Dehydrated mushrooms are a great way to add flavor and nutrition to your food. Whether you are a forager and take your time to collect your own safe mushrooms for recipes, or you grow your own mushrooms, or even if you purchase from the store or a local fungus grower.
They can be used in soups, stews, sauces, powdered for drinks and other dishes. Dehydrated mushrooms can also be rehydrated anytime to be used used in cooking.
What is really nice about storing dehydrated mushrooms, is that once they have dehydrated they can pack easily into an airtight container, and they are very light in weight, meaning you can dry out many containers and stack them or leave them on a shelf without having to worry about how heavy they are.
Mushrooms are a fabulous food to dry out for future use, and we are going to share how to air dry mushrooms, how to dry mushrooms in the oven and how to dehydrate mushrooms using a dehydrator.
How To Dehydrate Mushrooms
If you are just getting into the art of drying food, you are going to be really excited about drying mushrooms. You can pick or purchase fresh mushrooms that are at their peak of freshness and dry and store them for use anytime.
It is easy to dry mushrooms and you can use them in so many dishes to add flavor to or use as a base in your favorite dishes.
Why Dehydrate Mushrooms
There are many reasons why you will want to try dehydrating mushrooms, and these include:
- Dehydrating foods can help you preserve them for longer periods of time
- Dehydrating foods can also help you reduce their weight and volume, making them easier to store and transport
- Dehydrating foods can also concentrate their flavors, making them more intense
- You can preserve your mushrooms for use over the winter when they are either not available in the bush or are very expensive at the store
- Dehydrating mushrooms also allows you to make mushroom powder which has many uses and benefits
- Mushrooms are a great source of umami flavor. When dried, they become even more concentrated, making them a great way to add flavor to dishes.
- Dried mushrooms can also be rehydrated and used in cooking. This can be a great way to add mushrooms to dishes without having to prepare them fresh.
What Types Of Mushrooms Can Be Dehydrated
You can really dry out any kind of mushroom, but there are types that do best in terms of maintaining flavor and shape once completely dry. These include:
- Cremini mushrooms
- Portobello mushrooms
- Oyster mushrooms
- White mushrooms
- Shaggy Manes
Please only use mushrooms that you know are safe to eat. If you are picking your own fresh mushrooms to dehydrate, you are doing so at your own risk.
3 Ways To Dehydrate Mushrooms
There are three ways to dry fresh mushrooms:
- In a dehydrator (our preferred method)
- In the oven
- You can air dry them
My personal favorite method for drying fruit, herbs, vegetables and mushrooms is with a dehydrator.
I find that a dehydrator is not only easiest to preserve mushrooms, it gives you the most consistent results, plus I love that you can set it and forget it and come back to perfectly dried mushrooms for long term storage.
The Best Dehydrator
One of the best dehydrators is the Excalibur Dehydrator. This is truly a fantastic dryer model with many options in the amount of drying area you get.
With this specific brand you can choose from having:
- 4 dehydrating trays
- 5 dehydrating trays
- 9 dehydrating trays
- 10 dehydrating trays
If you are trying to decide which dehydrator model to buy, we suggest the 9 dehydrator tray Excalibur. You are going to find that 4 is not enough space no matter what you are drying, and for just a bit more money than the 5, you get almost double the area. This will give you the best bang for you buck.
This dehydrator has the heating element located in the back of the unit, so your mushrooms will dry evenly, and the dryness level will be consistent among all the pieces.
A great feature of this food dryer is that the temperature range is low enough to preserve active enzymes in the fruit, mushrooms and vegetables and is also high enough to meet the safety standards for dehydrating meat as well.
The Excalibur is a favorite across many industries and it can handle more mushrooms than other models. So if you are going for preserving your food for a good long shelf life, we highly recommend checking this dehydrator out.
Drying Mushrooms With A Dehydrator
1. Start by preparing your fresh mushrooms. You will want to dry them when they are at their peak of freshness. Discard mushrooms that are looking black or inky, or if they are mushy.
