Fabulous Fungal Flavour

I love mushrooms, but I don’t always eat them in time. They tend to putrify and get fuzzy when left in the fridge too long. Can mushrooms get mouldy? Mine do.

So what do I do when I have a surplus of 0.99$/pk button mushrooms? Dehydrate them! Below I show two ways that I use to dehydrate mushrooms.

First, I wash the mud off them. Some say you’re supposed to brush them, but I don’t like eating dirt.

Two packs of button mushrooms.

Second, I chop them into 1/4″ thick slices. It’s important that they’re all roughly the same thickness so they’ll all be dry at the same time. Then I’ll lay them out onto parchment or waxed paper, not aluminium. I’m careful that the slices don’t overlap.

Laid out for drying.

The next method takes about twice as long. With kitchen twine and a long needle, I string together a bunch like a weird fungal necklace. Then I suspend them from the highest rack in the oven.

To dry, I set the oven to the lowest temperature (~50C) and leave it to dry overnight. At the end, the slices should be “crispy” and break rather than bend. The mushroom necklace takes about twice as long to dry.

Warning: your house will smell like mushrooms!

Finally, I grind the dried mushroom slices in a mortar and pestle until it’s powder. I suppose you can use a coffee grinder or food processor, but I’m not fancy and working with my hands makes me happy. Don’t inhale the fungus dust.

Dried mushrooms with the leftover salt that was in the mortar.
If well dried, the mushrooms should pulverize easily.

The result is an amazing flavour booster for any style of cooking. It will make your dishes taste more “umami” and rich. The whole dried mushrooms I save for soups and sauces.

I’ve used this same process on onions, carrots, and sweet potatoes with good effect. How about you? Have you dehydrated anything? What worked and didn’t work? How do you use the dehydrated veggies?

One package fresh, dehydrated, and powdered button mushrooms.

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