If you have wondered how to dry mushrooms before, then you know it is a key step in preserving some of your favorite vegetables. Mushrooms are fantastic when fresh, but the reality is that they go bad very quickly after you find or buy them. That is where drying and dehydrating your mushrooms come in handy!
Why would you want to dehydrate mushrooms?
This is a common question among foodies, why would you dehydrate or dry mushrooms if you can use the fresh kind? While fresh mushrooms are always a fantastic choice, sometimes they may not be available.
Whether it is wintertime, you live in an area where they are scarce, or you simply cannot afford to go mushroom hunting, then using dry mushrooms does not sound that bad.
Many people like to have dry mushrooms to add to their meals, as they can be re-hydrated quickly and regain a lot of their flavor and texture. You can also use dry mushrooms as spices by grounding them into a powder.
Here are the 4 things to know about how to dry mushrooms:
Tip #1. You can dry them under the sun
Sounds kind of funny to think you can dry your mushrooms without using any equipment? This method goes back centuries, but that also means it takes the longest. However, if you happen to live in a sunny area, or know you will have good weather, this is a good method to try.
To use this method, start by cleaning your mushrooms thoroughly. You can put them under the water for a bit, then using a paper towel or brush, be sure to clean out any dirt in any ridges or under the caps.
For best results, slice your mushrooms into halves or quarters. Place them on a baking sheet and make sure they are not clumped together. You can then put the baking sheet directly under the sun, whether it is on your balcony, on a terrace, in the backyard, or even on the sidewalk.
Be sure to check the weather forecast, because rain or wind can affect your mushrooms and ruin the drying process. You should be aware that this process could take up to three days or more. Always start this process when you have the time to check on your mushrooms, especially because you will need to move the mushrooms around to ensure even drying.
Tip #2. You can dry them in your oven
Using the oven method is not for everyone either. This process takes time, and some ovens may not set to a temperature low enough.
Before you start, be sure to wash your mushrooms under a bit of water. Allow them to air dry on a paper towel, and then remove any dirt that you can see using another paper towel or a brush.
Your mushrooms should be completely dry before you arrange them in the oven. If they are still somewhat wet, they will steam and not dehydrate, and you do not want that. For better results, clean your mushrooms at night, and leave them drying on the counters overnight.
If you want your mushrooms to dry faster and more evenly, slice your mushrooms into small pieces. You should at least cut them into quarters.
When you are ready to dehydrate them, set your oven’s temperature to 150 degrees F or 65 degrees C. While your oven is warming up, set your clean mushrooms on a baking sheet.
Arrange the mushrooms so they remain close together, but without touching each other. If your mushrooms clump together, they will retain moisture, and the drying will not occur as it should.
Place your baking sheet in the oven and leave them in there for one hour. After the hour, open the oven, move the mushroom slices around ensuring all the sides are dry, and then leave the baking sheet inside for another hour.
After two to two and a half hours, take the baking sheet out, and allow the mushrooms to cool down. Just like many baked goods, during this period, your mushrooms will finish crisping up and drying.
If you are satisfied with how they look, you can finish cooling down your mushrooms and storing them. On the other hand, if the mushrooms do not look dry enough, you can return the baking sheet to the oven for another half an hour. Remember to check in on your mushrooms every 30 minutes or so to avoid burning.
Tip #3. You can dry your mushrooms using a food dehydrator
Using a food dehydrator is probably the easiest way to dry your mushrooms. However, as the name suggests, you will need to find the right dehydrator, which is not always an option if you do not already have one.
As with other methods, the first step is to clean your mushrooms. You can begin by placing them in a strainer and open the water so they are directly under it for a few minutes. Do not do this step for more than five minutes, or they will begin to wrinkle.
After you wash your mushrooms, set them aside on a paper towel. Use a brush or paper towel to remove any debris or dirt. You can then allow your mushrooms to fully dry.
While your mushrooms are drying, you can start setting up your dehydrator. The temperature varies depending on your machine and its instructions, but for the most part, it should be between 110-130 degrees F.
Once your mushrooms are dry, cut them into ¼ inch slices, and set them onto your dehydrator trays. You should keep them close together so they dry faster, but they should not be touching each other.
If you have a dehydrator with various tray spaces, place as many as you need on each one, but try to keep the amounts even so the drying time is even. If this is not possible, do not worry, there will be time for you to check on your mushrooms and pull out a tray earlier than the other if necessary.
Your mushrooms will take about three to four hours to fully dehydrate. It is still a good idea to check halfway or every hour, as some may dry earlier. You can also turn your mushrooms around so they dry evenly.
When the time is up, pull out the tray and check if they are crisp enough. Allow a few minutes before you make a decision. If your mushrooms do not seem dry enough, then you can simply place them in the dehydrator for half an hour more, or as much time as needed.
Tip #4. Store your mushrooms safely
No matter what method you choose when you decide to dry your mushrooms, safely storing them is essential.
Once your mushrooms are dehydrated, allow them to cool down to room temperature. When they are cool, you should place them in a glass jar with a tight lid or a glass container with a sealed lid. While you do this, check that none of them have retained any moisture, as they can cause molding later on.
Store your dry mushrooms in a cool, dry place away from the light. Your mushrooms will last up to 10 days, but you should check on them often.
When you are ready to cook, re-hydrate your mushrooms in water on the stove and add to your cooking. You can also use a food processor to make a mushroom powder that will last longer.
For more great hints and tips for drying mushrooms, check out these articles: