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How To Harvest Magic Mushrooms
5 min

How To Harvest Magic Mushrooms

5 min

Now the time has come to harvest your magic mushrooms, you're almost there. Mastering this stage is fairly simple, but crucial if you want to reap the rewards of all your hard work. Find out how with our guide.

If you’ve grown magic mushrooms from scratch, you might have been waiting many months for the joy and relief of reaching harvest time. You’ll be pleased to know that the hard part is over. But that’s not to say you can drop your guard quite yet; there are a few more careful steps.

Harvesting magic mushrooms is pretty straightforward, but getting it right is incredibly important. Miss the window, and there’s still time to wreck your whole grow and lose your crop. Below, find information on identifying exactly when to harvest magic mushrooms and how to dry and store them to keep them for a later date.

The importance of harvesting in time

Magic Mushrooms: The importance of harvesting in time

Getting the timing right for harvesting magic mushrooms is crucial to maximising future flushes and getting the most out of your efforts. Choosing when to harvest mushrooms all comes down to observing the veil, the thin membrane on the cap’s underside, which keeps the spores in the mushroom. When the mushroom is mature, this veil tears and the spores are released, ready to grow the next generations of mushrooms.

When you’re growing mushrooms indoors, whether from scratch or a grow kit, this process is very undesirable. If the spores get released onto the mycelium cake it will produce far fewer mushrooms in the subsequent flushes, if any at all. So to continue getting a lot of mushroom growth, keeping the cakes spore free is essential.

That’s the number one reason why it’s essential to harvest on time.

The second reason is less critical but still impacts your final haul. Once the veil drops on a shroom, it may continue to grow in size but will not develop any more psilocybin or psilocin. So whilst it won’t lose potency, it will be less potent as a percentage of its overall weight, meaning that there will be more mushroom body to consume when it comes to getting high. So harvesting on time means your stomach has less to digest—which you’ll be grateful for!

When to harvest magic mushrooms

When to harvest magic mushrooms

But how do you spot this crucial moment to harvest your mushrooms? Careful observation of the veil of each mushroom is necessary to know when to pick magic mushrooms. However, one general rule is that too soon is better than too late. Yes, you may not get the most out of a single mushroom, but you don’t risk ruining the whole grow. So always play it safe!

What is the right time to harvest?

The right time to harvest is just before the veil tears. But as mentioned, always err on the side of caution.

The veil is located on the underside of the cap, and it covers the gills. On a juvenile mushroom, veils are fleshy and light coloured – a sort of grey-white usually. When the time comes for them to tear, they often darken and begin to sag. Don’t wait around if you spot these signs; just harvest them.

Trying to go off any other signal is fraught with difficulty. Even in a single colony, there can be a vast range between the final sizes of individual mushrooms. As a result, you mustn’t assume that just because some are huge, all the others will grow to that size before they’re mature. Treat each mushroom as an individual and take your cues from that shroom alone.

Until you have a little experience, you should always harvest mushrooms while the veils are still lightly coloured. As soon as you see any sign that they may be darkening, the time to harvest has arrived!

Magic Mushrooms: What is the right time to harvest?

Magic Mushrooms: What is the right time to harvest?

Magic Mushrooms: What is the right time to harvest?

Magic Mushrooms: What is the right time to harvest?

When is it too late?

You also need to know when the optimal time has passed, because you still need to pick them as quickly as possible at this point and avoid this mistake in the future.

The veil will literally drop down the stem once it tears, and detach from the underside of the cap, revealing a concave cavity and gills. At first, just one side may tear, but the rest will soon follow. The veil will turn black, followed the cap and whole mushroom.

After this point, the mushroom will soon start to die, as it’s fulfilled its purpose. It will darken, appear to wilt, and eventually break. As the newly released spores spread over the cake, it will go from frosty white to covered in dark mushroom spores patches. This is exactly what you want to avoid, as it will reduce the yield of further flushes or stop new mushrooms from growing entirely!

Magic Mushrooms: When is it too late?

Magic Mushrooms: When is it too late?

Magic Mushrooms: When is it too late?

Magic Mushrooms: When is it too late?

How to harvest magic mushrooms

How should you harvest magic mushrooms? Carefully!

There are various methods, and in reality none are better or worse so long as a few basic things are adhered too.

However you choose to harvest them, you want to inflict as little damage on the mycelium as possible. So just ripping them off is not a good tactic. Generally, the preferred method is gently twisting them off at the base of the stem. Sometimes the stem will snap, other times you will pull away some mycelium.

The importance of working sterile

Related to the above part is that you need to keep things sterile. So wash your hands, maybe wear gloves, wear a face mask. Bacteria or aggressive fungi could still contaminate the cake even at this late stage, affecting any future flush!

The less damage you do to the cake, the less risk of contamination you have. Once mycelium has colonised grain, it’s pretty difficult for something else to take hold. However, pulling a mushroom away can expose uncolonised grains, which is a perfect breeding ground for infection. So harvesting your mushrooms gently and in a cleanly manner will greatly increase the chances of successful later flushes.

Related article

Sterile Technique For Growing Magic Mushrooms

What comes after harvesting?

Once you’ve harvested your mushrooms, you’re almost there. In fact, you can just eat them right away and reap the rewards of your hard work. Eating fresh mushrooms is slightly different to dried, so it’s worth trying this sometime.

However, it’s likely you have far more than you want to take in a single go. In that case, you’ll need to dry and store them properly so that they last indefinitely.

Drying

Magic Mushrooms: Drying

Drying magic mushrooms is pretty easy, and there are many methods out there.

First, you’ll want to pre-dry them. This involves laying them out on a piece of cardboard or towel and allowing them to air dry for a few hours, which removes excess moisture. Make sure they are in a well-ventilated area, or even in front of a fan. It is also important to keep them out of direct sunlight.

After some hours, you’ll need to dry them properly. To do this, choose one of the following methods:

  • Air drying
  • Food dehydrator
  • Use a desiccant

Depending on what you have available, how many mushrooms you have, and how much effort you want to put into drying them will determine which of the above methods you use. Whichever you choose, it’s crucial that you make sure your shrooms are cracker dry before you put them into storage. If they’re not crunchy, then they’re not dry enough!

You might be tempted just to risk it, but any remaining moisture will cause them to go off, lose potency and rot. After potentially months of careful growing, you don’t want to find that you cut corners at the final step and lost the whole crop!

Related article

How To Dry And Store Magic Mushrooms

Storing

Magic Mushrooms: Storing

On that note, you need to store them in such a way that they remain cracker dry.

The simplest way to do this is to keep them in an airtight jar, such as a Kilner jar. Put silica gel humidity packs in with them to absorb any residual moisture in the air. Though nothing should get in or out, stay on the safe side and keep them in a dry environment too.

Finally, direct sunlight can cause even dried mushrooms to lose potency, so keep them somewhere dark as well.

Harvesting magic shrooms: the final push!

Depending on what method you used to grow shrooms, you might have waited months and put in hours of work to get here. So well done!

It’s essential to harvest, dry, and store mushrooms well—you dont want to trip at the last hurdle. Just because they look big and strong doesn’t mean they don’t still need to look after. Fortunately, unlike some of the earlier stages in mushroom cultivation, nothing at this point is very complex or difficult. So just be careful, follow our above advice, and you’re sure to have yourself an excellent mushroom harvest.

Max Sargent
Max Sargent
Max has been writing for over a decade, and has come into cannabis and psychedelic journalism in the last few years. Writing for companies such as Zamnesia, Royal Queen Seeds, Cannaconnection, Gorilla Seeds, MushMagic and more, he has experience in a broad spectrum of the industry.
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