2. Clean the mushrooms. To properly clean mushrooms, wipe them clean with a damp paper towel. Soaking your mushrooms is a good way to clean them if you are using them immediately, like in a frying pan or soup; however, mushrooms are absorptive by nature. They are often called nature's cleaner due to this property.
3. If you are dehydrating your mushroom, a.k.a. removing all of the moisture content, it would be counter-intuitive to first fill it with water. So instead, a damp kitchen towel or cloth is good to wipe your mushroom. You can also use a mushroom brush to clean or peel back the skin to expose the clean underside.
4. Slice your mushrooms in thicker slices to make sure the shape and integrity is maintained through the drying process. Aim for half inch slices of cut mushrooms. Alternatively, if you have small fungi, you can dry whole mushrooms as well.
If you are drying sliced mushrooms though, try to use a sharp knife or an egg slicer to get those really even cuts for a uniform dry.
5. Set your mushroom slices on a dehydrator tray evenly spaced apart. Try to make sure they are not touching anywhere or overlapping on your dehydrator trays, because they may not dry properly on those touch points.
6. Set the temperature to 115 degrees Fahrenheit and dehydrate for 6-8 hours. Check for doneness at around 6 hours by picking up a mushroom slice and seeing if it will break when bent. If it only bends, you will want to continue drying. A mushroom that has absolutely no moisture in it will snap apart and break under stress. This is what you want.
Drying Mushrooms In The Oven
1. Follow steps 1 - 3 above to clean, prepare and slice your mushrooms
2. Preheat oven to 150 Fahrenheit for the oven dehydrating process
3. Lay a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and arrange mushrooms so they are not touching at all
4. Put mushrooms into the oven and bake for 1 hour
5. Flip the mushroom slices and continue to bake for another hour
6. Take them out and let them cool completely
Air Drying Mushrooms
1. Follow steps 1 - 3 above to clean, prepare and slice your fresh mushrooms
2. Lay your mushrooms on a surface that has proper air flow such as a herb drying basket or mat. You will want the mushrooms to uniformly dry properly if you are not adding a heat source.
3. Leave them in a dry area until mushrooms are done.
*Another way to air dry your mushrooms is to string them onto a thread and hang them in a well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight, and let them dry for 1-2 weeks.
What To Do With Dried Mushrooms
Use dried mushrooms and mushroom powder in any savory dish, pasta sauce, or any meal or appetizer where you will want to get a nice, earthy mushroom flavor. Typically if a recipe calls for a certain amount of fresh mushrooms, add about half dried to get the same amount of flavor.
Dried mushrooms tend to have extra flavor since the water is totally evaporated leaving only the dried mushrooms where all of the flavor is located.
This is the same for any dried herb, fruit or vegetable; once the remaining moisture is gone, the flavor that is left is intensified, so don't let the shrunken size of the mushroom pieces fool you!
You can also used your dried mushrooms to make mushroom powder. Many people use mushroom powder in their recipes, as well as in smoothies and coffee recipes. It is easy, especially if you have the right tools
My personal favorite way to use dried mushrooms is in a creamy mushroom soup, but they are great in any cream or vegetable broth based soup.
Most mushrooms work well dried if they are properly dehydrated; however, some larger mushrooms such as porcini may be more difficult to get a uniform dry.
Larger mushrooms may be better enjoyed fresh, otherwise, you can cut them into pieces to properly preserve.
How To Store Dried Mushrooms
You will want to store your dried mushroom slices and dried whole mushrooms in airtight containers such as mason jars, or in vacuum sealed bags for long term storage or a longer shelf life. Once they are in the proper container, you will want to keep them in a dark place such as a cupboard or pantry.
Dehydrated mushrooms can last for several years if kept in a cool, dry airtight container and if they are properly dried and sealed. If you are placing them in glass jars, just make sure the glass jars are cleaned well first and and totally dry. You can even run them through the dishwasher first.
The same storage method goes for mushroom powder. Store in airtight storage containers or mason jars and keep stored in a dark place or at least out of direct light.
