By Popular Demand

We Bring You Chestnut Mushrooms!

Pholiota adiposa

Pholiota adiposa

Chestnut Mushrooms

Chestnut mushrooms (Pholiota adiposa) are trending with home growers, and have been the species most requested by our customers this year.  Who wouldn’t be stoked to grow these gorgeous clusters of tasty mushrooms?!

A staple of Japanese cuisine for centuries, they are a newer addition to the North American palate and are wonderful in soups, stews, and stir fries. They can also have a profound effect on overall health with potent immune boosting properties. 

Chestnut mushrooms are especially tricky to identify in the wild and it’s rare to find them in grocery stores, but thankfully you can grow them for yourself!  We are delighted to make this species now available to Canadians.

Chestnut Mushroom Kit
Aubree, a seasoned mushroom grower, is excited to grow her first Chestnut kit
Canadian Forest
Pholiotas grow in the forest not far from our mushroom farm

Wild Chestnuts Grow in our Forests

Chestnut mushrooms (Pholiota adiposa) are one of several closely related species of Pholiota that grow wild in Canadian forests, and around the world.

All Pholiotas mushrooms have gills that release brown spores, and most varieties grow on snags, fallen logs or woody debris, although they are sometimes found on living trees.  A few species grow from buried wood and appear to grow out of the ground.

Wild Chestnuts (Pholiota adiposa) are extremely difficult to distinguish with the naked eye from close cousins like P. aurivella, P. squarrosoides, and P. limonella.  In fact you need to look through a microscope at their spores to truly tell them apart, perhaps even do a DNA analysis!

When foraging for wild mushrooms for the table, it’s critically important to be confident of your identification.  Several wild mushroom species can be mistaken for Chestnuts, such as the deadly poisonous Autumn Skullcap (Galerina marginata), which also grows on wood.

Your safest option when it comes to eating Pholiota adiposa is to grow them directly from a Mist & Grow Kit.

Did You Know?

The scientific name for Chestnut Mushrooms describes it's appearance. Pholiota means “scaly”, a key distinguishing feature of Chestnut Mushrooms, and adiposa references the sometimes shiny appearance of the cap. In Japan they are known as Numerisugitake, and are closely related to the Nameko mushroom (Pholiota microspora) which is found abundantly in Japanese cuisine, including miso soup.

Chestnut Mushrooms
Photo by The Forager Chef

Growing Chestnut Mushrooms

Chestnut mushrooms are simple to grow from our mushroom kits.  Inside your kit is the Chestnut’s white fungal mycelium growing through pure hardwood sawdust and Canadian wheat bran. 

Chestnuts take a bit longer to reach maturity than oyster mushrooms or lion’s mane, so consider leaving your block to mature for another 1-3 weeks at room temperature before starting the fruiting process.

Over time, the fungal mycelium will thicken and get more white as it consumes, and patches of orange tones start to appear.   That’s when you know it’s ready to start growing mushrooms!

Like many wild mushrooms, Chestnut mushrooms are stimulated to grow by cool rainy fall nights. To imitate natural conditions, give your kit a “cold shock” by putting it outside for a few nights, or even in the fridge.    Then cut your kit open.

To “side fruit”, cut a slit or an “X” from 5 to 10 cm long with a sharp knife on any side of the kit.  Alternatively, to “top fruit”, untape and unroll the top of the bag, and then cut off the bag about 10 cm above the surface of the block, leaving a large rim of plastic at the top to help retain humidity.

Chestnut Mushroom
Image from Forager Chef

It’s crucial to keep humidity very very high at this stage.  If relying on hand misting inside a humidity tent, plan to mist many times a day.  It can help to place a tray of water or wet perlite underneath your tent to help bolster the humidity.   They have been reported to produce mushrooms between temperatures of 15 – 25C, but prefer it on the cooler side.

Small room humidifiers are great to set up inside a mini-greenhouse or even under a shelf draped with plastic.  You can also use a simple mist maker that floats in a bucket of water. Just remember to allow some holes or gaps for air exchange or the mushrooms will turn out gangly with small caps.

Once baby mushrooms (pins) start to form, the mushrooms grow very quickly.  Expect to be harvesting in as early as five days!   With care, you could enjoy two or three flushes from a kit by cutting a fresh opening elsewhere on the kit.  Afterwards if you can bury the spent kit in your garden, you may be delighted with a bonus crop.

Chestnut Mushroom Kit
Image from Forager Chef

Identifying & Harvesting Your Mushroom Crop

Chestnuts grow in dense short clusters, with many mushrooms growing joined at the base.   Their ochre caps mature to a deep chestnut brown with age, reaching about 13 cm across and standing around 10 cm tall.  Tufts or “scales” give the mushroom caps a decorative shaggy appearance.

On the underside of the cap are gills that radiate out from the central stem.  They are yellowish when young, darkening as reddish-brown spores are released. 

The ideal time to harvest is when the mushroom is still young, and the cap has started to expand but the edges are still curved under.

