The best way to preserve your mushrooms and make them always available would be through drying. By drying mushrooms, you prolong their shelf life and make them more versatile in their culinary use.
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However, you might ask, “How can I dehydrate mushrooms?”
That’s what we are going to discuss today. Aside from that, you will also learn why you should dehydrate mushrooms, what tools you can use to effectively dry mushrooms, and some tips you should remember when drying them.
Why dehydrate mushrooms?
Dehydrating mushrooms comes with various benefits. Here are some of them:
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The number one reason people dehydrate mushrooms is to preserve them. Dried mushrooms last longer than fresh mushrooms. Under the right condition, dehydrated mushrooms can last up to 12 months.
So, if you have a lot of mushrooms, you choose to dry them instead of letting them go to waste.
When compared to an ounce for ounce, dried food is more nutritious than fresh food. The same is true with mushrooms.
Mushrooms are made up of about 90% water. When you dry them, you get rid of all of this water, leaving a concentrated mixture of vitamins, protein, fiber, and antioxidants.
Dried mushrooms are special delicacies and infuse that umami flavor to food. Because of their unique earthy, spongy, and nutty taste, dehydrated mushrooms have become a great addition to different recipes. Not only that but mushrooms are meaty in texture, making them a good meat substitute.
How to dehydrate mushrooms?
Now, let’s go to our main topic.
There are different ways to dehydrate mushrooms and remove their water content.
These are the following:
- Sun drying
- Air drying
- Sun plus air drying
- Food dehydrator
- Air fryer
Now, let’s discuss them, one by one.
If you live in a tropical country or a sunny place, then you can easily dry your mushrooms under the sun.
How to dehydrate mushrooms under the sun
Drying mushrooms using the sun is pretty straightforward. Here are the basic steps:
- Clean the mushroom
Please don’t use too much water. It can cause mold or fungi to grow. Use a dry towel or brush instead. If you use water, do a quick rinse and dry thoroughly.
- Slice your mushroom thinly
½ inch (1.25) thick should be thin enough for the mushrooms to dry quicker.
- Place the mushrooms on a drying tray
While you can use any tray, you might want to use the one made of screen or mesh. This ensures that airflow both above and below mushrooms.
- Protect the mushrooms
To better protect your mushrooms from insects, cover them with a net tent.
- Position the tray under the sun
A good drying place could be rooftops, windowsills, and sunny rooms.
- Wait for the mushrooms to dry
Depending on the weather, sun-drying mushrooms can take between 6-10 days.
Things to remember
When drying with the sun, be sure to check the weather forecast. Since drying could take several days, you must check whether it will be sunny for the next few days.
Moreover, check the humidity level. Ideally, you want to sun dry your mushrooms when there’s very low humidity.
Too much humidity can slow down the drying process plus it adds moisture to your mushrooms, increasing the chances for mold to grow on it.
Pick a good location for drying. Aside from the amount of sunlight, you must be sure that the mushrooms are safe from bugs, birds, animals, and water.
Air drying is another easy and inexpensive method of drying mushrooms. As long as you have enough airflow, this should work.
How to dehydrate mushrooms through the air?
The preparation and process are the same. However, it would be a good idea to use a cooking string instead of a drying rack.
Get your cooking string and attach one end to a sterilized needle. Lace the cooking string through the mushrooms as if you’re making a necklace.
From there, you can then find a place where you can hang your mushrooms. Of course, you can still use drying racks and place them in a shaded but dry area.
Sun plus air drying
Sun-drying can be faster if you combine it with air drying. This simply means that you’re going to place your mushrooms under the sun while ensuring it gets the maximum flow of air. With this, you might as well reduce drying time by about 20-30%.
If in case after a few days and your mushrooms are not yet fully dry, consider using other methods mentioned below.
While it is nice to use the natural power of the sun and air to dry your mushrooms, they might not be enough if time is of the essence.
This is where modern technology comes in.
Among the best appliances you can use is the food dehydrator.
What is a food dehydrator?
A food dehydrator is a great machine to dry your mushrooms. Depending on what model you use, it can have multiple small fans or one big fan that distributes hot air throughout the food placed in it.
If you’re looking for an impressive food dehydrator to consider, then you should give COSORI dehydrator a try. It’s the perfect food dehydrator that will quickly and effectively dry your mushrooms.
Here are some important features you’ll love about the COSORI premium dehydrator:
- Made with stainless steel
- ETL listed
- 600 watts
- Compact design
- Easy to set and use
- Quiet and safe to use
The specialized fan of this food dehydrator is installed at the rear. This ensures even air circulation. There’s no need for you to rotate or flip over your mushrooms.
You can set the temperature from 95-165 degrees Celsius. The timer can be set up for 48 hours, which is more than enough to dry mushrooms.
Of course, this food dehydrator is versatile. You can use it not just for mushrooms, but also beef, meat, snacks, dog treats, bread crumbs, herbs, flowers, and others.
How to dehydrate mushrooms with a food dehydrator?
