Cooking the substrate for psilocybes
STEP 3. Day 2. Cooking substrate for magic mushrooms
On the previous step you've already chosen grain for the substrate, calculated the necessary volume and made a preliminary preparation by soaking grain in water for 12-24 hours.
To prepare the substrate you need:
- Whole grain soaked in water for 12-24 hours. Details in the previous section Choose and prepare substrate
- Antibiotic in pills (chloramphenicol or any analog) or hydrogen peroxide 3% solution (H2O2).
- Vermiculite or perlite.
- Teaspoon and tablespoon.
- Saucepan with a lid.
- Sieve or colander.
Additional substrate disinfection
1️⃣ After soaking, the grain should be thoroughly rinsed several times under running water.
2️⃣ For an extra antibacterial effect add antibiotic pill before boiling the grain. You can replace the antibiotic with a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2).
Antibiotic or peroxide help to disinfect the substrate from pathogenic bacteria and molds. In addition, peroxide is good at preventing of the wheat substrate acidification.
If you use peroxide add 230-250 ml per 1 liter of grain and 1 liter of water.
If you use antibiotic (chloramphenicol or any analogue) add it in the following proportion: 1 pill/capsule (250 mg) per 1 liter of grain and 1 liter of water. Even half pill (125 mg) is enough. The dosage of the pill/capsule is indicated on the blister.
3️⃣ Shred a pill so that it turns into powder. If you use antibiotic in capsules just open a capsule and use a powder from it.
4️⃣ Pour 1 liter of clean water into the rinsed grain (1 liter of grain).
5️⃣ Add antibiotic powder (125-250 mg) or 230-250 ml of hydrogen peroxide.
6️⃣ Mix thoroughly to distribute the antibiotic (or hydrogen peroxide solution) evenly.
7️⃣ Leave the grain with the antibiotic (or hydrogen peroxide) to infuse. We leave the grain for 15 minutes or can leave for several hours, it's not crucial.
How to cook the grain and prepare the substrate?
1️⃣ Put a pot with water, grain, and dissolved antibiotic (or peroxide) on the stove and bring to a boil over maximum heat (or maximum power).
2️⃣ Bring the grain to a boil. Then turn down the heat, so that the water bubbles slightly. Continue to cook over low heat.
How long does it take to cook the grain for magic mushrooms substrate?
Cooking time of grain depends not only on the type of cereals, but also on the quality, variety, place of growth, storage conditions. Countdown of boiling time begins after the water boils:
⏰ Wheat, barley, rye — about 25-35 min.
⏰ Oats — about 10-15 min.
⏰ Brown rice — about 15-20 min.
⏰ Corn and popcorn — about 45-55 min.
🔴 Make sure the grain doesn't turn into mush! If the kernels are over boiled or if the grain falls apart when lightly pressed, it means it is overcooked. Such grain should not be used. Subsequently, it will become sour and will be taken over by bacteria or mold. It is better to undercook a little bit.
Too much water = too little air = sourness = contamination = trash.
Here's a prime example of overcooked grain that quickly goes sour.
🔴 Too uncooked grain is also bad! Then the grain will not get enough moisture and the mycelium will be weak, grow poorly or not grow at all.
Too little moisture = too much air = weak growth or no growth of mycelium = contamination = trash.
Here is an example of too dry grain.
The grain should be springy, but soft :)
In general, if you see the first grains start to burst, it's a sign to stop boiling. Or if you take a single grain, press it with your fingers and it opens — it's also time to stop cooking.
Grain should remain moderately dense and maintain the integrity of its shell.
If you see a single broken kernel, it's definitely time to take it off the stove.
Such level of cooking should be for any type of grain: wheat, oats, barley, rye, rice, bird seeds, sorghum, millet, corn, etc.
This is what it should look like.
3️⃣ When the grain is ready drain the water from it.
4️⃣ Rinse thoroughly cooked grain under running water.
5️⃣ Laid cooked grain into a sieve (or colander) to remove excess water.
6️⃣ Leave the grain in this way for 30-40 minutes to let the excess water escape. You can spread the grain on a towel in a thin layer and it will absorb the excess moisture, it will be faster. We usually don't do so.
How to determine if the grain is dry enough. Take a handful of grain and put it on a paper napkin. If the grain does not leave obvious wet traces on the napkin — it's dry enough.
From 1 liter of dry grain after boiling you'll get about 1.2-1.4 liters of cooked grain.
7️⃣ Move grain from the sieve back into the pot and add 200-300 ml (1-1.5 cups) of vermiculite or perlite. It may be a little more or less, depending on how much moisture grain has absorbed during boiling.
Substrate must crumble in hands, be moist, but NOT wet! Optimal you'll find with experience. For now just take a handful of grain in a dry hand. If you feel it is wet, but neither a drop or water on your hand, then it is enough vermiculite. If the grain is wet, don't afraid to add more vermiculite.
8️⃣ Stir thoroughly to have an even mass. As a result, substrate should look like this.
Why add vermiculite to a grain substrate?
Vermiculite or perlite acts as a drainage. It allows good regulation of substrate moisture. If the grain is wet, it will take away excess moisture. And if in the process of colonization the grain loses moisture and it becomes dry, vermiculite will give the absorbed moisture to the grain. In addition, vermiculite will also serve as an additional fertilizer, because it contains a number of useful minerals.
Feel free to ask any questions and leave your comments ⬇️⬇️⬇️