Growing Enoki Mushrooms (A Detailed Guide)

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Growing enoki mushrooms is an enjoyable and rewarding experience that can be done in the comfort of your own home. Enoki mushrooms, also known as enokitake, are slender, edible mushrooms that are native to Asia, particularly Japan. They have a unique appearance, with long, thin stems and small, white caps. Enoki mushrooms are often used in soups, salads, and stir-fries and have a slightly crunchy texture and mild, delicate flavor.

Key takeaways:

  • Enoki Mushroom Introduction:
    • Enoki mushrooms, native to Asia, have long, thin stems and small, white caps.
    • Used in soups, salads, and stir-fries, they offer a crunchy texture and mild flavor.
  • Supplies for Growing:
    • Essential supplies for growing include enoki spawn, a growing medium, and a container.
    • Enoki spawn and growing medium can be sourced online or from specialty suppliers.
  • Nutritional Value:
    • Enoki mushrooms are low in calories and rich in nutrients, including protein, niacin, and copper.
    • They also provide dietary fiber, promoting healthy digestion, and are low in fat and cholesterol.
  • Choosing the Right Supplies:
    • Select a suitable grow kit, healthy spawn, growing medium, and container for successful cultivation.
    • Sterilize supplies to prevent contamination using pressure cookers or boiling water.
  • Cultivation Preparation:
    • Prepare and sterilize the substrate (growing medium) made from hardwood sawdust.
    • Inoculate the substrate with enoki mushroom spawn to allow mycelium growth.
    • Set up a warm and humid environment for the mycelium to colonize the substrate.
  • Growing Process:
    • Maintain optimal conditions (72-77°F, 85-95% humidity) for fruiting enoki mushrooms.
    • Initiate fruiting by exposing the substrate to cooler temperatures and high humidity.
    • Monitor for mold, maintain humidity, and adjust conditions as needed.
  • Harvesting and Usage:
    • Harvest mature enoki mushrooms by cutting at the base of the stem.
    • Use enoki mushrooms in soups, stir-fries, and as pasta toppings for their delicate flavor.
    • Store in the refrigerator (up to a week), freeze (up to six months), or dry for longer preservation.

Understanding Enoki Mushrooms

Origins and Characteristics

Enoki mushrooms, also known as velvet stem, winter mushroom, velvet foot, or enokitake, are a type of mushroom that originated in Japan and other parts of East Asia. These mushrooms have a unique appearance, with long, thin stems and small, button-like caps. They are often the only mushrooms available during the winter months.

Enoki mushrooms are delicate and have a mild, slightly sweet flavor. They are commonly used in soups, stir-fries, and salads. These mushrooms are also used in traditional Japanese dishes, such as sukiyaki and hot pot.

Nutritional Value

Enoki mushrooms are low in calories and high in nutrients. They are a good source of protein, niacin, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin. These mushrooms are also a good source of copper, which is important for maintaining a healthy immune system.

NutrientAmount per 100g
Pantothenic acid1.5mg

Enoki mushrooms are also a good source of dietary fiber, which can help promote healthy digestion. These mushrooms are low in fat and cholesterol, making them a healthy addition to any diet.

Fun Fact:

Enoki mushrooms are often grown in the dark, which causes them to grow long and thin stems with small caps.

Choosing the Right Supplies

When it comes to growing enoki mushrooms, choosing the right supplies is crucial. In this section, we will cover the essential supplies you need to start your indoor enoki mushroom farm.

Choosing a Grow Kit

If you’re a beginner, using a pre-made kit can be a great way to start. It saves you time and effort in sourcing the necessary supplies. There are various all-in-one growth kits available in the market that include everything you need to start growing enoki mushrooms.

Choosing a Spawn

Enoki mushrooms reproduce through spores, not seeds. These spores are known collectively as spawn. Choosing a healthy enoki spawn is essential for a successful harvest. You can either collect your own spore print or buy pre-made spawn from a reliable supplier.

Choosing a Growing Medium

The growing medium is the material from which the mushrooms will grow, providing the ideal nutrition for enoki mushrooms. Hardwood sawdust mixed with wheat bran or soybean meal is an ideal substrate for enoki mushrooms. You can also add supplements like lime or gypsum to enhance the growth.

Choosing a Growing Container

Choosing the right container is crucial for the growth of enoki mushrooms. A large glass jar with a lid or a plastic container with holes for ventilation can be used. Tall, wide-mouth mason jars are better for giving the enoki mushroom stems plenty of room to grow. They are also safer and easier to sterilize.

