King Oyster Mushroom Cooking

Candidates For Cultivation: The King Oyster Mushroom

Oyster Mushrooms come in a dizzying variety of colors, shapes and sizes. One true standout is the king oyster mushrooms. Unique in many of its characteristics, the King Oyster has a stately appearance and culinary flexibility making it well deserved of its name.


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Scientific Name: Pleurotus Eryngii

General Description

Unlike other oyster varieties, the King Oyster doesn’t usually produce a shelf like formation, but instead produces a mushroom with a round cap and a defined stem. The cap usually unrolls with age, becoming flat and eventually uncurled. If grown indoors with minimal fresh air and low light levels, the mushroom will grow a fat tall stem and a tiny cap, while lots of fresh air and light will produce a mushroom with a small stem and large dark cap. King Oysters can be quite large, sometimes producing single fruits weighing well over one pound.

king oyster mushrooms growing indoors

King oysters growing indoors.

Genetically identical, growing outdoors.

Natural Habitat: Found growing from the roots of hardwood trees, emerging from underneath the soil. Can be found in Southern Europe, North Africa, Central Asia and Russia.

Difficulty: Medium.

Agar: King Oyster mycelium grows vigorously on Malt Yeast Agar. Growth is somewhat slower than other Oyster species. Mycelium appears thick and fluffy. Sometimes rhizomorphic.

Spawn Types: Grains, especially Rye. Can also use millet, or wild bird seed. Hardwood sawdust is also an effective spawn medium.

king oyster on agar

King Oyster growing out on Agar.

king oyster on rye

A liquid Culture of King Oyster growing through sawdust.

Substrate Types: King oyster grows best on supplemented hardwood sawdust in autoclavable grow bags. Supplement with wheat bran at 10-15%. King Oysters will also grow well on straw, however, unlike other Oyster species, the yield will be reduced. Cultivators also report that the King Oyster will have a longer shelf life and a better texture if grown on hardwood sawdust rather than straw.

Fruiting Containers: Large gusseted autoclavable grow bags with a filter patch will produce the best results. For straw logs use poly tubing. Can also be grown with success outdoors in garden beds.

Casing Layer: Unlike other Oyster mushrooms, the King Oyster will benefit from a casing layer. Use 50/50 peat moss and vermiculite with 1% hydrated lime to prevent casing contamination.

Yield: Typically, 1 lb can be grown from a 5 lb supplemented sawdust block on the first flush. Multiple flushes can be achieved. Some cultivators get 2 lbs from a block on a single flush.

baby king oyster mushroom

Baby King Oyster Emerging from a casing layer.

king oyster mushrooms

Indoor grown King Oysters at different stages of development

Harvest: When to harvest the King Oyster depends on cultivators preference. Smaller younger mushrooms will generally have a better texture and flavor, but less yield will be achieved. King Oysters are unique among oysters in that the stem is highly desired for culinary uses, so allowing the stem to grow large may be desired. Harvest by removing the mushrooms at the base of the stem, being careful not to damage the top of the block if subsequent flushes are desired.

harvested king oysters

Freshly harvested King Oyster Mushrooms. Grown indoors. Yum.

Weakness: King Oysters are generally resilient against contamination but can be susceptible to blotch. Blotch is a bacterial infection generally caused by excessive humidity. It is shown by dark spots on the mushroom fruitbody. Remedy by reducing the humidity and ensuring water droplets do not remain on fruitbody for too long. Increase air exchanges.

Cooking: King Oyster mushrooms have a thick meaty texture and a bold unique taste. They are quite versatile and highly desired as a culinary treat. The thick texture will even stand up to grilling on a BBQ!


The Specifics

Spawn Run:
Incubate the grain spawn at room temperature (20-22 deg C) until full colonization. Should take 10-14 days for full colonization.

Initiate Pinning:
Expose fruiting container to lower temperatures (15 deg) and high humidity (95-100% RH). Increase fresh air.

Fruit Development:
Temperatures between 15-18 deg C. Lower humidity slightly but maintain above 80%. Fruits develop in 4-8 days.


