There are dried mushroom benefits for people who eat them, as well as the mushroom farmers and foragers who take the time to dry their bounty
Why eat dried mushrooms? There are a variety of dried mushrooms benefits for both consumers and mushroom growers.
You may already be familiar with dried mushrooms. You can find them in the grocery store or health food markets. Let’s take a look at some dried mushroom benefits.
Dried mushroom benefits for people growing mushrooms
Mushrooms grow in flushes. This often allows for an abundance when a flush takes place. For mushroom growers or foragers who find or grow a large amount, drying the mushrooms allows them to be usable for a longer period of time.
It’s really nice to dry mushrooms when you have a lot of them. The process can be as simple as laying the mushrooms out in the sun to dry, or putting them in a dehydrator overnight at around 115 - 120 degrees Fahrenheit. They are typically finished drying when they become a little crispy, like chips.
This process of drying mushrooms is a form of preservation and it extends the shelf-life of the mushrooms. For instance, if you grow mushrooms during the fall and end up with a big yield, or you find a big flush while foraging during the same time of year, you can dry these mushrooms out to have delicious food to eat all winter long.
Black trumpet mushrooms are a perfect example of this. Their smell while drying is amazingly complex; varying between a rich smoky scent with a pleasant fruity aroma. I will often forage these mushrooms in the summertime and dry them for winter. This way I can dream of warm July nights while eating these dried mushrooms during the cold of winter.
Dried mushroom benefits and your health
There are two more important dried mushroom benefits I want to touch on today.
First, there is the mushroom’s vitamin D content. Mushrooms content a constituent in their cell walls known as ergosterol. This compound, when exposed to sunlight, is transformed into vitamin D. If we are eating dried mushrooms that have been exposed to sunlight during the winter, we can be getting a lot of vitamin D this way.
The mushrooms can be exposed to sunlight at any point to enrich the vitamin D content, including while the mushroom is in the process of drying or after it has already been dried. So either way you do it -- before or after the drying process -- you can still get the added benefits of vitamin D. Even if you buy dried mushrooms at the grocery store, you can put the mushrooms in sunlight for six to eight hours before consuming them and they will experience the heightened levels of vitamin D.
High levels of vitamin D is a great reason to eat more dried mushrooms, especially in the winter when people often spend less time outside in the sunshine.
Second, there is the protein content in dried mushrooms. Shiitake mushrooms have about 10% protein by dried weight. This is similar to many other vegetarian options that are considered higher-protein foods, like beans. Eating a lot of dried mushrooms will help you get more protein into your diet, especially if you do not eat a lot of meat.
How to use dried mushrooms
Dried mushroom benefits include the ability to use them in a variety of ways, and to be able to store them for prolonged periods of time. Fresh mushrooms have a much shorter shelf life than dried mushrooms do, and because of this, they can be used to many of your favorite dishes.
For instance, dried mushrooms like shiitakes are great additions for soups and stews. They will constitute once they are in the liquids and they will help bring a nutty, smokey flavor to the soup or stew. The shiitake is an ultimate option for the umami flavor, which many culinary artists seek for their dishes. Dried mushrooms bring an earthy quality to meals and serve as a fast-flavoring ingredient.
Another great option for adding mushrooms to meals involves reconstituting dried mushrooms and adding them to rice, couscous, or other grain dishes.
Dried mushroom benefits: They taste amazing!
The biggest reason I eat dried mushroom is because they taste so good. For instance, dried shiitakes go great in a miso soup. If you are roasting a chicken, try using dried morel mushrooms at the base where the juices collect. It’s a divine experience.
Want to add more dried mushrooms to your meals? Check out the varieties of dried mushrooms we have in our online store. Our options include delectable dried morel mushrooms, dried shiitakes, dried chaga, and the dried mushroom medley (which contains dried shiitakes, dried oysters, and dried lion’s mane). Try all of these delicious dried mushrooms!