I have a problem. I can’t say no to those “buy 2 and get 1 free” sales, especially with fresh produce. I often find myself with produce that’s about to go bad and have to hurry to use it because I also don’t like wasting. I had two and half packets of white button mushrooms and I had no desire to do my usual rush to have them cooked. I decided to dry them instead.
I buy dried mushrooms all the time but have never dried them myself. I did some reading up on how best to dry my own and it seemed simple and straight forward. I sliced up the mushrooms thinner than usual and laid them flat on a tray and left them where they got some sunlight.
White button mushrooms have a delicate flavour so I was definitely intrigued to see if the drying process would amplify them. 2 days later the mushrooms had completely dried and I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome (I’m sure it would take about a day if i was doing this in winter under direct sunlight)
The mushrooms are extremely pungent. They have an earthy and woody scent that you’d never expect from button mushrooms. I hydrated them in hot water before cooking with them and they coloured the water brown as dried mushrooms do. That water is the perfect start to a delicious pasta sauce as it has so much flavour from the mushrooms.
I made a simple creamy penne and dried mushroom pasta because i wanted the mushrooms to be the star of the dish. The flavour the mushrooms added to the pasta was woody and the texture was meaty. Click here for the full recipe.
In conclusion this is what I’ve learnt about drying mushrooms;
- The thinner your mushrooms the quicker they dry.
- Lay them flat on a large tray/plate in one layer. Make sure you don’t overcrowd them as some won’t dry as well as others.
- Dry in sunlight. They are other methods of drying mushrooms but this is the easiest to me and preserves the mushrooms.
- Depending on the weather and how thin your mushrooms are it can take 1-3 days for them to completely dry.
- When the mushrooms have dried is when there’s no moisture left in them.
- Store them in a dry air tight container. (I’m not sure yet how long they can be kept for. I’ll update as i experiment with this some more)