If you’ve purchased dried mushrooms you know they can be seriously expensive. The good news is you can dry mushrooms yourself at very little cost and with only the effort of slicing! My mind was blown when I learned this technique in culinary school and have been doing it ever since.
If you’ve never used dried mushrooms, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. Once you try them, you’ll want to incorporate these little flavor bombs again and again. They offer a deep, rich, umami mushroom flavor to almost any dish where you’d use fresh mushrooms.
Many dried mushrooms in the grocery store are more exotic varieties. Some are dried because that’s the only good way to preserve them and they don’t travel well when fresh. We’re going to put a terrific new spin on
Benefits of Drying Mushrooms at Home
- Big mushroom flavor in a little wrinkly package
- Except for the cost of the mushrooms, they’re free!
- Maximize a good sale on mushrooms
- Make good use of mushrooms in your fridge that might otherwise be thrown away (and we’ve all found the slimy ones we forgot about jangling around the vegetable bin)
- Explore something new in your cooking
How to Dry Mushrooms
You can research many ways to dry mushrooms such as using a dehydrator, drying at a low temperature in the oven, laying in the sun, etc. All of that is not needed for small batch drying. If I were drying more that one pound of fresh mushrooms, I might consider another method. This one is just too easy to bypass.
Very simply, clean your mushrooms and slice them 1/4″ thick, or thereabouts. Here, I’ve used cremini (Baby Bella) mushrooms. This works with any kind of mushroom in any quantity! Have two or three left that will likely meet a slow slimy death? Slice them up and dry them. Collect them over time and use them later.
Lay your sliced mushrooms directly on a sheet tray or plate or whatever is convenient. Cover with a paper towel or unfolded paper napkin to keep the dust off so they still have plenty of air. Set the tray out of the way somewhere for a week or two; I set mine on top of the refrigerator. Anywhere works, just don’t forget about them for too long.
It’s okay if you smell a little fungus funkiness. That won’t last and it’s just the way mushrooms smell. They won’t taste this way, I promise.
When your mushrooms are dry enough, they’ll still be a little flexible but dry throughout. If they are still moist and spongy, give them more time. Store them in a plastic bag in the pantry or in the freezer. I write the date on the bag.
If properly dry, they won’t mold when stored in a plastic bag or container and will last for months and months.
How to Cook with Dried Mushrooms
Dried mushrooms must be rehydrated for most uses. It’s very simple to bring them back to life! The most common way is to cover them in hot water and just let them sit for a few hours. If you want to use them for dinner, simply pour some hot water over them in the morning and let them sit all day. They’ll be just fine at room temperature. They need to rehydrate for at least one hour, but several hours are best.
Rehydrated mushrooms have a dense, meaty texture. In some dishes, like risotto
Be sure to save that soaking liquid! It will be dark brown and look like coffee and is loaded with mushroom flavor. You can use it directly in your dish.
You can also grind your dried mushrooms in a food processor, or better yet, a coffee or spice grinder. That powder will provide a terrific boost to spice rubs and is a great way to add mushroom flavor into dishes for those who hate mushroom texture.
Just a Few of the Many Ways to Cook With Dried Mushrooms
- Add to soups or stews
- Stir Fry with other vegetables
- Add ground mushrooms to spice rubs for roasts and steaks
- Mix into meatloaf
- Make a paste of ground mushrooms and water and add with the eggs to fresh pasta dough
- And those are just a few ideas!
Don’t let your extra mushrooms languish in your fridge any longer. Give them new life today!
How to Dry Mushrooms at Home
- Dry as many mushrooms as you like. As a guide, 12 oz of cremini or button mushrooms yielded approximately 1 oz dried. The volume was approximately 2 cups.
- Clean mushrooms and slice 1/4" thick.
- Spread in single layer directly on a sheet pan. Cover with a paper towel or unfolded paper napkin to keep off any dust.
- Lay sheet pan somewhere out of the way for one to two weeks. The top of the refrigerator might be an option. No worries if you notice a funky smell; that will pass.
- Mushrooms are dry enough when they're still a little bit flexible and slightly spongy. They should be brittle at least in spots. If they're spongy all over or moist, give them more time.
- Store in a labeled plastic bag in your pantry or freezer.