Storing dehydrated mushrooms is very rewarding when you look at your shelf and see jars or bags of your hard work.
Long Term Food Storage With A Vacuum Sealer
If you are wanting to store your dried mushrooms for a long time it is absolutely worth getting a countertop vacuum sealer.
From mushrooms to sauce and coffee, to fruit, vegetables, berries and meat, a vacuum sealer will allow your food to keep for a very long time.
The Best Vacuum Sealer
America's Test Kitchen did several tests on many different makes and models of vacuum sealers and they had a clear winner. This was the Nesco Deluxe Vacuum Sealer for food and dried foods.
This vacuum sealer is easy to use, works very well, has an automatic and a manual mode, and both a pulse feature and a gentle feature for delicate foods. It has a nice handle and it only weighs about 6 pounds.
We especially love this one because of the price tag. Long considered a favorite among professionals, the Nesco Deluxe Vacuum Sealer is a top choice for performance and price.
How To Rehydrate Mushrooms
It is easy to rehydrate mushrooms that have been previously dehydrated and stored. Simply take your dried mushroom slices and add them to a bowl of boiling water, and let them sit in the water for about 20 minutes.
You will see the dehydration process reverse right before your eyes in the hot water. They will reabsorb the water and rehydrate to their full size.
Although they won't look the same as when they were fresh or have the same texture, but they will be perfect for any recipe that calls for fresh mushrooms.
You can also rehydrate your mushrooms in room temperature water, although it will take more like a few hours for them to fully absorb your water. For this reason, dehydrated mushrooms are great for backpacking recipes as they are so lightweight and rehydrated mushrooms can be easily used for a recipe.
Dehydrated mushrooms are versatile in their many uses, and it is easy and so rewarding to do.
Here are some other questions people are asking about dehydrating mushrooms:
What is the best way to dehydrate mushrooms?
The best way to dehydrate mushrooms is in a food dehydrator. It is the easiest and fastest way to preserve mushrooms uniformly, especially if you purchase the best dehydrator.
We talk about the best dehydrator for fruit, but the same principle goes for mushrooms. You want a lot of space in your dehydrator trays and you want the heating element to be located at the back of the unit so you don't have to manually rotate the trays.
What are the best mushrooms to dry?
Our favorite mushrooms to dry are any sliced mushrooms (as they dry uniformly) and these include white mushrooms and cremini mushrooms.
If you want to dry your own mushrooms whole, morels are fantastic like this, but since they will vary in size, you will have to just take the smaller ones off when they are ready first and let the larger mushrooms continue drying.
Portobello mushrooms also dry really well so long as you slice them with a sharp knife or egg slicer.
Will fresh mushrooms be the same size as my dehydrated mushrooms?
Because mushrooms are 80-90% water, mushrooms shrink when the moisture content is removed and they are completely dry. This is why you get such a powerful umami flavor in dehydrated mushrooms; since the water content is gone, you are only left with the dry mushrooms and that is where all the flavor is.
Are dried mushrooms good for health?
Mushrooms are a good source of vitamins B2, B5, B3, folate, phosphorous, vitamin D, selenium, copper and potassium. They will especially be a good source of vitamin D if picked wild as they will have had the chance to absorb sunlight, whereas farmed mushrooms are typically grown in cool, dark places, or with the use of ultraviolet light.
Can you dry mushrooms in a paper bag?
Mushrooms will naturally dry out anywhere, so yes, they can dry out in a paper bag. However, this is not the ideal way to dehydrate mushrooms as they will not have a uniform dryness, and any areas where they are touching one another will not dry out. They will also have a good chance of actually spoiling before drying. So if you want to dry your mushrooms to preserve them, I recommend reading about the three ways to dehydrate mushrooms properly, above.
How do you know when mushrooms are done dehydrating?
Mushrooms will be finished dehydrating once the proper amount of time has passed for your dehydration method (dehydrator, oven or air drying) and they are so dry that they snap or break when bent, rather than simply bending.
I hope you learned so much about drying mushrooms and preserving delicious food today!
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