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So the other day when I did my January grocery trip, I managed to find a really decent deal on fresh button mushrooms. They were marked down to just .99¢ each which in my experience, is a fairly decent deal. Enough of a deal for me to grab them.
As you can see, they were marked down for a reason. They were getting ready to go bad, but once I took a closer look, there were plenty there that were usable so I went ahead and grabbed 2 of the 4 that were there. Looking back, I almost wish I would have just grabbed all 4 packs but I wanted to leave a couple for someone else. Anyhow, after we got home from our crazy shopping that day, I knew I’d need to preserve those mushrooms. Emma and I are the only 2 in the house that actually like them so for the most part, I leave them out of my cooking. I also knew that I wasn’t going to be able to use them in time to keep them from rotting, but I really had no idea how exactly you could preserve fresh mushrooms. I wasn’t sure if they could be frozen or what, but apparently you can do any and all with them, freezing, canning and dehydrating. I personally don’t like frozen veggies though for the most part and I didn’t feel like messing with my pressure canner for what would have amounted to 1 pint so I decided to dehydrate them!
Now that they’re dehydrated, they’ll last longer, they’re shelf stable AND I can pull out just the amount I need for half a pizza or whatever I happen to be using them on!I absolutely LOVE dehydrating foods. It’s so easy to do and is a fantastic way to preserve fresh foods for longer term storage. There are a couple of ways that you can dehydrate these so I wanted to go over both with ya’ll real quick.
First, mushrooms can be pretty nasty when you first buy/collect them. See the dirt all over them? I’m not 100% positive on this (okay, yes I am), but I DO know that I wouldn’t want to be eating that kind of dirt so grab a colander and give them a good spray to clean them off. If you need, you can use a soft vegetable brush on them too. Go ahead. It won’t hurt them even though most will tell you it will. (Really, it won’t.) These weren’t too terribly bad so I just gave them a good spray down with the nozzle on my sink until the water ran clear.
All clean! 😉
Next, sit them out on a paper towel and let them air dry a bit. This is actually really important so don’t skip it. Mushrooms are porous and they will soak up as much water as they can. If you just plop them from the sink right into the dehydrating stage, it will take MUCH longer to get them fully dried. You may also want to spread them out in a single layer, but I was tight on space that night (yes, I had to re-organize my kitchen to fit in all of the groceries lol) so I kind of just plopped them on a paper towel covered plate and went with it. If it works, it works, my friends.
Once they’ve air dried for a bit, you’ll want to cut them into pieces. I personally leave the stems on and just cut with it, but it really is personal preference. Make your pieces as big or large as you’d like and don’t mind my trusty (and very sliced up) cutting mat there. It has seen better days but I love it so much that I can’t bear to part with it. Really, I can’t!
Now, here’s the part where you can go one of two ways…you can dehydrate your mushrooms in an actual food dehydrator or you can do it in the oven. I chose to use my Nesco American Harvest Dehydrator that my mother in law gave me (ty MIL!), so I don’t have pictures of the oven way, however…it’s very easy to do.
If you’re going to dehydrate in the oven:
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Once it’s heated, turn it down to the WARM setting.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (again, be wary of that wax paper stuffs that you don’t grab it instead)
- Put the baking sheet in the oven and crack the oven door.
- Leave mushrooms in oven, with the door open, until they’re fully dehydrated. Be SURE they’re fully dried before you remove them.
For the rest of us:
Once you’ve got your shrooms cut up into pieces the size that you want, line your dehydrator trays with them. The 2 packages that I bought, cut into the size of pieces that you see filled 4 of my trays. (Please don’t yell at me about the grout on my kitchen counter. Have you ever tried to keep grout on a kitchen counter clean 24/7? It’s hard work I tell ya!) Moving on….
Make sure that you leave plenty of room between each piece. You do not want ANY piece touching each other (this is a basic rule of dehydration period). They’ll take twice as long as they should to dehydrate if they touch.
Yay! No touchy blurry mushroom pieces! Whoo hoo for blurry broken iPhone pics! Did I tell you guys that both my camera AND my iPhone are broken? No? Well now you know and as any 80’s kid can tell you? Knowing is half the battle. Yo Joe! (Yes, this IS how my mind works on a daily basis. It’s FUN living at the House of AIC! )
Once you have the trays lined, turn the machine on and let it do it’s thing. These took around 7 hours to fully dehydrate. You’ll know they’re fully dry when they’re crispy and wrinkly. Once they’re dry, store in an airtight container, or yanno, be like me and use an old peanut butter jar…lol.