We use a lot of mushrooms in our cooking at home, but don’t go to the grocery store often enough to keep them in stock on our shelf with their short shelf life. So when a local store has mushrooms on sale for $1.20/lb, we jump on it and try to buy enough to last us for months (we always run out before the next cycle..so keep increasing our buy each time). So to add to our dehydrating ‘encyclopedia’, let’s dehydrate some mushrooms!!
Why do you want mushrooms? Because they’re good for you, obviously! They contain Vitamin B, a great source of minerals and beta-glucans (click the link above if you want to know more).
But first, let’s touch on the controversy on cleaning a mushroom. Didn’t you know that there was a controversy? There is a HUGE one. Dry Brushing vs. Rinsing. Yes, HUGE. There have been knock-down, drag-out fights over whether to dry brush or rinse your mushrooms.
Wash or Brush?
The truth is, you can do either. Really. Feel free to do either one. Dry brushing is fine. Rinsing is fine. In fact, rinsing is so okay that I do it all the time. I just prefer it because it takes a little less time to process all those mushrooms under water. Studies have shown that mushrooms really don’t absorb much of their weight in liquid at all. Alton Brown proved it in his Fungal Gourmet episode of Good Eats (unfortunately, the video is no longer available to watch). His findings were that what little moisture is absorbed by the mushroom in the rinsing process is offset by the little time it takes. He rinsed a batch and weighed them as well as doing it with dry brushed mushrooms and found a negligible difference between the two. So pick whichever method works best for you.
Either way, make sure you clean all of your mushrooms thoroughly before using them. The medium they grow in is not toxic in any way, but you don’t want the grit in your food.
How to Dehydrate Mushrooms
1. Rinse or Brush clean. If rinsing, be sure to pat dry with a towel to remove as much moisture from the surface as you can – just takes less drying time in the end.
2. Slice thinly. We tend to make 1/4″ slices. The slice size doesn’t matter as long as you are consistent in your slices. You don’t want different sizes because the drying time takes longer.
TIP: If you’re doing a ton of mushrooms, use a good, heavy-duty egg slicer to help slice your mushrooms.
3. Place them in your dehydrator racks in a single layer, not touching much. Mushrooms shrink up a lot, so I don’t worry about them touching, but I do not let them stack.
4. I tend to dry mine at around 100F with my dehydrator for a longer period (doing it overnight seems to work just fine). You can do it at a higher temperature and get a shorter drying time. You want mushrooms that aren’t brittle, but that aren’t spongy either.
5. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. We store ours in canning jars where we’ve used the canning jar attachment on our sealing vacuum and seal the jars with a silicon gel pack on the inside. This helps absorb any humidity still in the jar for longer storing time. We also have a jar we keep in the cabinet for ready-use. We just keep that in a jar that has a clamp lid with a rubber gasket. You can also just place in a mason jar with an oxygen absorber without the vacuum sealing as long as it is a jar you don’t intend to get into constantly. For our immediate use, we just keep them in a mylar bag that has a zip top.
You can store these mushrooms for years as long as they are stored properly, but we’ve never been able to test that out – they don’t last that long at our house. And it doesn’t matter if you use an inexpensive dehydrator or one of the top of the line dehydrators. I’ve used both and both work equally well! If you don’t have a dehydrator, give these oven directions a try.
How to Dehydrate Mushrooms in the Oven
1. Thinly slice cleaned mushrooms (in this case, I would say dry brush as oven drying works a bit differently and you want to get them out of that heat as quickly as possible.
2. Place on a cookie sheet, single layer, not touching
3. Dry for about an hour at 150F.
4. Pull them out, flip them over, absorb any excess liquid that has formed with a paper towel, and place back in the oven for about an hour.
5. Allow them to cool on the counter before storing. I dump them onto tea towels on the counter to help them cool more quickly.
6. Store in airtight containers in a cool, dark place.
Once dry, mushrooms have a really dense flavor, so you don’t have to use as many. You can choose to rehydrate them by placing them in a shallow dish with boiling water or stock. If they are going into a sauce, stew, or soup, I tend to just toss the dried ones in. If they are going to be put into a meatloaf or stroganoff, I rehydrate them first.
If you really love the mushroom flavor but don’t like the texture, go through the same dehydration process, then take it one step further:
If you’re not yet ready to jump on the dehydrating bandwagon (you should, it’s SO easy!), you can also freeze your mushrooms for storage!
YOUR THOUGHTS: If you have any questions – please be sure to ask in the comments section!
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Emily as an MFA in creative writing and a strong passion for cooking! She started trying out her mother’s recipes from a very young age, turning the time she spent in the kitchen into a career. She will soon publish her very first cookbook, and in her free time, Emily contributes to our blog with resources for all our readers, whether beginners or advanced chefs.
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