Everything You Need to Know About Drying Mushrooms

Everything You Need to Know About Drying Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a healthy addition to your diet but they don’t have to be eaten fresh.

If you’d like to preserve your mushrooms or for some reason you don’t like to eat mushrooms—maybe you don’t like the flavour or texture—then drying mushrooms is a great skill to learn. 

You may be asking: Why dry mushrooms? How do you dry mushrooms? What can I do with dried mushrooms?

Let’s look at everything you need to know about drying mushrooms, including making powders and salts. 

Why Dry Mushrooms

Dried mushrooms of any type are a great addition to your pantry. They’re also easy to make using a dehydrator, convection or regular oven. 

Here are some reasons why to dry mushrooms:

  • Once dried properly there are endless opportunities to extend the life of your mushrooms
  • You can save them for another time
  • Drying can intensify flavours 
  • Drying adds multiple nutritious benefits to any meal all year round

Once dried, you can rehydrate your mushrooms at a later time and use them in soups, stews or pastas. You can also grind mushrooms down into powders or make salt recipes. This allows you to sprinkle the benefits of mushroom powders and salt blends on beef, veal, pork, poultry, eggs, fish, rice, potatoes, pasta, polenta, popcorn, soup, cream sauces, tomatoes, dipping oil, and rubs. 

Porcini mushrooms for example, are an early fall treat with a nutty, robust flavour. Drying Porcini in particular, further intensifies their already deep, umami or savory flavour—one of the five key tastes along with salty, sweet, bitter and sour. Drying them also extends the life of these valuable mushrooms almost indefinitely. Porcini Salt is considered a perfect accompaniment for many French and Italian dishes.

How to Dry Mushrooms

Although Porcini is chosen as an example here, drying works with all mushroom types. The drying process will vary depending on the variety and size of mushroom. 

For example, with thinner, smaller mushrooms drying time can be 8-10 hours. Bigger denser mushrooms can take up to 12-24 hours. A general rule of thumb is: if the mushroom has any elasticity when bending they are not quite dry. A piece should break or ‘snap’ like a cracker when bending a piece in half. 

Here are the steps.

First clean the mushrooms of all dirt and debris, then cut into evenly sized pieces no larger than ½ an inch thick. Thinner slices will dry faster. 

Then dry it using one of these techniques:

  1. Dry in a dehydrator according to directions, often 125-135ºF, often 8-12 hours.
  2. Scatter on a baking sheet and place in a convection oven at 105ºF or a regular oven at 130ºF for about 8-10 hours. Turn the pieces occasionally and leave in the oven until the mushrooms are completely dry and “cracker” crispy.

Once cooled, the mushrooms can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator or freezer. If properly dried, stored mushrooms will keep for a year or more, and salts will last almost indefinitely. 

Consider using silica or desiccant packs to draw any moisture away from the mushrooms before sealing. Another option is vacuum sealing, which can help extend the shelf life of mushrooms much longer.

Bonus tip:

Do not freeze mushrooms before properly drying them first. Raw mushrooms contain high amounts of water, roughly 90% or more. If frozen prior to drying, any water in the mushroom freezes and deteriorates the chitin (cell walls of the mushrooms). Not only will the mushrooms develop ‘freezer burn’ much faster, when thawing, the mushrooms thaw mushy and over-saturated. They are much more prone to rot and degradation. 

To rehydrate dried mushrooms, soak in tepid water for about 20 minutes. Drain and chop the mushrooms and add to soups or gravies. Larger mushrooms can be patted dry, treated like fresh and sautéed. Use hot or simmering water/stock if you want to infuse even more flavour into the liquid. The strained soaking liquid will give a magnificent burst of mushroom essence and flavour to stocks, sauces and stews.

How to Make Mushroom Powders or Mushroom Rubs

Dried mushrooms can be ground into a powder using a coffee grinder, a spice grinder or a high speed blender. Then mix with other seasonings, chilli powders or dried herbs to create a mushroom rub for coating steaks or roasts. One tablespoon of powder equals 1/4 cup of fresh mushrooms as a replacement when used to flavour dishes.

How to Make Mushroom Salts

What are mushroom salts? A sprinkle of mushroom salt adds a burst of delicious umami flavour. They can be added to vegetables, meats, used as rubs, added to soups to spice up the flavour or to any dish of your choice! Consider even a mushroom salt when cooking other "ordinary" mushrooms to add even denser mushroom flavour.

To make mushroom salt, combine your favourite salt preference, such as himalayan sea salt,  flaked sea salt, Real salt, Maldon salt or fleur de sel, with the ground mushrooms. Remember all salts are a little different with unique properties and flavours of their own. 

A good ratio is about 1/4 cup ground mushrooms to 1 cup sea salt. Adding a little chili, rosemary, thyme, pepper, garlic or onion powder will punch up the flavour even more. Store in an airtight container, in a cool, dry place.

Here’s are three mushroom salt recipes to try:

Porcini Mushroom Salt Recipe

  • ¼ cup dried Porcini powder
  • 1 cup of favourite salt preference (coarser salt preferred here)

Wild Mushroom Rub/ Seasoning Salt (250g)

  • 30g (⅓ cup) wild dried mushroom powder (Any medley wild foraged mushrooms Morel, Chanterelle, Porcini, Matsutake, & Velvet Top mushrooms) To make a powder - grind in a coffee grinder or high speed blender. Approx a pint jar of dried mushrooms.
  • 8g (3 tbsp) dried thyme
  • 10g (2 tbsp) red pepper flakes
  • 8g (1 tbsp black pepper
  • 21g (3 tbsp) dried onion powder
  • 7g (1 tbsp) dried garlic powder
  • 175g (⅔ cup) favourite salt preference

Medella Mushrooms Herbal Salt (60g)

  • 3g (2tsp) Chestnut/ Pretzel (Pholiota adiposa) mushroom powder
  • 3g (2tsp) Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor) mushroom powder 
  • 3g (2tsp) Ground Rosemary
  • 11g (4tsp) garlic powder
  • 40g (8tsp) Redmond’s Real Salt

Final Thoughts

If you’ve stumbled on a batch of mushrooms in the wild, you grow mushrooms at home, or your store-bought mushrooms are sitting unused in the fridge, consider drying mushrooms to extend their life. 

Dried mushrooms will also add a flavour punch when made into powders, rubs and salts. Once you learn to dry mushrooms, you’ll love adding them to stews or rubbing them on steaks at any time of year.

Back to blog