Usually, there are 4 main methods to dry mushrooms at home: Use an oven, a dehydrator, a freezer, or let them air dry. For the best result, always choose fresh products, clean them without water, then cut them into pieces to speed up the drying process.
Dried mushrooms are an excellent ingredient for tons of recipes. Their robust flavor and unique texture make them a great substitute for fresh products.
So, without further delay, let’s clarify how to dry mushrooms at home and essential tips concerning preservation and use.
Best Ways to Dry Mushroom At Home
- Choose fresh mushrooms without mold.
- Properly clean them with a brush or dry paper towel to discard any dirt. Try to avoid them from getting wet since moisture will encourage mold growth.
- Cut them into small pieces based on your preference. Remember that the thinner the cut, the faster the drying process.
Notes: While cleaning, if there are hard-to-remove dirt spots, you can take a damp paper towel to deal with, then use a dry cloth or paper towel to absorb moisture left.
Drying process (4 methods)
- Oven drying
- Preheat the oven to 150ºF (65ºC).
- Spread mushrooms pieces on a baking sheet on a single layer and maintain spaces between individuals.
- Glide the tray into the oven and bake for about 1 hour. Then take it out, turn all the pieces over, and use a dry paper towel to absorb moisture risen on the surfaces.
- Bake again in 1 hour or when you find them entirely dried out.
The finished product should be slightly bent and pretty brittle without any moisture remaining on the surfaces. Otherwise, return them to the oven and bake more.
- Dehydrator drying
- Arrange a proper amount of sliced mushrooms on the dehydrator’s tray, keeping them close but not touching each other to prevent retaining moisture.
- Dry them at 120 – 125ºF. Typically, the process will take 6 to 8 hours for ¼ inch pieces and up to 12 hours for thicker ones.
- Don’t forget to check them every hour. Also, follow the instruction comes with your dehydrator for the best result.
- Air drying
- Place mushrooms side to side on the drying platform in one layer, or hang them along a string. Make sure that the platform allows air to circulate.
- Put them in a dry, well-ventilated place with sunshine and airflow.
- The drying time varies due to the size of the mushrooms, the humidity level, and the sun heat. Typically, it will take some days.
Notes: If the weather seems humid and does not allow them to completely dry, continue with the oven to finish the process.
- Freeze drying
- Pre-freezing mushrooms in a regular freezer, leaving space between individuals. At the same time, set your freeze dryer at -80ºF.
- Once mushrooms are frozen, take them out and relocate them into the tray that fits the freeze dryer.
- Place the tray in the freeze dryer to start the freeze-drying process. It may take from 24 to 48 hours, depending on the size of the pieces.
Notes: This method is more costly than the rest since it requires a freeze dryer that takes you thousands of dollars. Still, since this method uses minimal heat to remove water, it helps retain vitamins sensitive to high temperatures and preserve the maximum nutrition.
How To Store Dried Mushroom?
For the most extended longevity and to avoid growing mold, put them in an airtight container or glass jar and place them in a cool, dark area. Or, put them in a sealed freezer bag and store them in a fridge or freezer.
Notice that moisture and heat will lower their quality. Hence, don’t store them in warm cupboards or any spots that can grow moist.
How To Rehydrate Mushroom?
The quickest and easiest way to rehydrate it is to soak it in room temperature water. This way allows us to retain maximum flavor and ideal texture. Typically, it takes about half an hour to reconstitute.
Some have recommended using warm and even boiled water, but this hot water may cause bitterness and toughness as the mushroom gets thermal shocked.
How Long Can Dried Mushrooms Last?
They can be kept for 6 to 12 months with a proper storage method, especially in the freezer. Some even find them in good condition after 2 to 3 years if stored well.
Are Dried Mushrooms As Healthy As Fresh?
They are as healthy as fresh since they pack more flavor, and almost the nutrition is kept, particularly with the freeze-drying method. Also, the cooking or drying processes will remove a toxic element called hydrazine in raw mushrooms.
Are Dried Mushrooms Cheaper?
They are cheap when considering flavor and convenience aspects.
First, they bring meaty texture and richer flavor to the recipes. Some have admitted that dried versions pack more flavor than fresh ones.
Besides, they are available around the year and can last for years, while fresh ones come in specific periods and easily get damaged.
That’s why we say they are always worth the money.
What Do Bad Mushrooms Look Like?
Fresh mushrooms turn worse when they come with the below signs:
- They’re slimy. It often occurs when they are in the fridge for too long.
- They have bad smells. Once you no longer feel a mushroom scent but a strong and weird odor, they have turned sour.
- They grow bruises and brown spots.
- They are there for two weeks or more.
Typically, if the problems haven’t been serious yet, you can cut off the affected parts and retain the edible ones.
Dried mushrooms mostly go wrong when they grow mold. Other cues are changing the color and texture, such as from firm to mushy, but they do not commonly happen.
Can I Eat Dried Mushrooms Without Cooking?
There is still controversy around eating them without cooking. Some say yes, others say no. Still, since many variants contain toxic elements that we can deactivate during the cooking process, you should better cook and consume them.
Besides, without cooking, they almost go with no flavor and a loose, lifeless texture, as they absorb water while reconstituting.