Harvest the whole bunch at once by cutting close to the base.  This base that holds the cluster together can be tough, so is best discarded.  The rest of the stem and cap cook up wonderfully!

Gourmet Cooking With Chestnut Mushrooms

Completely unique among mushrooms, Chestnut mushrooms retain their crunchy texture when cooked and have a delightful flavour that has been described as both earthy and nutty.

Their striking chestnut caps, long stems, and satisfying crispy texture give them a special place in cooking.  They are a great addition to soups, stir fries, and salads. 

If it is your first time eating Chestnut mushrooms, it is best to start with a small amount (a spoonful) and wait 2-4h to see if they “agree” with you.  Some folks experience gastrointestinal upset, and idiosyncratic and allergic reactions are possible with any food.  Experts recommend that all mushrooms be cooked well before eating. 

Be sure to wash your hands after handling and preparing chestnut mushrooms as they can stain orange.

Chestnut Mushroom Spaghetti
Image from Oh My Dish

Health Benefits

Chestnut mushrooms can have a powerful impact on health and wellness! Full of nutritional benefits such as protein, fiber, vitamins, trace elements, and bio-active enzymes, these impressive mushrooms contain anti-oxidative, anti-tumour, and anti-microbial properties.

Chestnuts contain adenosine, a compound that is crucial for both energy and sleep, and has protective effects on the heart and lungs through its anti-inflammatory properties. 

As powerful nutraceuticals they are also antibacterial; a study performed in 2004 showed that compounds found in Chestnut mushrooms protected against pathogens including E. Coli and Staphylococcus aureus

In a more recent study, scientists isolated a new compound, called HEB (or methyl gallate), from a Chestnut mushroom and tested it in a lab against pathogens including various strains of the HIV virus. The authors stated “It exhibited significant anti-HIV activity.

Want To Start Growing Today?

We’re excited to get you started with $10 off of your Chestnut Mushroom Mist & Grow Kit. 

Gibson, Ian. Pholiota adiposa. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2023-08-23 12:54:14 PM ]

Holec, Jan (1998). “The Taxonomy of Pholiota aurivella and Pholiota adiposa – a return to Batsch and Fries” (PDF). Czech Mycology. 50 (3): 201–222

Wang, Z. B., Xu, H. Y., Li, D. H., & Wang, J. J. (2012). The Biological Characteristics and its Sequence Analysis of Pholiota adiposa. Advanced Materials Research, 518–523, 5371–5375.

Chang Rong Wang, Wen Tao Qiao, Ye Ni Zhang, Fang Liu. “Effects of Adenosine Extract from Pholiota adiposa (Fr.) Quel on mRNA Expressions of Superoxide Dismutase and Immunomodulatory Cytokines.” Molecules 18 (2) (2013): 1775-1782.

Basaran Dulger. “Antimicrobial activity of the macrofungus Pholiota adiposa.” Fitoterapia 75 (3-4) (2004): 395-397.

Chang Rong Wang, Rong Zhou, Tzi Bun Ng, Jack Ho Wong, Wen Tao Qiao, Fang Liu. “First report on isolation of methyl gallate with antioxidant, anti-HIV-1 and HIV-1 enzyme inhibitory activities from a mushroom (Pholiota adiposa).” Environmental toxicology and pharmacology 37 (2) (2014): 626-637.

GBIF: Global Biodiversity Information Facility, The Catalogue of Life Partnership: Species Fungorum Plus, www.gbif.org/search?q=pholiota+adiposa. Accessed 23 Aug. 2023.

B.C. Conservation Data Centre. 2023. BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer. B.C. Government, Victoria B.C.  (Accessed 23 Aug. 2023)

“Pholiota Adiposa: Observations.” iNaturalist, www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&subview=map&taxon_id=351817. Accessed 23 Aug. 2023.

Beug, Michael W. “Summary of the Poisoning Reports in the NAMA Case Registry for 2006 through 2017.” North American Mycological Association , 2023, namyco.org/toxicology_reports.php.

Kuyper, T.W, & Tjallingii-Beukers, G. (1986). Notes on Pholiota. Persoonia – Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution of Fungi, 13(1), 77–82.

MacKinnon, Andy, and Kem Luther. Mushrooms of British Columbia. Royal BC Museum, 2021.

Ammirati, Joseph F., and Steve Trudell. Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest: Timber Press Field Guide. Timber Press, 2009.

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The Key is to Keep Cold or Delay Shipping

Refrigeration will delay fruiting for a month or more, and a cold dark basement will slow them for 2-3 weeks.  A sticker on your parcel will alert the recipient to keep it cold.

We encourage you to order early to avoid the uncertainties of the seasonal postal rush, and delay shipping.  To delay shipping, select a date on the checkout page, found directly under your total order $ value.   If you don’t select a date, we will ship in 1-2 business days.

The elves at our family farm are doing our best to keep everything in stock, but we request your understanding just in case we run out and substitute a similar product in order to ship on time.  

Consider also the option of a non-perishable gift, like booksmushroom hot chocolate, or a gift card so that your loved one can choose a living gift when timing is best for them.

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