The standard for the name " mushroom " is the cultivated white button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus; hence the word " mushroom " is most often applied to those fungi (Basidiomycota, Agaricomycetes) that have a stem (stipe), a cap (pileus), and gills (lamellae, sing. lamella)

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Sporadically Methods for Drying Mushrooms

Mushrooms  picked up from the wild or mushroom growing in your herb garden or mushrooms purchased from the local stores, do they stay fresh for too long? Drying mushrooms will help in preserving the mushrooms for a longer period of time and it can be used in soups, stews, on pizzas, etc. However, it is important to be sure of the quality of the mushrooms which you plant to dry. It is important that you use the freshest of the mushrooms to make dried mushrooms. If you are planning on drying wild mushrooms, it is important to check if they are the edible variety. There are guides available, which will help you to ascertain whether the mushrooms you have picked up are indeed the edible variety.

Methods for Drying Mushrooms

There are many methods which can be used to dry mushrooms. However, the base procedure for any of the methods for drying mushrooms is the same. We will see the basic procedure first and then turn our attention to drying mushrooms.

First Step for Drying Mushrooms

Whether you are going to dry mushrooms from your farm or the store bought variety, it is a must you rinse them before they undergo the drying process. However, you will have to give them a quick rinse, as you would not want them wet before drying. Then brush the mushrooms with a brush lightly and wipe well with a soft cotton cloth. This action will remove all the dirt or bacteria or fungus, which may be clinging onto the mushrooms.

Dry Mushrooms Naturally

To naturally dry mushrooms, you will have to be staying in a climate which is suitable to dehydrate the mushrooms. The climate has to be natural dry climate. This will dry the mushrooms naturally and they will not have to undergo any processing procedure. However, it does not mean you put the mushrooms in hot (sub) tropical sun. Doing so will harm the potency of the mushrooms.

The other natural process of drying the mushrooms is to do so manually. Place small amounts of mushrooms on a few kitchen tissues in a warm place. I would like to stress warm place and not hot place. If you are going to dry large amounts of mushrooms, you will have to ensure warm airflow to the mushrooms, however, the temperature of the air warmer should not be more than 40 degrees Celsius.

Oven Drying Mushrooms

This method should be used, if you have a large bulk of mushrooms, which you are going to dry. Slice the cleaned mushrooms into thin slices. The thinner the better. You can make use of the slicer attachment, which accompanies most food processors. Place the sliced mushrooms in shallow pans, however, the pans should not be oiled. The pans should now be placed in the oven. Heat the oven to 150 degrees Fahrenheit and let the mushrooms dry for an hour. After an hour turn the slices and cook the slices again for an hour. Remove from the oven to check if the mushrooms have dried well, if not, repeat the process.

Drying Gourds
Drying Fresh Herbs
Drying Roses

After drying mushrooms, you will have to place them in a dry air tight container, so that they do not go bad. Remember to place the dried mushrooms jar in a dry warm place, to extend the shelf life of the mushrooms after drying. When you remove some for cooking, replace the cover of the tin immediately, to ensure minimum contact with air.

Most depots purchase only fresh mushrooms. However, some depots will purchase dried morels from experienced pickers. Drying racks can be easily constructed using poles. The drying racks should be located in a sunny location and covered if it rains. Plastic screening is used for the bottom of the drying trays. Only plastic screening should be used as a chemical reaction can occur with metal screening causing an off flavors. Some buying depots may have propane dryers to dry morel mushrooms. Do not dry mushrooms using a fire because the smoke will produce an off flavor.

Morel mushrooms are dried whole, while poorer quality mushrooms  are sliced vertically in narrow strips. Chanterelle mushrooms are not usually dried. It takes about eight to 10 pounds of fresh mushrooms to make a pound of dried mushrooms. Well-dried mushrooms can be stored in heavy plastic bags

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