How To Dry Mushrooms: The Comprehensive Guide
by Susan Grey on January 29, 2019
You have too many mushrooms, you can’t eat them all, but don’t want to waste any. We’ve all been there. Learning how to dry or dehydrate mushrooms is an enjoyable and fun way to preserve your mushroom oversupply.
There are many methods that can be used for effective drying of mushrooms. Each have their pros and cons, depending on your equipment at home and the amount of time you would like to spend drying them.
Dried mushrooms, if done correctly, can last for years into the future. Just remove from your jar, add water and wait for them to fully rehydrate. Now you have your favourite mushrooms all year round!
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History Of Drying Mushrooms
Often, at your local Asian supermarket, you’ll spot these large plastic bags full of dried mushrooms. In East Asia drying mushrooms has been a preservation technique for hundreds of years. Also in Eastern Europe too this is a popular seasonal pastime, going out foraging then preserving your mushrooms.
Traditionally after the harvest you will see all sort of produce lying out in the sun or hung above the fire slowly drying out. Often sighted produce, includes oranges, peppers, spices, herbs and mushrooms.
Because most produce grows seasonally, in order to preserve their harvest farmers would dry their produce in order to preserve it. Allowing for them to consume seasonal food all year round.
Overview Of Mushroom Drying Methods
Using A Dehydrator To Dry Mushrooms
Probably the easiest of them all. After preparing your mushrooms you then place them inside your dehydrator. After roughly 6-8 hours your dried mushrooms are ready for storage.
Machines can be expensive, so until you regularly enjoy dehydrating food we wouldn’t recommend the investment yet.
Drying Mushrooms Outdoors
Outdoor drying of mushrooms is simple - place your mushrooms outside when it’s sunny, cover them from flies and then when dry bring inside.
This method will only work if the sun is shining and you live in a low humidity environment. If it’s cold, no sun or high humidity you risk your mushrooms going mouldy. Bear this in mind when picking a method.
Freeze Drying Mushrooms
A slightly obscure and less common method of drying is freezer drying. Developed a long time ago, food that is freezer dried can last over 30 years. In fact a company recently ate 37 year old freeze dried beef, just to prove how long it lasts. Mushrooms that are preserved using this method should last for over 15 years.
With freeze dryers costing north of $1,000 dollars there’s no surprise this method is less common.
Oven Drying Mushrooms
A simple method to produce dried mushrooms. It doesn’t require anything fancy, but it does require you not to burn them! This method will require you to put your mushrooms on a low heat and keep drawing the moisture out until complete.
As your oven is not specifically designed for this, unlike a dehydrator, we would suggest that you set times to make sure you make them crispy without burning.
Microwave Drying Mushrooms
Probably the least common and documented method for drying. A microwave can give you the results you’re looking for, and it simple to do too. Great if you have a small kitchen or no oven in your apartment.
It will be more time consuming than other methods as you will need to be present during the process.
Cleaning And Preparing Your Mushrooms For Drying
If your mushroom have come pre packaged and pre cleaned you can skip the cleaning process.
When cleaning mushrooms before drying, you do not want to get them completely wet. Excess moisture or water on the mushrooms could promote fungus or mould growth when drying. We recommend using just a damp cloth or brush for cleaning.
1. With a damp cloth or brush scrub away all visible dirt
2. If there are any dirt patches that aren’t coming off, wet slightly before brushing again
3. Any dark or unusual growths on your mushrooms remove using a sharp knife
4. Pat until dry with a cloth
How To Know If Your Mushrooms Are Fully Dehydrated?
Mushrooms can be considered fully dehydrated after 90-95% of the water content has been removed, to see what it looks like we have written a few characteristic below:
Your mushrooms should be completely dry to touch
They should be a leathery feel
Still retain a little bend in them when forced
They shouldn't snap to touch (like a potato chip) - too dry!