You will not be disappointed choosing to grow King Oyster! The ones you grow at home will generally be much more delicious than the imported ones you can buy from the grocery store. They are fun to watch grow, as they grow large and relatively fast. They store for much longer in the fridge than typical oyster mushrooms, sometimes lasting for longer than 2 weeks. You can have fun altering the growing conditions to produce vastly different looking mushrooms. Overall, the King Oyster mushroom is a perfect candidate for cultivation.

Thanks for reading! Post comments, or pictures of your own King Oyster grows below!

-spread the spores-

OTHER MUSHROOMS TO GROW:

  • growing blue oyster mushrooms
  • growing pink oyster mushrooms
  • growing reishi mushrooms
  • growing-lions-mane-mushrooms

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Kerem
Kerem
3 years ago

Do you pasteurize your casing layer?

Palyne
Palyne
24 days ago
Reply to  Tony

Would sterilizing the casing hurt it? I mean I guess I wonder why anybody would pasteurize anything if it could be sterilized. (Modern pressure cookers are so easy, albeit small.) Would the peat be damaged in some way?

Sue
Sue
3 years ago

Hello, how long should it generally be to the initiate Pinning stage, after you have spawned to the substrate??
Thanks!

Sue
Sue
3 years ago

Oh, and at what point do you add the casing? 🙂 Thanks!

Sue
Sue
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony

Thanks so much for “both” your answers Tony! Since my spawned kings are looking fully colonized and are 16 days old, I’m going to go put them in my outdoor fruiting chamber, I’m so excited!!! I just started this hobby a couple months ago, bought a King culture syringe, started it on agar, then to rye grain jars and then to substrate of sawdust with BBQ alder chips, wheat bran, a little millet, coffee grounds, gypsom and cardboard, lol, I hope that wasn’t too many ingredients, but the bags look good! Thank you again for your quick reply!

Sue
Sue
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony

I have Pins!! A few have brown heads, others are gray.. does that mean one of those colors are aborting? 2 more bags went into the greenhouse today too! I have never eaten (or even seen) a King Oyster so I can not wait to try them!

Sue
Sue
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony

They started to flatten out and I picked them (just the bigger flattened ones) and ate them! They ARE delicious! I had a very nice helping of them, sauteed with a tiny bit of spices and garlic. I’m so glad my first bag was a success, thank you for you help! My Shiitake are starting to fruit too!

Jennifer A Greenwood
Jennifer A Greenwood
3 months ago
Reply to  Tony

You guys! I am just doing this now. I have fully colonized rye grain. I bought straw and the bags, but I was wondering, do you ever skip the bag state and perhaps grow in a bin? The bags I bought are a little smaller than expected, but they have the patch on them. Thanks in advance. I hope you see this and answer!! 😀

Dave
Dave
3 years ago

Hi there

Do you scratch your Kings and if so is it before or after pinning. Thank you.

Davidson
Davidson
2 years ago

Hi! I was wondering if there are any reasons for using bags instead of beds to hold the substrate.
Thanks

Victor
Victor
2 years ago

Does the King Oyster grow well on coffee grounds?

marli brown
marli brown
2 years ago

i purchased some king oyster and live in the Caribbean. i am now seeing the temperature requirements for fruiting. Do you think if i watered with cold water it would fruit.

Sarah D
Sarah D
2 years ago

Hi! Have you ever seen a good amount of fuzz when you cut open the bags for fruiting? Is it mold? Any ideas what keeps causing our kings to have this? All of our other varieties have been great except we keep getting a large fuzz layer on our kings after 3 weeks of colonization or is this the kings mycelium?

Thanks!

Any tips?

dale sarver
1 year ago

I read that King Oysters need a cold shock to start pinning. Can I put the colonized bag in a large ice chest/cooler with some ice to get the shock? Too extreme? I am only a basement grower and air conditioning out of the question. Any other ideas?

Jennifer A Greenwood
Jennifer A Greenwood
3 months ago
Reply to  Tony

Will my kings grow if my temperature is above 65 degrees F? My basement isn’t that cool right now and other than adding a fan, I don’t know how to make it any cooler. Any suggestions? Something I can rig up? Thanks!

