If you like mushrooms, then you know that storage is important, so you need to be aware that storing chicken of the woods can be a deal-breaker. There are many ways to keep your chicken of the woods fresh, sometimes for up to a year.
Harvesting and Cooking Chicken of The Woods
Finding chicken of the woods should not be too hard if you look for them at the right time. For one, this mushroom tends to grow from spring until the end of the fall, and it is usually found at the bottom of dying or dead trees.
This mushroom gets its name because it tastes just like chicken, but the texture is also similar. The chicken of the woods can be a great meat replacement for those that don’t eat meat.
Before you eat this mushroom, be sure to clean it. The part underneath the head is usually where most of the dirt accumulates. If possible, avoid washing them, but use a damp towel instead. To better clean the chicken of the woods, start by taking out any bruises and parts eaten by bugs. Then use your damp cloth and rub any dirt away. Be sure to dry your mushrooms gently with a paper towel.
Here are the 3 tips for properly storing chicken of the woods:
Tip #1: Store your mushrooms in the refrigerator
When you find some chicken of the woods mushrooms, you can plan on keeping them in the refrigerator, as long as you consume them within seven days. To do this, place the chicken of the woods mushrooms in a paper bag, and then place the bag in your fridge. The best place to put your chicken of the woods paper bag is in the vegetable drawer or the door, somewhere where other food won’t spoil it.
In some cases, the mushrooms may last for more than one week, but if you plan on keeping them for longer than that, you should check the status of the mushrooms.
Tip #2: Keep them in your freezer
If you happen to find a lot of chicken of the woods mushrooms when you go harvesting, then you may need to try the freezer method. It is a good idea to cut up the mushrooms before you store them, so they don’t stick together. Start by cutting up the chicken of the woods into small half-inch pieces. Place these pieces in a freezer or Ziploc bag and then freeze them.
You can keep frozen mushrooms for up to a year. All you need to do is check that they are not getting any ice crystals. To eat them, simply take them out and sauté in a skillet. The flavor is still going to be there, so you don’t have to worry about that.
Unlike other mushrooms, the chicken of the woods has a great texture that holds up when frozen, so they don’t require any cooking before you store them in the freezer.
Tip #3: Drying this mushroom is also an option
If you want to use your chicken of the woods in soups, sauces, stews, or as a seasoning, then using a food dehydrator may be the best option. You simply need to start by slicing the mushroom into half or one-inch pieces. Place these pieces on the dehydrator tray so they don’t touch. Allow your dehydrator to work for about 10 hours on the lowest temperature setting, and check on them halfway to make sure they don’t burn.
Once your mushrooms are dry, you can keep them in a Mason jar or Ziploc bag. Store your dry mushrooms in a cool, dry place.
By dehydrating them, you are essentially taking all the moisture out, but leaving the flavor. This is a great preservation method that allows you to keep your mushrooms for as long as a year or more. You can blend your mushrooms into a powder and use that for seasoning.
However, if you want to use your dehydrated mushrooms, you can reconstitute them by putting them in water for about one hour and then straining them out. Afterward, you can use your mushrooms as if they were fresh, cooking them however you like best.
Don’t let your chicken of the woods go bad ever again!
You should be able to keep your new favorite mushrooms safe and edible for as long as you want now. Since these mushrooms are only found in the wild, we know how hard it can be to find them, which means you probably don’t want them to go bad at home.
Try these three easy ways of storing chicken of the woods and you will see that the flavor, texture, and color are all preserved without much trouble. Remember, though, if you harvest a bunch of these and don’t plan on eating them within a week, your best option is to freeze or dehydrate them as soon as possible!
Now that you’ve read these tips about properly storing chicken of the woods, why not check out this article about the 4 Chicken of the woods nutrition facts?