Pro Tip:

Always sterilize your supplies before use to prevent contamination. Use a pressure cooker or boiling water to sterilize your supplies.

Preparing for Cultivation

Before you start cultivating enoki mushrooms, you need to prepare the substrate, inoculate it with spawn, and set up the growing environment. Here are the steps you need to follow:

Sterilizing the Substrate

Enoki mushrooms grow best on a substrate made from hardwood sawdust or hardwood chips supplemented with wheat bran or rice bran. To sterilize the substrate, you can use a pressure cooker or a large pot with a lid. First, mix the substrate with water until it is moist but not soaking wet. Then, transfer the mixture to a bag or a jar and seal it. Place the bag or jar in the pressure cooker or pot and add water until it covers the substrate. Heat the pressure cooker or pot until it reaches 250-300°F (121-149°C) for at least 2 hours to kill any bacteria or fungi that may be present.

Inoculating the Substrate

After sterilizing the substrate, you need to inoculate it with spawn. Spawn is a substrate that has been colonized by the mycelium of the enoki mushroom. You can purchase spawn from a mushroom supplier or make your own by collecting spores from mature enoki mushrooms. To inoculate the substrate, you can mix the spawn with the substrate or place the spawn on top of the substrate and cover it with a layer of vermiculite. Then, seal the bag or jar and let it incubate in a warm and humid environment for several weeks until the mycelium has colonized the substrate.

Setting up the Growing Environment

Once the mycelium has colonized the substrate, you can start growing the mushrooms. Enoki mushrooms grow best in a warm and humid environment with a temperature of 72-77°F (22-25°C) and a high humidity level of 85-95%. You can achieve this environment by placing the bag or jar in a cooler environment with a humidifier or by covering the bag or jar with a plastic bag and misting it regularly. You can also monitor the temperature and humidity level with a thermometer and adjust it accordingly. Keep the mushrooms in a dark location if you want white fungi or in a well-lit location if you want brown caps.

The Growing Process

Growing enoki mushrooms can be a fun and rewarding experience. With the right conditions and care, you can grow your own delicate and delicious enoki mushrooms right at home. In this section, we will cover the basic steps involved in growing enoki mushrooms, from initiating fruiting to harvesting your crop.

Initiating Fruiting

To start the growth process, you will need to purchase or make a growth medium for your enoki mushrooms. Enoki mushrooms typically grow on hardwood sawdust, but you can also use straw or other materials. Once you have your growth medium, you will need to sterilize it to prevent mold and other contaminants from interfering with the growth process.

After sterilizing your growth medium, you will need to inoculate it with enoki mushroom mycelium. You can purchase pre-made spawn or make your own by collecting wild enoki mushrooms and harvesting their spores. Once the mycelium has taken hold, you will need to initiate fruiting by exposing the growth medium to cooler temperatures and high humidity.

Maintaining Optimal Conditions

To ensure optimal growth, you will need to maintain the right conditions for your enoki mushrooms. Enoki mushrooms thrive in cool temperatures ranging from 45-60°F (7-15°C) and high humidity levels of around 85-95%. You can maintain these conditions by using a spray bottle to mist your mushrooms regularly and keeping them in a cool, dark place.

It’s also important to monitor your mushrooms for mold and other contaminants. If you notice any signs of mold or other issues, you may need to adjust your humidity levels or sterilize your growing environment to prevent further growth.

Harvesting Your Enoki Mushrooms

Once your enoki mushrooms have reached maturity, you can harvest them by cutting them off at the base of the stem. Enoki mushrooms have delicate white caps and slender stems, and they are typically harvested when they are around 3-4 inches (7-10 cm) tall.

To regrow your enoki mushrooms, you can leave the base of the stem intact and continue to mist the growth medium to promote further growth. With the right care and attention, you can enjoy a steady supply of delicious enoki mushrooms right at home.

Pro Tip:

Enoki mushrooms can be a bit finicky to grow, but with the right conditions and care, they can be a rewarding addition to your home garden. Be patient and persistent, and don't be afraid to experiment with different growing methods to find what works best for you.

Using Your Harvest

Congratulations on harvesting your fresh enoki mushrooms! Now, it’s time to put them to use. In this section, we will explore the different ways you can use your enoki mushrooms in the kitchen, as well as how to store and preserve them for future use.

