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  • Writer's pictureJeremy Wright

Popping into Mushroom Cultivation: Exploring the Popcorn Tek Method

Welcome to a tantalizing journey into the world of mushroom cultivation, where we'll be popping kernels and nurturing mycelium with the innovative Popcorn Tek method. In this blog post, we'll dive into the simplicity and effectiveness of using popcorn as a substrate for growing gourmet mushrooms. Get ready to embrace the magic of mycology and embark on a deliciously fruitful adventure!

What is Popcorn Tek?

Popcorn Tek is a technique that utilizes plain, unpopped popcorn kernels as a substrate for mushroom cultivation. This method offers several advantages:

  • Readily Available: Popcorn kernels are inexpensive and widely available at grocery stores, making them a convenient substrate option.

  • Nutrient-Rich: Popcorn kernels provide a nutritious base for mushroom mycelium to thrive, containing carbohydrates, proteins, and trace minerals.

  • Easy Preparation: Compared to other substrates, popcorn is simple to prepare and requires minimal processing.

Getting Started: Popcorn Tek Recipe


  • Popcorn Kernels: Plain, unpopped popcorn kernels are ideal. Avoid flavored or salted varieties.

  • Water: Filtered or distilled water works best.

  • Mushroom Spawn: Choose a high-quality mushroom spawn suitable for the species you intend to cultivate.


  • Large Pot with Lid: For cooking the popcorn kernels.

  • Strainer or Colander: For draining the cooked popcorn.

  • Sterilized Jars or Bags: To house the inoculated popcorn substrate.

  • Pressure Cooker or Autoclave: For sterilizing the popcorn and equipment.


  1. Prepare the Popcorn:

  • Rinse the popcorn kernels under cold water to remove any dust or debris.

  • Place the kernels in a large pot and cover them with water. Allow them to soak overnight to hydrate fully.

  1. Cook the Popcorn:

  • After soaking, drain the popcorn kernels and rinse them once more.

  • Place the kernels in the pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45-60 minutes until the kernels are tender but not mushy.

  • Drain the cooked popcorn and allow it to cool to room temperature.

  1. Inoculate with Mushroom Spawn:

  • Once the popcorn has cooled, transfer it to sterilized jars or bags, leaving some airspace at the top.

  • Add your chosen mushroom spawn to the popcorn and mix thoroughly to distribute the spawn evenly.

  • Seal the jars or bags with breathable lids or filters to allow for gas exchange.

  1. Sterilization and Incubation:

  • Sterilize the inoculated popcorn substrate using a pressure cooker or autoclave to kill any contaminants.

  • Incubate the sterilized jars or bags in a dark, warm environment (around 70-75°F or 21-24°C) for several weeks, allowing the mushroom mycelium to colonize the substrate fully.

  1. Fruiting and Harvesting:

  • Once the popcorn substrate is fully colonized with mycelium, small pinheads will begin to form.

  • Provide proper humidity and ventilation to encourage the growth of mushroom fruiting bodies.

  • Harvest the mushrooms when they reach maturity, typically by gently twisting and pulling them from the substrate.

Tips for Success:

  • Maintain Sterile Conditions: Practice good sterile technique throughout the process to minimize the risk of contamination.

  • Monitor Moisture Levels: Ensure that the substrate remains adequately moist but not waterlogged to support healthy mycelial growth.

  • Experiment with Different Mushroom Species: While oyster mushrooms are commonly cultivated using the Popcorn Tek method, feel free to explore other mushroom varieties and see what works best for you.


With the Popcorn Tek method, you can turn humble popcorn kernels into a thriving ecosystem for gourmet mushroom cultivation. Whether you're a seasoned mycologist or a curious beginner, this technique offers a simple and rewarding way to connect with the fascinating world of fungi.

So, pop those kernels, inoculate with spawn, and watch as your mushroom dreams come to life in a burst of delicious abundance!

Happy Cultivating! 🍄🌽

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