Juanma
Juanma
9 months ago

Good morning from Spain. In my area Pleurotus Eryngii growes naturally. There are some errors in your article regarding where and how they grow wild.
Pleurotus Eryngii usually appears on plains without trees, and ever associated with a kind of thistle called “Eryngium Campestris”.
Otherwise it is an extraordinary article that have helped me to get fruiting from a wild mycelium. Thank you very much.

Olivera
Olivera
9 months ago

Hi, I’m from Makedonia. I would like to grown king oyster on straw. I saw you video few weeks ago,but I couldn’t find it now. Please tell me which way is better -on straw or hardwood sawdust.

Stuart
Stuart
8 months ago

Hi Tony. I’m growing Kings (or trying) in my garage. Built an airtight cubboard with an always on 900 Lumen (led) lightbulb inside with an air conditioner pumping cold air at ~17/18 degrees C inside. Humidity sensor shows ~70%. Bags grew for about 18 days (white mycelium on top) before I put them in. It’s 5 days now and I see ZERO signs of pinning.

Should I just hold out or try change a parameter?

Stuart
Stuart
5 months ago
Reply to  Tony

I thought I would give an update on that situation 3 months back:
So, it never fruited into Kings 🙁 It fruited into another type of fungi! So it seems whatever it was has slipped in somewhere in at the start because all my bags ended up having it!
I have since started a new batch from scratch with new mycelium on agar/grain spawn/substrate and have finally been able to see some ACTUAL King Oyster pins – and they are growing now 😀
Using a fruiting chamber inside the cupboard gives more humidity as well (80%+), no casing layer.

Jennifer A Greenwood
Jennifer A Greenwood
3 months ago
Reply to  Stuart

Good job. I could use some tips, Stuart! I have colonized jars and got some straw and bags and now I read Tony talking about sawdust, but I cannot get my hands on that. I now need to decide if we are going to try this in bags or in a plastic bin. I prefer the bag idea.

Edward Cantarella
Edward Cantarella
23 days ago

Wood stove pellets are cheap, have no binders and are essentially sterile when produced. Equal volumes of wood pellets and water is usually a perfect ratio. E. g.,6 cups pellets and 6 cups of water, in a standard filter bags, making a roughly 5 lb. block.
Don’t do a bin – it goes bad you are losing an entire bin. We often do 8-10 bags and one gets contam. Plus the bags contain the contam from your others to a big degree.

Last edited 23 days ago by Edward Cantarella
Jennifer A Greenwood
Jennifer A Greenwood
3 months ago
Reply to  Tony

I feel dumb here, but is a casing laying something like vermiculite? Thanks again. Lots more questions for you guys!

Julieta
Julieta
2 months ago

Hi! Awesome blog !! thanks for so much information !!!
Could be posible grow in the same tent (same environment) Pleurotus ostreatus (Winter Oyster Mushroom) and Pleurotus eryngii (King Oyster Mushroom)? not for own consumption, thinking on start a little business ! ( I have some experience on oyster no king oyster).
what bags are best for king ? T bags? If it is like that, what number?
thanks you very much !

KUMAAR SHIVAA
2 months ago

Good Morning Respected Sir, I am in India, at Chennai. I am a mushroom cultivator also, i want mushroom spawn all kinds of varities. I like your youtube videos,very super and Nice .

David Rudolph
David Rudolph
1 month ago

First night in tent inside cellar. Temp is high at 24c. Tomorrow will be cooler.Wish me luck.

Alberto Lorusso
Alberto Lorusso
10 days ago

Hello Tony!

Amazing website and youtube channel!!!!

I am setting up a sort of monotub to grow King Oyster Mushroom (Starting from a ready made kit, I am a newbie!), with sensors to control humidity and ventilation to rake CO2 out and introduce fresh air and Oxygen.

I was wondering: what are the best indoor grow-lights for Oyster Mushrooms? I am planning to use 1-2 kits in parallel (max) and the monotub will be rather small (30gallons) so would be nice to be adviced on the type of light and watts/Lux expected so that I can optimize my little system!

Thanks if you (or anyone else) can reply to me!