Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms. Third edition
. by Paul Stamets. Ten Speed Press. 2000. 574pp., softcover, color/black and white photographs/illustrations. ISBN 1-58008-175-4
As fungi become more popular as both gourmet and health foods, as well as medicines, growing one's own mushrooms is becoming trendy and someday may become as popular as vegetable gardening. Highly coveted closet space, cellars, garages, and other dark areas will become prime spots for home-growing areas of edible and medicinal fungi, possibly giving a whole new meaning to "fun guy." The pre-eminent fungal fun guy is Paul Stamets, one of America's premier mycological masters, or as I prefer to call him, the frenetic fungal fanatic. He has revised his highly acclaimed Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms, probably the largest, most extensive publication of its kind. This book is destined to become the bible of homegrowers, just as the earlier editions have become the primary reference for the fast-growing gourmet and medicinal mushroom business sprouting up all over the U.S.
The book is replete with photos, some in dramatic color, and line drawings showing how to grow almost every conceivable edible fungus. The tome contains 25 chapters and six appendices, plus a glossary and index. The information is comprehensive, if not exhaustive, but it is written at an accessible, understandable level that allows a beginner or expert to dive right in. Nothing is taken for granted; one needn't be a mycologist to navigate through this book. The chapter on the Role of Mushrooms in Nature should be read by everyone, whether they intend to grow mushrooms or not. Knowing the essential contributions fungi make to the cycles of life is imperative to the understanding of biology. Without fungi, the entire biological system collapses.
Andrew Weil, M.D., writes on the back cover that this book is the "most comprehensive manual of mushroom cultivation ever, filled with readable, useful information about every known mushroom species that people esteem for food and for medicine. Expanded, improved and destined to be a classic." Amen.