Methods To Dry Or Dehydrate Mushrooms
Outdoor Mushroom Drying
1. Slice your mushrooms into ½ inch pieces
2. Check the weather! (Note: this method will only work on sunny and dry days)
3. Place your mushrooms on a drying rack with a fly net over the top (thin enough to stop insects too). Make sure that there are no overlapping mushrooms and each has enough room for air circulation.
4. Put your mushrooms in the drying location (Note: locations include window sills, conservatories, glass houses or a rooftop - look for somewhere with lots of sun, and no birds).
5. The process should take 1-2 days, depending on the drying location, check frequently on their progress
6. If your mushrooms aren’t dry after 2 days we would suggest finishing them using another drying method
Dehydrator Machine Drying Mushrooms
1. Slice your clean mushrooms evenly so they will all dry at the same rate
2. Place on your dehydrator tray with no overlapping mushrooms
3. Turn to the correct heat setting (instructions for mushrooms normally printed on the
dehydrator or in the accompanying manual)
4. Leave until crisp - normally taking 6-8 hours to fully dry
5. You can tell when they’re done by hearing them slightly snap when you break them
Oven Drying Mushrooms
1. Slice your clean mushrooms into even slices roughly ½ an inch thick
2. Line your baking pan with some greaseproof paper to prevent them sticking when cooking
3. Put your mushroom on the lined baking tray even spaced out, no overlap or touching together
4. Heat you oven to 150° F or 65° C
5. Place the tray of mushrooms into the oven and leave for 1 hour
6. Remove them after an hour, if any moisture has risen to the surface of the mushrooms pat away using kitchen towel
7. Turn your mushrooms oven then return to the oven for another hour
8. Remove from the oven, check to see if they’re leathery and crispy, if not return to the oven and repeat this process with smaller time intervals (10-20 minutes) until complete
Microwave Drying Your Mushrooms
1. Slice your cleaned mushrooms into ½ inch equal sized pieces
2. Place your mushrooms on a microwave proof tray or flat dish and spread evenly with no overlap
3. Turn your oven to 120 - 150 watts and set the timer at 20 minutes
4. After 20 minutes remove the tray from the microwave, if there is moisture on the tray or mushrooms dry with a cloth
5. Return to the microwave for 20 minute intervals until fully dry
Storage Methods For Dried Mushrooms
Once your mushrooms have finished the drying process the next step is to store them correctly.
There are a few methods to storing your dried mushrooms which include in the fridge or in a cupboard. We usually recommend in a cupboard for the longest shelf life.
Slightly odd to store in the fridge as they’re already dehydrated for preserving. However if you live in a very humid environment, don’t have a shady area to store them or will consume within 6 months - 1 year then this method will work too.
Cupboard Method For Storage
1. Place your dried mushrooms in a tight fitting mason jar or air lock container
2. If you live in a humid environment we would strongly suggest adding food safe moisture absorbing pouches - this should keep your mushrooms drier for longer
3. Add a label with the date that you dried your mushrooms and the type of mushroom inside
4. Place in storage location - to pick the correct location try to find somewhere dark and cool, like the back of a larder
Fridge Method For Storage
1. Place your dried mushrooms into a tight fitting mason jar or air lock container
2. Add a label with the date that you dried your mushrooms and the type of mushroom inside
3. Place in area of your fridge
Preparing Dehydrated Mushrooms For Cooking
Cooking with dried mushrooms is almost identical to using fresh for your ingredient. The only difference to consider is if you need to rehydrate them before cooking. Some recipes such as soups will not require you to rehydrate them before cooking.
Challenges of cooking with dried mushrooms is the “grit” taste that can make the taste of a whole dish taste bad. The more expensive the dried mushroom the less grit they seem to contain. Although rehydrating them correctly remove a lot of that grit texture.
Rehydrating Dried Mushrooms Method
1. Place your mushrooms in a heat resistant bowl
2. Completely cover your mushrooms with boiling water
3. Leave for 30 minutes
4. You will be able to tell if they’re fully hydrated by carefully removing and then taste tasting
5. Once finished hydrating rinse your mushrooms under the tap, this will remove any excess grit from the outside of your mushroom