How To Dry Mushrooms
Dry mushrooms without a dehydrator with this easy oven method.
Mushrooms are a low-calorie source of fiber, protein, and antioxidants. They impart a lovely, earthy flavor to soups, casseroles, and other dishes. Even if you don’t grow mushrooms or forage them in the wild, they are readily available at many farmers’ markets and grocery stores. If you come across seasonal varieties, go ahead and stock up. You can dehydrate them in your oven without any special tools or equipment.
Dehydrating mushrooms intensifies their flavor and makes them self-stable without processing them in a canner. You can dry practically any mushroom, but the larger, meatier varieties such as shiitakes, porcini, chanterelles, and morels dry exceptionally well. Once you learn how to dry mushrooms, you will be able to enjoy them year-round in a variety of dishes.
Related: How To: Dry Your Garden Herbs
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Whether you grow your own mushrooms or buy them from a local farmer or store, only use mushrooms that are fresh (not past their best-by date). Inspect the surface and make sure there are no black spots, soft spots, or mold.
STEP 1: Preheat the oven.
Preheat the oven to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. For some ovens, this temperature is available under the “warming” function. If your oven doesn’t go as low as around 140 degrees, you can still use your oven to dehydrate mushrooms by setting the temperature to its lowest possible setting and propping the door open (which you will need to do anyway). However, to make sure you are hitting the target temperature, it’s a good idea to use an oven thermometer to monitor the temperature inside the oven.
STEP 2: Clean and slice the mushrooms.
Mushrooms have a lot of nooks and crannies where dirt can hide. Use a soft-bristled brush to get as much of the dirt off as possible. If some stubborn dirt won’t come off, use a damp piece of paper towel to rub it off gently.
Slicing larger, thicker mushrooms will expedite the drying process. You can dry them whole if you like, but it takes several hours or even more than a day to do so in your oven. For faster results, slice them about ⅛-inch thick with a sharp knife from top to bottom. Ideally, each slice should include a portion of the cap and stem.
STEP 3: Place mushroom slices in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
If the mushrooms are wet before putting them into the oven, they will steam instead of dehydrating. Lay them out onto paper towels. Use another piece of paper towel to blot them. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the sliced mushrooms on baking sheets in a single layer.
STEP 4: Bake for several hours with the oven door cracked to release moisture.
Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and leave the door cracked open to release moisture. Bake for an hour, then remove them from the oven. Blot any moisture and turn the mushrooms over. Pop the sheet back into the oven and repeat the blotting and turning process every hour until the mushrooms are dry.
STEP 5: Store dried mushrooms in an airtight jar.
Once the mushrooms are thoroughly dried, they should break easily. The mushrooms should not have a leathery texture. Allow them to cool completely and store in an airtight container. Label the jars with the variety of mushrooms and the date. Store the jars in a cool, dark place and use them within a year.
Dried mushrooms are perfect for adding an earthy, meaty flavor to your stews, soups, and other dishes without fat or a ton of calories. Instead of keeping fresh mushrooms around, taking up refrigerator space and causing worry about using them immediately, dry them for later use.
Dehydrating mushrooms in the oven is a simple process that will allow you to store delicious mushrooms at room temperature without the need for special equipment.