Anyone who likes to cook will know that most mushrooms do not stay fresh for very long. You are lucky if they last a week before they start to go bad.
I like the flavor that mushrooms add to food, but I don't want to have to run to the grocery store every time I want to add some mushrooms to a dish.
One solution is to make a Duxelles.
Another Option is to dehydrate the mushrooms.
If stored in a cool dark place (the fridge or freezer) in an airtight container (mason jar or ziploc bag), either solution will allow you to store your mushrooms for six months to a year.
By powdering the mushrooms once they are dehydrated you will be able to fit an 8 oz package of sliced mushrooms (approx 65 cubic inch container) in a 2 oz spice jar. (approx 4 cubic inches)
Step 1: Materials
Mushrooms - Depending on what type of mushroom you are planning on dehydrating you may want to keep the mushroom whole for presentation purposes of the dish (morel mushrooms come to mind). You can dehydrate the mushrooms whole, but it will take longer.
For most mushrooms slices are a fine for dehydration and presentation. If you slice your mushrooms you will increase the available surface area to be dried and reduce your dry time. Or you can be lazy like me and buy the sliced mushrooms :)
Dehydrator - If you do not have a dehydrator you can put the mushrooms on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and place them in the oven on the lowest setting. The downside to using the oven is that you will have to pay closer attention to the mushrooms during the drying process. You will need to flip the mushrooms to allow the undersides to dry too.
Food Processor - food processor or blender. If you don't have either you can go old school ... a knife and a mortar and pestle.
Wire Mesh Strainer
Step 2: Drying
Arrange the mushroom slices in the dehydrator and dry them until they are crisp and break easily instead of bending.(drying times will vary depending on the make and model of your dehydrator)
At this point you can stop here if you want.
For use in soups and other moisture rich dishes you can simply add the dehydrated slices in during the cooking process and the mushroom slices will rehydrate while the dish cooks.
For fast cooking dishes or less liquid intense dishes, like an omelet, you will need to soak the dehydrated mushroom slices in warm water for around 20-30 minutes so they are plump and juicy instead of hard and splintery.
If you want the ability to add mushroomy goodness to and dish in an instant, or if you are like me and have kids that pick out all the tasty bits of the dinner you make for them .. proceed to the next step.
Step 3: Grinding
grab your trusty food processor or blender.
Turn your hard dried mushroom slices into a fine powder. I like to dump the pulverized mushrooms through a wire mesh strainer to catch any big bits for a second trip through the food processor.
Once you have your desired consistency you want to store your mushroom powder in a cool dark place in an air tight container to avoid spoiling or rehydrating before you are ready to use it.
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