Dehydrating mushrooms in a dehydrator is a great way to preserve an abundance of mushrooms. You can use this method to make sure that the store-bought mushrooms in your refrigerator don't spoil before you get around to eating them.
About Dehydrating Mushrooms in a Dehydrator
Most mushrooms dry beautifully, not only retaining but even gaining flavor in the process. When rehydrated in hot water, their texture is almost identical to that of fresh mushrooms. Dried mushrooms can be stored for at least a year.
Although mushrooms can be dried in the oven, you get the best results if you use a dehydrator following this simple method.
Clean and Slice the Mushrooms
First, you need to clean the mushrooms. Contrary to culinary myth, raw mushrooms do not soak up lots of water during a quick rinse. You don't have to skip washing them and try to get all the dirt off with a brush.
Go ahead and wash the mushrooms in water, scrubbing with a vegetable or mushroom brush as necessary. This makes the prep much easier, especially with species that have lots of nooks and crannies, such as maitake mushrooms.
Depending on which is easiest for the shape of the mushrooms, either clean them whole and then slice them or vice versa. It is acceptable to slice them first and then clean them if that seems easiest.
Slice the mushrooms to pieces that are between 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. The thicker the slices, the longer they take to dry, so consider this when you are slicing. Your choice may depend on how you plan to use them later. If you want thick slices in your dishes, slice them thicker.
Arrange the Sliced Mushrooms on the Dehydrator Trays
Arrange the cleaned, sliced mushrooms on the dehydrator trays, making sure that none of the pieces touch or overlap. This allows the best airflow around them, and they will dry faster and more evenly. If they touch or overlap, some areas may retain some moisture.
Dry and Cool the Slices in the Dehydrator
Dry the sliced mushrooms at 110 F until the pieces are crispy dry (or follow specific instructions that come with your dehydrator). This process takes 4 to 6 hours for 1/4-inch slices and up to 8 hours for thicker slices.
Allow the dried mushrooms to cool completely before transferring them to glass jars.
Store the Dehydrated Mushrooms in Glass Jars
Transfer the cooled dried mushrooms to glass jars and cover tightly with lids. Label the jars with the contents including the type of mushroom and the date they were dried. Store the jars away from direct light or heat.
Rehydrating the Dried Mushrooms
To use dehydrated mushrooms, pour boiling water over them in a heat-proof bowl. Soak them for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain them, reserving the richly flavored soaking liquid for soup stocks and sauces. Use the rehydrated mushrooms as you would fresh mushrooms.