Among the methods discussed in this post, using a food dehydrator is considered to give the best results when drying mushrooms.
Here are some basic steps on how you can dry mushrooms:
- Clean the mushrooms. Get rid of visible dirt.
- Slice mushrooms.
- Arrange mushrooms on the dehydrator tray. Don’t let them touch each other. This will ensure that your mushrooms will dry evenly and much faster. If you let them overlap or touch each other, some parts of the mushrooms may still retain moisture.
- Put the tray inside the food dehydrator.
- Set the temperature to 110 degrees Celsius.
- Wait up to 4-6 hours. Thicker mushroom slices may take up to 8 hours.
- Check the mushrooms if they are crispy dry already.
- Completely dry and dehydrate the mushrooms and then let them cool for a while.
- Store in an airtight container.
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Air fryer drying
An air fryer is another great innovation that allows you to dry mushrooms in the quickest time possible. The steps of dehydrating mushrooms using an air fryer are almost the same as the food dehydrator.
How to dehydrate mushrooms using an air fryer
An air fryer comes with two chambers. The lower chamber is where you put your mushrooms. The upper chamber is the part where heat is produced and then a fan would push the hot air down to the lower chamber.
Understandably, air fryers are smaller compared to food dehydrators. So, it’s a good choice if you only have a few mushrooms to dry.
Thankfully, there are 2 in 1 air fryers that can also serve as a dehydrator. One good example is the COSORI air fryer. It is specially designed to help dry food and that includes mushrooms.
Some important features to note are the following:
- Efficiently work with Alexa
- Comes with the VeSync app that allows you to cook food according to various recipes
- Versatile in use — from mushrooms to french fries, from herbs to meat, this air fryer can do it all
- Safe, easy, and healthy to use
- 12 cooking functions to choose from
The COSORI air fryer is no doubt a great choice. Because of its extra-large capacity, it becomes a great option if you have more mushrooms to dry.
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Your oven is a work of innovation. It can do a lot of things. It will not just cook or bake food for you, but it can also dehydrate mushrooms.
How to dehydrate mushrooms with an oven
The steps and principles of drying are almost the same. Here are the steps to follow:
You need to clean them with a brush, tissue paper, or a little bit of water. Slice them thinly. Line your oven tray with baking sheets and spread your mushrooms on them.
Preheat your oven to 150 degrees Celsius. After five minutes, you can then put mushrooms in the oven. Keep the same temperature setting.
Cook for an hour. Flip over the mushroom and then cook for another hour.
After two hours of cooking, the mushrooms should already be dry. If not, you can cook for more minutes.
Once you’re done, you can cool down the mushrooms and store them accordingly.
Tips to remember
As you can see, dehydrating mushrooms is easy with the right knowledge and tools. To ensure that you will be successful in drying mushrooms, you may want to take note of the following:
Choose the right mushrooms
When dehydrating mushrooms, it is a must that you only select the ones that are still in good condition. Don’t dehydrate mushrooms that have already started to decompose.
For example, don’t select mushrooms that are slimy and wrinkly and those that have already shriveled up. Mushrooms that emit a bad odor or have already become darker are also not a good choice.
The ideal storage condition of dried mushrooms should be cool, dark, and dry. You need to store dried mushrooms as well in an airtight container. When stored correctly, your dry mushrooms can last up to six to twelve months.
Warmer and bright locations such as in an open kitchen or cupboard could shorten your mushrooms’ shelf life.
Good practice in storing mushrooms is to label your container. Indicate what type of mushrooms you have used and the date you dried them.
According to some people, you should not use water in cleaning your mushrooms if you intend to store them for a while. The truth is that you can still use water.
Mushrooms don’t soak up lots of water. However, if you’re going to prepare mushrooms for drying, only do a quick rinsing and dry them thoroughly.
Since mushrooms have different shapes and sizes, there are those mushrooms that are more difficult to clean because they come with lots of nooks and crannies. Good examples include maitake and oyster mushrooms.
If the mushroom of your choice is difficult to clean, it is okay to slice them first before cleaning. This allows you to clean hard-to-reach mushroom areas.
The optimum thickness for sliced mushrooms would be ¼ to ½ inches. Remember, thicker mushrooms take longer to dehydrated.
Of course, your choice of cut would also depend on your preference. If you like thicker slices of mushrooms, then that is still acceptable. Just remember how the thickness of the mushroom would affect the length of the dehydration process.
Yes, you can buy ready-made dried mushrooms and even mushroom powder, but wouldn’t it be nice to know how to do it yourself as well? You never know when the knowledge of drying mushrooms would be handy.
Dehydrating mushrooms is a great way of preserving and improving their taste. You can rehydrate the mushrooms by soaking them for 20 to 30 minutes. Rehydrated mushrooms can sometimes even be more delicious than fresh mushrooms.
Whether you are preparing soup or sauce, dried mushroom slices should be your best choice. Now that you know how to prepare dried mushrooms, you have a whole lot of new recipes to try!