Growing your own food has a way of helping you appreciate it more. I did it for the first time ever with Back To The Roots’ Mushroom Kit and mushrooms never tasted better. Everyone from Oprah to Martha Stewart have been hailing this product as “one of the top 10 hottest new vegetarian products.” I was dubious but wanted to give it a go. Honestly? It’s worth all the hype. If all went well, the kit would lead to me having home-grown mushrooms in about a week (10 days). I also thought it would be a great activity to do with kids. I must admit I procrastinated doing it because I don’t have a green thumb and I was sure it would be so much work. I mean, growing food is really hard in a NYC apartment, right? Wrong! The set-up takes less than 5 minutes in total and the upkeep is less than 1 minute per day. For my own food, it was the least I could do. Here’s how I did it.
The box that arrived was pretty much a box of soil with instructions on it. I finally set aside an hour to try it out. I didn’t know I would need much less.
I started by tearing out the panel at the front and cutting a cross in the front of the box. They have a perforated line to show you where to cut so all you need to know is how to use a knife on a straight line. Then, I scraped away the white layer under the flaps. I removed the bag from the box and soaked it in my biggest pot for 12 hours. I needed to place a heavy weight on the pack to make it stay down so I used a can of beans. After 12 hours, I placed it back in the box and set it on my windowsill. The pack comes with a small spritzer. I filled it with tap water and left it on the sill so I could spritz daily. We don’t have a ton of sunlight in our apartment so I was worried that the soil would dry up. Every day, I would spritz once in the morning before work and once in the evening. Okay, so maybe I missed it a few times. I was worried that I doomed my mushrooms.
But, this was the result.
OMG, right? But were they edible?
We cut the mushrooms out of the box with a knife and washed them.
Then, came the creative part…the cooking!!! We decided to try a simply stir fry to let the natural texture and taste come forth. The mushrooms got a uber sexy shade of brown as they got more tender.
I paired it with stir-fried zucchini, sauteed kale and sliced vege-turkey sausages. With just a touch of sea salt and black pepper, my meal was done!
My conclusion? Back To The Roots’s Mushroom Kit is worth the hype. It’s super easy to do and nothing quite beats that feeling of knowing you just freakin’ grew your own food on a windowsill! It’s also great to do with your kids for many reasons. It’s an incredible way to teach kids about where their food comes from and the process of growing food. It’s an ongoing process that can keep the kids interested without too much upkeep. It’s also a great pre-cursor to a discussion about healthy food choices. I had so much fun doing it. I enjoyed that meal in a much different way than I have enjoyed any in my life. It was so full of personal connection. Those mushrooms and I grew together. It was also simply delicious and ridiculously easy to do. I keep saying easy because no-one really has tons of time or space to grow food if you don’t have a garden and live in the city. But almost everyone has a windowsill and space for a small box.
Thank you to Back to the Roots for gifting me this kit and helping me have this meaningful experience with food.
By Tabitha St. Bernard