Knowing how to dry mushrooms will allow you to keep your harvests much longer. Check out some recommendations, including a study on the topic
Mushroom hunting and growing are popular pastimes for many people. While you may be able to eat your bounty fresh from the forest floor, there are some instances where it's better to dry mushrooms before storing them. Drying mushrooms will make them last longer and can prevent rotting. If you're interested in how to dry mushrooms, continue reading this article!
Before getting into the methods, it’s worth discussing a research study that was conducted on drying mushrooms. The goal of the study was to find an ideal thickness of the mushrooms being dried, as well as the temperature for doing so. This study is entitled “Optimizing Temperature in Mushroom Drying” and it was conducted in 2008.
Here is the conclusion of the study:
“The slice thickness and air temperature were taken as independent variables. The response variables taken for optimization were drying time (Td), rehydration ratio (RR) and visual colour (VC). The optimum value of drying air temperature and slice thickness were found to be 67 ºC and 11.78 mm respectively at desirability value of 0.654.”
So, 67 ºC is the ideal temperature for drying found in this study. Do you have to abide by that strictly? Of course not, but it is a good piece of information to know. Also, for what it’s worth, 67 ºC is equal to 152.6 ºF.
Before you begin the drying process, make sure to pick the freshest, most mature specimens with even coloration and firm flesh. This will lead you to the highest quality dried mushrooms.
How to dry mushrooms: Why people do it
One of the biggest reasons that many people shy away from drying mushrooms is due to the fact that they shrink up so much when dried. What a lot of these folks don't understand, however, is that this process doesn't only remove water content and adds texture in return but it also makes them more flavorful! And reconstituting the mushrooms in the future will return the mushrooms to their normal size.
Drying your own batch can be done at home by using either an oven or air-drying method for preparing larger quantities. For smaller amounts such as those found within just one grocery bag's worth - which may even include whole caps without any need for chopping beforehand - you'll want to use an electric dehydrator instead.
When choosing between both methods there are some differences to keep in mind: with ovens you'll have less control over how evenly the mushrooms are dried out, whereas dehydrators have a preset temperature and you can control how long they should be in there for.
How to dry mushrooms outdoors in sunlight
Anyone for some sun-dried shiitakes? Sun drying is one way of doing the process without an oven or a dehydrator. Sun drying mushrooms has also shown to increase the amount of vitamin D found in the mushrooms, which is a great reason to use this method.
To do this, put your mushrooms in direct sun for 8-10 hours with the gills facing up towards the sun. The mushrooms should snap when they are fully dried. Once the mushrooms are fully dried you can place them in an airtight container.
How to dry mushrooms in a dehydrator
For quicker results, some people prefer using commercial food dehydrators which have built-in adjustable temperature controls and airflow systems; these units are ideal if you're drying large quantities of mushrooms.
If using an electric dehydrator and you plan on dehydrating the mushrooms overnight, set it to about 120°F (50 °C) and use fresh mushrooms that are about a half-inch in diameter or less. Larger caps will need more time so make sure you monitor them as they dry out - taking care not to let them shrivel up too much at this point which would mean reducing how long they stay in the drying process.
For drying without an oven, you can use a dehydrator.
Preheat your dehydrator
Place mushrooms whole caps with plenty of space between each other as well as your mushroom pieces so that none touch while leaving ample room for air flow
Line the trays with parchment paper or silicone baking mat and arrange the mushrooms into a single layer.
After the drying is over, place in an airtight container away from light and heat until ready to be used.
How to dry mushrooms in an oven
If using an oven rack set at low heat like 150°F (65 °C), it's important not to let any moisture escape from below - this is why pottery dishes work well so that the mushroom caps are sitting high enough off of the bottom surface which would otherwise be exposed to the oven's hot air.
When using an oven, place cleaned whole caps on baking sheets lined with wax paper or parchment paper so that none of them touch each other while leaving enough space between all mushroom pieces for air flow; this will prevent them from sticking together as well. It's recommended to use tongs when handling hot pads because it'll allow an easier movement without having to worry about touching anything else than what needs to be touched!
Preheat oven to 152°F (65 °C)
Place mushrooms whole caps with enough space between each other as well as your mushroom pieces so that none of them touch while leaving plenty of room for air flow
Let the preheated oven cool down before placing mushrooms inside. You should not see any visible moisture on its surface, and the mushrooms should shrink significantly in size.
After cooking is over, remove from heat source and allow to cool naturally before storing away. Store in an air-tight container for the best results in longevity.
Keep your mushroom bounty for longer by drying them properly! Get all of your mushroom growing supplies from us, including spawn and growing kits!