants in Tarnów to acquire or rather regain grounds. With a smile he recalls that staff in the cafeteria was very surprised by his request. No one had ever asked them about providing such waste.

After several months of testing experiments with oyster mushroom mycelium yielded the expected results. Enthusiasm slightly dropped when it came to transform the idea into a business. Formalities lasted about two months and were quite expensive. Today, the company has been running at full speed, although it is not easy. Mirosław Cierpich says that oyster mushrooms are not popular mushroom in Poland yet. The Poles are much more likely to choose a well-known and readily available meadow mushrooms.

Meanwhile, the oyster mushroom is not only tasty and valuable mushroom. Produced in this way they are even more environmentally friendly. The traditional way of cultivation requires, unfortunately, energy-consuming sterilization of the bed. In the case of coffee grounds – there is no such a need.

This home oyster mushroom cultivation is not difficult. Just cut the Ek-Miro set, dip it in water, after 10 hours remove it and leave it in a cool place. After a few days you will gather the first harvest. One pack of "coffee" oyster mushrooms will yield up to three times. Simple? Simple!

Oysters mushrooms can be served in a "classical" way, breaded and fried in a pan. Then they can be an interesting alternative to pork chops. The soup with oyster mushrooms will be equally simple and tasty or oyster mushrooms tripe is confusingly similar to their traditional meat version. You can also prepare sauces, marinate them, fry them in a dry frying pan, grill or even prepare... mushroom head cheese!

Oyster mushrooms contain a large amount of easily absorbed protein and very little sugar. They are rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, zinc and selenium. They contain vitamins from group B (40% of the daily requirements in 100 g) and folic acid. In 100 grams of oyster mushrooms there is up to 15% of the daily requirement of vitamin C for human body. Regular consumption of these mushrooms lowers blood cholesterol levels and oyster mushrooms nutritional value is comparable with that of vegetables. Oyster mushrooms are cultivated on a large scale mainly in China. Annually over one million tonnes of them is being produced all over the world.

Japanese scientists have shown that oyster mushrooms containing the active – pleuran, may cause a decrease of the tumor. Slovak scientists are conducting the study of these properties. In the 90s they managed to extract beta-1, 3-D glucan from these mushrooms. This substance proved to be effective not only in strengthening the body (these properties were already used by ancient Chinese), but it can also be used in the fight against cancer. To strengthen your body – you should consume 100g of mushrooms a day.

So far Mirek Cierpich is producing home-grown mycelium by himself. Several times a week he collects coffee grounds from nearby restaurants and prepares oyster mushrooms bed from them. At present one home set of oyster mushroom Ek-Miro bed costs 12 zł.