Monday, July 18, 2016

How to Dehydrate Mushrooms





With rain almost every day and temperatures way over 85 F constantly, the mushrooms are exploding out of seemingly every nook and cranny in the woods these days. We're not just talking oysters either, the chanterelles are in full swing! So much so that we harvested almost 20 pounds yesterday in what seemed like a matter of minutes: 

Yesterday's harvest of chanterelles and oysters. 

The day before that we got over 10 pounds, and just this morning Jordan from Rabbit Ridge Farm came home with another 10 pounds of her own. That's 40 pounds just in the last three days!

Ok, scratch that, my beloved just brought home another 15-20 pounds as I was writing this post! Now I'm really drowning in them!

While stuffing our faces with pounds of mushrooms has been great, we simply cannot keep up. Plus, on top of it all we are practically swimming in cucumbers, even though it seems like we've been canning pickles nonstop for days now. So, I needed a great way to preserve a lot of mushrooms without a lot of time or effort. Sure you can freeze or can mushrooms, but that takes up a lot of freezer and root cellar space and takes way too much energy for me right now, plus way too much turning on the stove. That's why throwing them in the dehydrator and forgetting about them is the perfect solution!

To dehydrate mushrooms you will need: 
  • Mushrooms
  • A Food Dehydrator 
It's as simple as that! There's no need to wash your mushrooms, unless they are really, really covered in dirt (this really only happens with wild mushrooms, especially after a heavy rain). Even then, I'd suggest only washing the worst of the worst as it can make them a bit slimy. 

Lay the mushrooms out on one dehydrator tray at a time being sure not to let them touch each other. If you are using thin mushrooms, like oysters or morels, you can leave them whole, but if you have a denser variety, like chanterelles or dryad's saddle, you might want to consider cutting them in half first so they dry completely through. 



You may not be able to fill every tray in you dehydrator as you really don't want to crowd them. We can only use 4-6 of our trays in our 9 tray excalibur dehydrator because our chanterelles are so big. This isn't an issue with oysters as they are flat and fit in the dehydrator much more nicely. 

                                                                 

These thinner mushrooms can be dehydrated at 125 F for 4-5 hours or 145 F for 2-4 hours. 

For thicker ones, I would suggest dehydrating them at 125 F for 6-6 8 hours or 145 F for for 4-6 hours. 

You should check on your mushrooms every hour or so, though, as all your mushrooms will most likely be different sizes and some may dehydrate faster than others. Simply remove any that are done and put them in a dry, sealed mason jar. You do not want to be able to feel any moisture at all as this could lead them to rotting if you do not eat them quickly enough. Dehydrating them at a lower temperature, may take longer, but it will make them less brittle and allow you to have more control over how dehydrated they get. Remember that it is always better to over dry food than under dry as any moisture may lead to molding. Until you get a good grasp on  how long you need to dehydrate them, simply check them often. 

Once you think they are finished, store in a clean glass jar in a cool, dry place for up to a couple of months. 



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