Dried mushrooms work well in lots of recipes, from soups to stews, and much more. Making your own is a great way to keep this versatile fungus in stock without having to buy fresh mushrooms and then end up wasting them each week.
Making them yourself is an easy, affordable way to save common and exotic mushrooms for later use. While some species dry better than others, there are quite a few different ways to go about drying these wonderful fungi. If you grow your own mushrooms this is a handy way to make them last.
What Types are Best for Drying Mushrooms?
When drying mushrooms, it can be challenging to know which types of shrooms will work well and which ones won’t. When making your own, keep in mind that chanterelle, lobster, and truffles do not dry or rehydrate well. On the other hand button, cremini, portobello, Morel, Black Trumpet, porcini, shiitake, and Wood Ear all work well.
Regardless of the species you use, preparing them is quite easy.
If you pick your own wild mushrooms (which is not recommended and can be quite dangerous), you’ll want to soak them in saltwater to release and kill any live bugs that may have come home with you.
If you’re using store-bought varieties, clean the mushrooms by brushing away any dirt or soil. If you need to use water to clean them, make sure you do so sparingly, otherwise, the mushrooms tend to absorb it.
After cleaning, they can be sliced or left whole. If using a food dehydrator to make them, slice mushrooms into uniform-width slices. Hand-held food slicers work well for this.
Methods for Drying Mushrooms
When it comes to drying foods, dehydrated mushrooms are one of the easiest. Whether you choose to use a food dehydrator, a solar dehydrator, or a nice, warm radiator, it is easy and relatively foolproof.
To use a food dehydrator, slice and arrange mushrooms in single layers on each food dehydrator tray. Dehydrate for 4-6 hours at 140 degrees until they are fully dried. Occasionally switching trays can help speed up drying time.
Because they dry so easily, there are a number of ways to make them without using any energy at all. Sun-drying using solar dehydrators, nets, and strings is an environmentally-friendly and energy-free way to save your mushrooms.
To use a solar dehydrator, just place full mushrooms or mushroom slices in single layers on trays. Depending on the climate, temperature, and whether drying whole or slices, the drying time could be between 1 and 3 days.
For the net bag drying process, place clean, dry mushrooms in a net bag and hang them in a dry spot. (This can be a wardrobe, cupboard, window, or any other suitable space.) When using a net bag, it’s important to move mushrooms around daily. This increases air circulation and prevents spoiling. Drying time is usually 2-3 days.
To make dried mushroom strings, use sturdy string or fishing line and a needle to link them together. Hang completed strings in a dry area with good air circulation. Be sure to leave a bit of room between each mushroom. This method works well for some types of mushrooms that don’t dry well in dehydrators, like morels. It usually takes around 2-3 days for them to be completely dried.
Using a radiator
To use a radiator to dry mushrooms, just place them in single layers on baking sheets or a pizza pan, then place the pan on a radiator. Occasionally move the mushrooms around to reduce drying time and increase air circulation. Depending on radiator heat and general humidity, drying time can take anywhere between 10 hours to 2 days.
After drying, mushrooms can be left whole, in slices, or even powdered. They should be stored in an airtight container. To make mushroom powder, use a longer drying time and process in an electric chopper or food processor. Remember that mushroom powder concentrates and intensifies the flavour, so a little goes a long way!
Ways to Use Dried Mushrooms
They are an easy to use kitchen staple that can be kept for years. Ways to use them include:
- Mushroom soups and stews
- Pasta dishes
- Mushroom Stroganoff
- Curries like chicken and mushroom curry
To reconstitute dried mushrooms, soak them in warm water for 30 minutes. If you’re using them in a liquid, such as soup or stew, they don’t need to be reconstituted at all.
Why dry mushrooms?
If you have too many mushrooms to use then drying them is a perfect way to save money and still get all the nutrients of the mushrooms. It reduces waste too as you’re not throwing them away if they haven’t been eaten.
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