If you are blessed with an abundance of fresh morel mushrooms, dehydrating them is a great way to preserve these springtime treats so that you can enjoy them year-round. Morels dry beautifully, retaining all of their flavors. When properly dried and rehydrated in hot water, their texture is almost identical to fresh morels. Dried morel mushrooms can be stored indefinitely as long as they are not exposed to moisture.
Although morels can be dried in the oven or even in front of a fan, you will get the best, most consistent results if you use a dehydrator. How many mushrooms you use and the yield is dependent on the space in your dehydrator. For our purposes, we base this recipe on using two pounds of fresh morels which will equal six ounces of dried mushrooms.
- 2 pounds morel mushrooms (fresh)
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1/2 gallon water (room temperature)
Gather the ingredients.
First, clean the morels by giving them a good rinse. You might want to cut them in half lengthwise to make cleaning them easier.
Soak the mushrooms. Insects often hide out in the honeycomb-like crevices of these mushrooms, even after rinsing. To get rid of them, dissolve about 2 tablespoons of salt in a half-gallon of water. Soak the morels in the salt water for at least 10 minutes, but not longer than 30 minutes.
Once the morels have had their soak, give them another rinse to get rid of the salt. Gently squeeze the mushrooms in a clean dish towel to get rid of as much water as possible.
Sort the mushrooms. Although morels can be dried whole, you want them to be approximately the same size when they go into the dehydrator so that they dry evenly. Do this by loading each dehydrator tray with similarly sized morels: the trays of smaller mushrooms will be ready to come out of the dehydrator sooner than the trays of larger ones. Alternatively, you can slice larger morels into halves or smaller pieces so that they are closer to the size of your smaller ones.
Arrange the morels on the dehydrator trays, making sure that none of the pieces touch or overlap and they are all about the same size.
Dry them at 125 F (52 C) until the pieces are crispy dry. This will take 4 to 6 hours for small slices and up to 8 hours for larger or whole morels.
Allow the dried morels to cool completely before transferring them to a glass jar or jars. Cover tightly and store away from direct light or heat.
Rehydrate the morels before using or grind some in a spice grinder and sprinkle into dishes. Enjoy!
- While there is a lot of advice out there about soaking morels in salt water overnight, don't do it. Morels lose flavor and their texture isn't as good with prolonged soaking.
- To rehydrate dried morel mushrooms, pour boiling water over them in a heatproof bowl. Let them soak for 15 to 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the richly flavored soaking liquid for soup stocks and sauces. Use the rehydrated morel mushrooms as you would fresh ones.