In the Kitchen

Enoki mushrooms have a delicate texture and a mild, slightly sweet taste that makes them a versatile ingredient in many Asian dishes. Here are a few ideas on how to use your enoki mushrooms:

  • Add them to soups: Enoki mushrooms are a great addition to soups, adding a unique texture and flavor. Try adding them to a miso soup or a hot and sour soup.
  • Use them in stir-fries: Enoki mushrooms are perfect for stir-fries, as they cook quickly and add a nice crunch. Pair them with garlic sauce and soy for a delicious flavor.
  • Top your pasta: Enoki mushrooms can be a great topping for pasta dishes, adding a unique flavor and texture. Try pairing them with a creamy sauce for a delicious meal.

Storage and Preservation

If you’re not planning on using your enoki mushrooms right away, it’s important to store them properly to ensure they stay fresh. Here are a few tips for storing and preserving your enoki mushrooms:

  • Store them in the refrigerator: Enoki mushrooms should be stored in the refrigerator in a paper bag or wrapped in a paper towel. They will stay fresh for up to a week.
  • Freeze them: If you’re not planning on using your enoki mushrooms right away, you can freeze them for later use. Simply chop them up and place them in a freezer bag. They will keep for up to six months.
  • Dry them: Enoki mushrooms can also be dried for later use. Simply slice them thinly and place them in a dehydrator or in the oven on low heat. Once they are completely dry, store them in an airtight container.

Potential Challenges and Solutions

Growing enoki mushrooms can be a rewarding experience, but it can also come with its own set of challenges. Here are some potential problems you may encounter and some solutions to help you overcome them.


One of the common challenges beginners face is identifying enoki mushrooms. Enoki mushrooms have long, thin stems and small, white caps. They are also known as velvet shank mushrooms due to their velvety texture. If you are unsure about the identification, it is always best to consult a mushroom expert or skip growing them altogether.


Sterilizing your jars and substrate is crucial to prevent contamination and mold growth. You can use a pot with a tight-fitting lid or a pressure cooker to sterilize your jars and substrate. Ensure that you follow the instructions carefully and maintain the correct temperature and pressure.

Temperature and Humidity

Enoki mushrooms thrive in a cool, dark, and humid environment. The ideal temperature for growing enoki mushrooms is between 50-60°F (10-15°C), and the humidity should be around 85-95%. If the temperature is too high, the mushrooms may not grow correctly, and if it’s too low, they may not grow at all.

Potential Pests

Pests like mites and flies can be a problem when growing enoki mushrooms. To prevent pests, ensure that you keep your growing area clean and free from any debris. You can also use sticky traps to catch any flying insects.


Growing enoki mushrooms can be challenging for beginners. It requires patience, attention to detail, and a bit of trial and error. If you are new to mushroom cultivation, it’s best to start with easier varieties before moving on to enoki mushrooms.

FAQ: Growing Enoki Mushrooms

What temperature is optimal for growing enoki mushrooms?

Enoki mushrooms require a specific temperature range to grow successfully. The optimal temperature for growing enoki mushrooms is between 72-77°F (22-25°C). It is essential to maintain this temperature range throughout the growing process to ensure healthy and robust growth.

What is the best medium for growing enoki mushrooms?

Enoki mushrooms grow best in a medium that is high in nitrogen and low in carbon. The best medium for growing enoki mushrooms is a mixture of sawdust and bran. This mixture provides the necessary nutrients for the mushrooms to grow and thrive.

What are the essential steps to grow enoki mushrooms?

To grow enoki mushrooms, you will need to follow these essential steps:

1 – Sterilize your growing medium to prevent contamination.
2 – Inoculate the sterilized medium with enoki mushroom spores.
3 – Place the inoculated medium in a temperature and humidity-controlled environment.
4 – Monitor the growth of the mushrooms and harvest them when they are ready.

How long does it take to grow enoki mushrooms?

Enoki mushrooms typically take between 2-4 weeks to grow from spores to harvest. The exact time depends on various factors, such as temperature, humidity, and the quality of the growing medium.

What are the common challenges when growing enoki mushrooms?

One of the most common challenges when growing enoki mushrooms is contamination. To prevent contamination, it is essential to sterilize your growing medium properly. Another challenge is maintaining the optimal temperature and humidity levels throughout the growing process.

What are the benefits of growing enoki mushrooms?

Enoki mushrooms are not only delicious but also have various health benefits. They are low in calories, high in fiber, and rich in antioxidants and vitamins. Additionally, growing your enoki mushrooms can save you money and provide you with a fresh, organic, and sustainable source of food.