How to Dry Mushrooms

One of the best ways to properly study mushrooms and their properties is to do so using dehydrated mushrooms. In this post we’re going to show you how to dry mushrooms in various different ways and how to store them properly in order to keep their properties intact and stop them from rotting.

how to dry mushrooms

The best way to make sure that mushrooms can be stored and kept safe is to try and remove as much humidity from them as possible. We’re going to go over a few different ways to do this, and you can choose whichever is best for you. All of these methods can be done at home, they simply vary between how long they take to dry the mushrooms.

How to Dry Mushrooms | Sterilizing

Before you start to pick your mushrooms and dry them, you’ll need to disinfect your working area, as well as all of the materials and objects used in the process.

Disinfecting your work area

How to dry mushrooms

In order to disinfect your work area, you can use distilled water with a 5-10% bleach solution. You’ll also need two clean cloths; one for wetting in your bleach/water solution and running over your work surfaces, and another for wetting in distilled water in order to clean any leftover bleach on the work area. Next, you simply have to let the area air out for a couple of hours and you should be ready to get started.

Materials needed to disinfect your work area:

  • Distilled water
  • Unscented bleach
  • 2 clean cloths
  • Latex gloves (no talc powder)

Sterilizing tools and storage containers

Regardless of the materials used to dry your mushrooms, you need to disinfect all of them in order to avoid possible contamination, keeping this outcome as least likely as possible. Many mushroom enthusiasts tend to skip this step without realizing it and it’s one of the main reasons that mushrooms end up contaminated; hygiene is incredibly important when it comes to these delicate fungi.

Materials needed to disinfect tools and storage containers:

  • Alcohol
  • Lighter
  • Distilled water
  • Unscented bleach
  • Latex gloves with no talc

rubbing alcoholIf you’re using scissors or some type of tweezer to remove the mushrooms and handle them, you will need to soak in alcohol and light using a lighter, making sure that the part that’s going to touch the mushroom was lit properly. Next, wash them in distilled water in order to get rid of any traces of alcohol and place them on a disinfected surface or unscented kitchen paper.

The air-tight container you’re going to use to store your mushrooms in should be filled with distilled water and 5-10% bleach. Close it and shake it for a while to make sure it’s fully disinfected. Next, wash it out at least three times in a row using distilled water and then let it dry in a sterile place.

Once your work area and tools are fully sterilized, you can start taking the first steps towards drying your mushrooms.

How to Dry Mushrooms | Pre-Dry

Before you start properly drying out your mushrooms, you might want to pre-dry them for the best results. This is done by simply leaving your mushrooms on some kitchen paper in a dark area with little ventilation. This allows them to naturally lose a high amount of humidity. This is the most-used method by many mushroom enthusiasts and it’s a pretty good start. It can take more or less time depending on the time of year and the parameters in the drying area. The best time to start fully dehydrating your mushrooms is when the mushrooms go a sort of brittle texture.

Materials needed for the pre-dry process:

  • Latex gloves (no talc)
  • Unscented kitchen paper
  • Fan
  • Kitchen plate
  • Thermohygrometer

In order to do this correctly and avoid fungi or rot from taking over your mushrooms and rendering them useless, the area needs to be fully sterilized as we said before, in absolute darkness, with a slight air flow created by a fan in order to speed up the process of getting rid of humidity. You can use a thermohygrometer in order to keep the relative humidity within the drying area at 55%.

Once you’ve done the pre-drying process, you can use these mushrooms for mycology or analytic purposes whenever you want, although if you want to store them over long periods of time while keeping their properties intact (for years, even) then you’ll need to fully dehydrate them. First, let’s have a look at the materials you’ll need and then we’ll go over the various different methods used to dry mushrooms.

How to Dry Mushrooms

In order to dry or dehydrate mushrooms that have been pre-dried, you can use various different methods; some of them are easier than others, although you can pick whichever one suits you best. Also, a common practice to keep in mind in order to avoid opening and closing your jars whenever you want to take out mushrooms which can cause contamination, is to use a lot of small airtight jars to keep them spread out

Materials needed to dry mushrooms:

  • Latex gloves (no talc)
  • Air-tight glass containers
  • Unscented kitchen paper
  • Silica-gel drying agent bags (optional)
  • Epsom salt drying agent (optional
  • Food dehydrator (optional)
  • Vermiculite drying agent (optional)

How to dry mushrooms

Drying Mushrooms Method 1 | Silica-gel drying agent

Place a couple of pieces of kitchen towel at the bottom of your glass container and put a few mushrooms in without crowding it. We recommend placing just a few, without having them touch. Next, place a small bag of silica-gel inside the container in order to keep humidity down. One bag per container is enough. If you only have a couple of containers, you can make “shelves” by placing kitchen paper, mushrooms, kitchen paper, mushrooms etc, without packing them in.

How to dry mushroomsDrying Mushrooms Method 2 | Food dehydrator

Place your ore-dried mushrooms in a food dehydrator with some space in between each mushroom. Adjust the temperature to around 55°C and leave it for around 8 hours. This process is similar to the oven process although we prefer the dehydrator, as it’s much easier to mess up with an oven. Remember to clean the dehydrator thoroughly afterwards, as it may still have spores inside.

how to dry mushroomsDrying Mushrooms Method 3 | Vermiculite drying agent

Place a layer of about 1-2cm of vermiculite at the bottom of the container, place a lyer of kitchen paper above it, and then place your mushrooms on top. This method is quite simple and it’s similar to the silica gel method. It’s essentially an alternative for those that don’t have silica gel or want a more affordable alternative.

Drying Mushrooms Method 4 | Epsom Salt drying agent

This is the most costly method in as far as work, as you need to prepare the Epsom salts; if done right it’s definitely the best method to use as it both dehydrates your mushrooms and catches any relative humidity in the air.

Epsom saltHow to prepare Epsom salts as a drying agent

In order to prepare Epsom salts, you need an oven and an oven tray. Place about 1cm of salt on the tray and place it in the middle of the oven, which should be pre-heated to 220-250°C. Cover the tray and leave it in the oven for about 2 hours in order to remove all humidity from the salts, allowing them to rehydrate later with the humidity left over in the mushrooms. Epsom salt can easily be bought at a pharmacy.

Once the salt is ready, we recommend putting it in your airtight containers so that it can start absorbing the humidity in the air. Place about 1cm in the bottom of the container, place a couple of layers of kitchen paper on top, and then place your mushrooms – make sure that they’re not touching the Epsom salt.

Conclusion:

As you can see, the most important part about drying and storing mushrooms is humidity control in your container and making sure that they’ve already lost most of the water retained inside. If not conserved, the amount of time they’re viable for studying is drastically reduced.

We’d like to remind our readers that these steps and recommendations are for mushroom analysis and mycology only, not for consuming or experimentation. Growbarato.net is not responsible for any misuse of this information.

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