Making kombucha, fermenting kimchi, or cultivating mushrooms: they are all DIY growing projects that involve bizarre, somewhat gnarly ingredients for their production. My studio apartment, which is notorious for smelling like fish for weeks only after one pan-seared sole dinner, is no place for stinky, fermented projects. However, I recently became the proud owner of an Oyster Mushroom MiniFarm from Far West Fungi California Mushrooms, and so far, it has been the weirdest thing I've ever "grown" at home.
The mushroom kit was gifted to me by a fellow culinary friend who offered me a heavy, white brick (the supposed mushroom farm) in a clear plastic bag and gushed, "Oh, I hope you like it!" My first thought was, "Will I accidentally make poisonous mushrooms and breathe in the spores at night?" But memories of earthy, sautéed oyster mushrooms eased my paranoia, and I propped the "plant" near a sunny window. After carefully following the instructions, my mushroom farm has dozens of little sprouts, a sign that my efforts have been working. In a few weeks, I think I'll have big meaty mushrooms to feast on and can bypass the mushroom bins at the grocery all together.
While many are apt to leave the weird stuff to the pros, there is something incredibly satisfying about trying to rear a crop of oyster mushrooms, brew a batch of beer, cultivate an herb garden, or transform raw cabbage into fermented sauerkraut in the comfort of your home. What's the weirdest thing you've fermented, cultivated, or grown at home?