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The Rice-Cake Technique

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#1 dukex



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Posted 23 April 2005 - 02:31 PM

by Dr. Steven H. Pollock, M.D.

This technique is extremely easy and highly recommended for its convenience in
growing Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms. All that is needed is a pressure cooker,
some canning jars, uncontaminated live mushroom starter (mycelia), and brown
rice. Either long grain or short grain brown rice may be used. The former is
usually more economical. Do not use white rice. It is inferior in quality to
brown rice because most of the vitamins have been lost in converting brown to
white rice.

Into each quart jar place 1/4 cup brown rice and between 1/3 to 1/2 cup tap
water. One-half cup or more of water is too much because the rice will turn to
mush rather than a cake. One-third cup water leads to a dry cake that is
adequate, but mycelia grow much faster on the wetter cakes resulting from the
use of more than 1/3 cup of water. Up to 1/8 teaspoon of agricultural gypsum
(calcium sulfate) may be added to each jar prior to sterilization to serve as
a buffer, but gypsum is not really necessary. Some cubensis strains seem to
prefer it, but so do many contaminants. It seems more practical not to bother
using gypsum except except for purposes of experimentation to find out if a
particular mushroom strain will fruit more aggressively with it. In most cases
it probably will not make any difference.

Invert the dome of each two-piece lid and place it on the mouth of the canning
jar with the rubber seal facing upward. Then loosely screw on the lid bands.
Presssure cook the jars at 15 lbs. pressure for an hour. Actually 45 minutes
at 15 lbs. pressure is adequate, but an hour gives an even greater likelihood
of complete sterilzation. Allow the pressure cooker to cool and remove the
jars, screwing the bands tighter until ready to inoculate the rice-cakes with
mushroom mycelia. Using a flame-sterilized probe, carefully transfer a piece
of agar medium containing live uncontaminated mycelia into each jar. It is
best to loosen the jar lid before-hand so that it will lift off easily. To
make the transfer, cut out a section of agar medium containing mycelia using a
flame-sterilized scalpel or probe. Then spear the agar block of mushroom
starter with the probe, lift up the lid of the jar, and drop in the piece of
mushroom starter. Close the lid but do not screw it too tight since it is
necessary for growing mycelia to breathe. To enhance the rate of mycelia
growth, very soon after the jar is inoculated the lid can be screwed tight and
the jar shaken to bring the piece of mushroom starter into contact with more
of the rice-cake surface. Then loosen the lid before setting the jar in place
to incubate. In about four weeks mushrooms will start to grow. Sometimes they
commence after only three weeks, but they may frequently take up to six weeks
to appear. This depends a lot on the strain and room temperature.

The mycelia can be grown in the dark but light is needed when it is time for
the fungus to make mushrooms. As little as five minutes twice a day from an
overhead incandescent light in a closet can be sufficient to initiate mushroom
formation. But much better crops seem to come when fluorescent "grow lights"
are used for longer periods during the day. When mushrooms are growing, the
lid of eacj jar should be very loose since much condensation occurs as the
mushrooms breathe.

Some growers remove the lids completely at this time or replace the domes with
a double layer of paper towels. The towels can be secured in place with the
lid bands and the jars may be set near a window for natural light. Paper towel
tops should be sprayed with water at least once a day to help maintain a humid
enviroment. As the rice-cake dries, fruition is promoted. But if the dome is
left very loosely in place, fruiting continues much longer. Sometimes fruiting
occurs for three months or more! Mushrooms will keep appearing after harvest-
ing of previous crops.

To harvest the magic mushrooms, a fancier can reach in throught the mouth of
the jar and pull them out. It is best to grasp each mushroom near the bottom
of the stem and to give it a twist. If the mushroom cap is tugged, it might
just break off from the stem. Alternatively, a long knife may be used to cut
the mushrooms at the bottom of the stem. Still another method is to the jar
facing down so that the cake will fall near the orifice. This makes it easier
to grasp the mushrooms. Sometimes it is advantageous after a second of third
harvest to flip the cake over in the jar before putting the lid back on. This
maneuver often promotes a luxuriant fruiting from the newly exposed rice-cake

When the cakes have dried out too much for mushrooms to appear, they can be
squited with water froma spray bottle to induce another fruiting or better yet
used as spawn for a mushroom garden on compost. If there is absolutely no sign
of contamination, the cakes themselves may be fried or broken up and cooked in
mushroom soup or other cuisine for a psychedelic experience. One cake is
usually sufficient for two to four enthusiasts.

The rice-cake technique is very efficient. A 14 ounce package of brown rice
can be obtained often for less than fifty cents and is enough for seven quart
jars. When the cakes have completely become covered by mycelia, small pieces
can be cut out with a sterilized scalpel or probe and transferred to newley
prepared rice-cakes in other jars. This will not interfere significantly with
mushrrom production and will insure a continuing supply of magic San Isidro


#2 dukex



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Posted 23 April 2005 - 02:33 PM

I am posting this for historical purposes I believe this document goes back to the 70's. I have used this to create this tutorial



#3 bipolar



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Posted 23 April 2005 - 06:23 PM

Thanks for both Duke!!

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