Mushrooms are probably one of the best foods for drying. Mushrooms retain or even boost their flavours after being dehydrated and rehydrate in such a way that you can’t even tell they aren’t fresh mushrooms.
Preparing Mushrooms To Dehydrate
Mushrooms dry really well. Their texture and porousness mean that they dry a lot quicker than other vegetables.
To prepare them or dehydrating they need to be cleaned. The best way to clean mushrooms is with a soft brush.
Rather than using water that will make drying times longer as the mushrooms suck up moisture using a dry soft brush will remove any debris and growing medium that may left be on the surface of the mushroom.
Sort through all the mushrooms you want to dry. Remove any damaged or bad pieces.
How Thick To Slice Mushrooms
Mushrooms will shrink quite significantly when dried. Depending on the variety and texture of the mushrooms you are drying they can shrink to around half the original size.
I tend to slice mushrooms around 5 – 6mm (1/4 Inch) thick.
That being said, varieties of mushroom such as button mushrooms are quite small and can be simply cut in half.
Larger mushrooms like oyster mushrooms can be sliced to achieve a 1/4 inch thickness.
Of course, there is no reason you cannot dry mushroom whole if they are small or medium in size. You need to keep in mind that the thicker the pieces of mushroom the longer they will take to fully dehydrate.
Dehydrating Mushrooms In A Dehydrator
Using a purpose-built dehydrator to dry mushrooms couldn’t be simpler or easier. Using even a very basic entry-level dehydrator is really efficient and gets great results.
Dehydrating mushrooms in a dehydrator is simply a case of taking the slices of mushrooms and arranging them evenly over the racks or trays of the dehydrator.
Make sure the slices are spaced slightly apart in one layer to allow airflow and not overlapping.
Set the dehydrator to a low or medium setting and allow to run for around 2 to 3 hours before checking progress.
1/4 inch mushroom slices will tend to take between 3 to 6 hours in a dehydrator.
Dehydrating Mushrooms In The Oven
To dehydrate mushrooms in the oven you will need some kind of screen or racks to lay the mushroom pieces on.
A cake cooling rack can make a good stand in if you don’t have anything more suitable.
Arrange the mushroom pieces across multiple racks in one even layer with space between the mushrooms to allow plenty of airflow.
Set the oven to the lowest temperature and if it has a fan make sure it is running.
Drying is about airflow just as much as temperature so if there is no fan in the oven keep the door cracked to allow air to circulate around the oven.
Ovens tend to run hotter than dehydrators but airflow is much less directed so drying will take anywhere between 2 hours up to 8 hours.
The drying will be less consistent in an oven so rearrange the racks and mushrooms every so often to help even out the drying.
How Long Do Mushrooms Take To Dehydrate
Mushrooms tend to dry quite well because if their porous texture. Although, giving estimates on drying mushrooms is difficult because different varieties of mushrooms have different textures and water content.
A rough estimate for regular white, button mushrooms, sliced into pieces around 1/4 inch thick will be the following:
- Dehydrator: 3 – 6 hours
- Oven: 2 1/2 – 8 hours
How To Test Mushrooms Are Done
To check the dryness of your mushrooms during the dehydrating process you need to use your senses.
The mushrooms will look significantly smaller and perhaps shrivelled in places.
Fully-dehydrated mushrooms are very light and their texture ranges from crisp to leathery.
You may also find some varieties of mushroom curl up when dried.
How To Use Dried Mushrooms
They are perfect for adding into stocks, stews, risotto and sauces. Any dish where there is plenty of liquid for them to reabsorb.
If you want to rehydrate them on their own then immerse the mushrooms in a small amount of boiled water. The mushrooms will rehydrate in just a few minutes and the water can also be used to flavour dishes as it has a really savoury and umami quality.
How Long Do Dried Mushrooms Last
Storing dried mushrooms properly is the key to giving them a long shelf life.
Once dried they need to be kept in an airtight container in a cool dark place. Any moisture or humidity will quickly be reabsorbed by the mushrooms.
In an airtight container or securely sealed ziplock bag mushrooms can last 6 months to a year.