Learn how to dehydrate mushrooms.
There are food items that you can’t buy in pieces, like mushrooms. Often, they are prepacked, and you have to get them even if you won’t use them all. Making them stay fresh longer while in storage is will be an issue.
How to Dehydrate Mushrooms
Here easy ways of dehydrating mushrooms at home.
Dehydrating mushrooms in the food dehydrator
Wash those mushrooms and make sure that you’ll only store the fresher ones. Fill a bowl with fresh water and put the mushrooms. Do not submerge them for too long because it would take the dehydration process longer. Drain the bowl after washing the mushrooms. This step is best done using a filter because it makes it easier to remove the water.
- With the use of a knife, remove the particles that are still lodged inside the gills of the mushrooms.
- After washing, arrange the washed mushroom on a flat surface, if possible, a clean tray. Fresh mushrooms are 70-90% water, so it would be difficult to dehydrate the fungus as a whole. Slice each mushroom. The thicker the slice, the longer it dries so be sure to make thin slices. Some of them would be smaller than the regular size, you don’t need to slice the smaller ones.
- Using a dehydrator, place the first batch of sliced mushrooms on the first dehydrating rack. Spread them flat on the surface to make sure they would dry up. See to it that the mushrooms are not overlapping because they won’t dry at the same time.
- On the next tray, do the same and stack them to the dehydrator. Both trays should have an equal quantity or even in amount. Both trays will have the same cooking time. If one tray has more mushrooms than the other, the mushrooms would be unevenly dehydrated. Some sliced mushrooms would be crispy, and some would be soggy.
- Switch on the dehydrator and turn it up to 115 °F or lower. It is best to use a lower temperature to avoid burning. The temperature could also depend on the dehydrator you have. Some dehydrators vary in temperature limits.
- Dehydrate the mushroom slices for 3 to 4 hours or until they turn crispy.
- Check on them every hour. Dehydrated mushrooms do not have a significant change in color. You can determine if they are crisp enough if they are hard and not pliable. Pliability pertains to the flexibility of the fungi. Examine this by bending a slice. If the slab does not break, it is still moist.
Moisture could be a cause of molding or even rotting once placed in the storage. This process might take longer than it should, but it is to ensure that all slices are dry.
Dehydrating mushrooms in the oven
Not having a dehydrator is not a problem when you have an oven.
- Wash the mushrooms and slice each thinly.
- Place mushroom slices on a baking pan or sheet and make sure there is no oil included.
- When using an oven, you have to make sure that you turn the mushrooms over every so often, so you don’t’ burn them and they cook evenly. The heat from the oven only dries the exposed part of the mushroom, hence, you need to turn them over until you get the desired crispiness.
This technique is slower and longer, but it still gives off the expected dried fungi.
Dehydrating mushrooms under the Sun
This method takes the most time, and it only works if the weather favors it. And, if you happen not to have the appliances mentioned above.
- In this case, you don’t need thinly sliced mushrooms. You can simply slice them in half. Find an excellent place to lay down the cuts. It could either be the rooftop, beside the window or anywhere where there is direct sunlight.
- Unlike the two previous methods, there are no restrictions on how much mushrooms you’ll put on the tray, just make sure there is enough space n between the slices when you arrange them.
Make sure that all the slices get an equal amount of heat from the sun. This method will not dehydrate the fungi in a day, so this might take about 2 to 3 days.
For storing, place the dried mushrooms in a tightly-sealed glass container. You can also put them in air-tight plastic wares or zip locks.
Place the containers in a cold and dark cabinet. These conditions prevent the shortening of its shelf life.
With dehydration, if done the right way, mushrooms would last up to a year. They serve as a primary ingredient for soups, stew, and sauces. You can also get these dried fungi back to its freshness by submerging it in warm water, allowing it to soften.
Dehydrating mushrooms is not a difficult process. So next time you need to buy some mushrooms, don’t hesitate to buy in packs because now, you can easily dehydrate them and store them for future use.
Image: Martha Stewart