Here are the easiest ways of drying mushrooms at home.
If you have a lot of fresh mushrooms that you can’t use at once, they don’t have to go to waste. Drying mushrooms will allow you to store them for future use as well as enhance their flavor. Dried mushrooms can be kept for a year or even longer, depending on how they are stored.
Here are some of the ways you can dry mushrooms. Before you start, you can clean the mushrooms by just wiping off any dirt with a cloth or paper towel. If you want to, you can also give them a quick rinse under running water, scrubbing them with a brush.
However, you should make sure the mushrooms are no longer wet before starting the drying process. You can dry them by slicing the wet mushrooms and placing them on a clean dishtowel. Roll up the towel and squeeze the mushrooms gently to remove moisture.
How to Dry Mushrooms at Home
Drying mushrooms in an oven
This is one of the simplest ways to dry mushrooms at home since everyone has an oven. The process will take several hours, so you should schedule it for a time when you are not using the oven to cook.
- Slice the mushrooms into 1/8th-inch or 1/4th-inch pieces. Make the slices as thin as possible since thicker slices will take longer to dry.
- Pre-heat the oven to 150-degrees F or 65-degrees C.
- Place the mushroom slices on a baking sheet, but not too close together that they are crowded. Make sure none of them overlap. If there are too many, dry them in batches.
- Heat in the oven for an hour.
- Take out the mushrooms and turn them over. If there is any moisture that has leaked out of them, blot it with a paper towel.
- Heat the mushroom slices for another hour.
- Take them out of the oven and let them cool. The mushrooms should be thoroughly dried and feel leathery. They should also snap slightly when broken.
If the mushroom slices bend or still feel moist, turn them over again and heat for another thirty minutes. Repeat until the mushrooms are thoroughly dry.
This method will work if you live in an area where there is a lot of sunshine but is not humid. Of course, it will also take a long time, but the extended drying process will help preserve the flavor of the mushrooms.
- Choose a site to dry the mushrooms. It should be a place that gets a lot of sun, such as a flat rooftop or a backyard, and has no birds. You can also dry them in a room that gets a lot of sunlight.
- Slice the mushrooms into thin slices.
- Arrange them on a drying tray. To keep insects away, cover the tray with some mesh fabric or a ‘net tent’ that you can buy from stores that sell kitchen supplies.
- Place them in the selected area when the sun is starting to get hot (around ten o’clock). Leave them to dry.
- If they are not yet dry at the end of the day, cover them to protect them from morning dew.
- Repeat the following day until the mushrooms are thoroughly dry.
- If you have a box fan that you can spare you can make the process a little quicker. Just place the fan in such a way that it blows on the mushrooms in order to wick away moisture.
It is possible that you will not be able to get the mushrooms completely crispy dry using this method. If they still feel moist after two days, you will have to finish the drying process off by using an oven or a food dehydrator if you have one.
If you are finishing off the drying process with an oven, you should check them frequently to avoid their becoming too dry.
Drying mushrooms in a food dehydrator
If you already have one of these appliances, or a willingness to invest in one, this is the most convenient way to dry mushrooms. Aside from drying mushrooms, you can also use a dehydrator to create healthy snacks from vegetables.
- Prepare the mushrooms by slicing them into thin pieces.
- Arrange them on the dehydrator trays without making them too close together.
- Let them dry at a lower setting (this can be 150-degrees C or 135-degrees). The owner’s manual may also have recommendations as to the right temperature for drying.
- Let them dry for 4 to 6 hours, or the period specified in the manual. However, you should check them every few hours to see if they’re done.
Drying mushrooms using a microwave oven
This method is more time-consuming and requires more effort since you will have to supervise the process.
- Slice the mushrooms into thin slices.
- Arrange them on a flat tray or microwave-safe dish. Make sure they don’t overlap.
- Set your oven to 120 watts or 150 watts.
- Heat the mushrooms for twenty minutes.
- Remove the tray and check to see if the mushrooms are dry. If there is any moisture, dry with a paper towel or clean washcloth.
If the mushrooms are not yet dry, heat for another twenty minutes. Repeat until the mushrooms have achieved the necessary dryness.
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How to Store Dried Mushrooms
Whichever method you use, once you’re finished you should store the dried mushrooms in a sealable airtight container. Then keep them in a cool and dry place that is not exposed to direct sunlight, such as the back of your storage pantry.
To ensure that no moisture gets into the container, you should also include moisture-absorbing pouches that are food safe. Also, add a label with the date you dried the mushroom, so you can gauge if the mushrooms are still good.
If you need to keep the mushrooms for a long time, the best way is to freeze them. After drying mushrooms, place them in a lockable bag that seals tightly or a glass jar with tight-fitting lid. This will allow you to keep them from six months to a year.