The parasol mushroom, or Macrolepiota procera, has a fruiting body that resembles a parasol and may reach a diameter of 15 inches. It is relatively common in wet, temperate regions throughout the world, especially eastern Europe. The cap of the parasol mushroom is edible and it has a variety of culinary uses. This mushroom is not generally cultivated on a commercial scale, although private gardeners frequently raise parasol mushrooms at home.
Purchase parasol mushroom spawn from a garden supply store. This is generally some type of grain that the supplier has inoculated with parasol mushroom spores.
Select a planting site for the parasol mushroom. This species grows best under trees in an area without competing vegetation. The soil should be primarily sandy loam.
Cover the planting site with a layer of organic compost, such as lawn clippings or kitchen scraps. Mix 1 part peat moss with 4 parts compost to lower the pH of the compost to a slightly acidic level. Keep the soil loose to ensure good drainage.
Mix the parasol mushroom spawn into the compost according to the manufacturer's instructions. This generally means scattering the grain spawn on top of the compost.
Cover the compost with a 1-inch layer of dead leaves to retain moisture over the parasol mushroom spores. Water the leaves to keep them moist. The mushrooms should grow out of the mulch in two to three weeks.
Harvest the caps of the parasol mushrooms when they pass the button stage. They will continue growing for several weeks and are edible even when they reach their fully mature size.
Parasol mushroom caps are edible when raw, although many recipes call for frying them in butter.
Tips and warnings
- Parasol mushroom caps are edible when raw, although many recipes call for frying them in butter.