Learn how to dry morel mushrooms at home!
Morel mushrooms have quite a short season. In some areas, it lasts for only a few weeks. Worse, some regions don’t have any harvest for years. This is why knowing how to preserve morel mushrooms by drying is important. This way, you can store the precious fungi in air-tight containers or jars under room temperature for as long as 6 months – or more when kept in a freezer. When using dried morels in recipes, just re-hydrate them.
READ ALSO: How to Dehydrate Mushrooms Properly
How to Dry Morel Mushrooms
Before drying, you need to clean morel mushrooms, and compared to most other types of mushrooms, morels need a bit more cleaning. Merely wiping a damp towel won’t cut it. The grit in the sponge-like sides will remain.
Follow these steps to properly clean morel mushrooms, and prepare them for drying:
- Soak the morel mushrooms in cold water.
- Swish the mushrooms around.
- Lift them out of the water, with all the grit left behind.
- Drain the morels well.
- Pat dry using a clean kitchen or paper towels.
You are done, and ready for drying the mushrooms.
Drying morels can be done in any of the following ways.
Air drying morels
No equipment is needed for this method, except for a few sewing supplies such as a large yarn or darning needle, and coat button thread, cotton quilting thread, or just some old fashioned unflavored and unwaxed dental floss.
- Thread the needle, then string the cleaned morel mushrooms lengthwise.
- Knot the floss/thread at each morel mushroom end to keep them snugly in place, leaving at least ½” between each morel. This way, enough air can circulate around every mushroom.
- Hang the stringed mushrooms in a dry, cool place until the morels are brittle and completely dry. This should take anywhere from 2 days to 1 week.
Drying morel mushrooms in the oven
If you are amenable to using your oven set at very low heat for a few hours, drying morel mushrooms can be quite easy.
- Set cooling racks on a few baking sheets.
- Arrange the cleaned mushrooms on the cooling racks.
- Return the racks to the oven. Set the oven to a temperature of 130 to 140 F (around 60C).You can leave the door open a bit for better air circulation.
- Allow the mushrooms to sit for about 8 hours or until completely brittle and dry. Check after every couple of hours.
Drying morel mushrooms in the dehydrator
You will be thankful if you happen to have your own food dehydrator. This is because morel mushrooms dry nicely when a food dehydrator is used for the process.
- After cleaning and drying the morel mushrooms, lay them on the racks in one layer.
- Set the dehydrator to a temperature of 100 F (read the dehydrator manual – the final temperature depends on the dehydrator you have).
- Allow the mushrooms to dry up to 10 hours (check after every couple of hours).
Rehydrating dried morel mushrooms
The process of rehydrating dried morels is quite simple and easy.
- Put the specific amount you intend to use in a bowl, then cover it with water.
- Allow to sit until the mushrooms are pliable and soft, or around 20 minutes.
- Reserve the liquid you used to soak the morels with for use in the dish you’re preparing. You can also use it to start making a veggie broth if preferred.
**When preparing risotto and pasta sauces, just soak the morel mushrooms in boiling water. This will allow the earthy flavor to mix into the liquid.
Tips in Keeping and Preserving Morel Mushrooms
Morel mushrooms can perish quickly. Thus, it is important to store them in a place that is cool and dry. This will keep them from rotting.
When properly stored, fresh morels can remain usable for around one week. Dried morel mushrooms can remain in good condition for much longer – up to 6 months in most cases when kept in sealed containers under room temperature, and even longer when stored fresh in the freezer.
Store dried morel mushrooms in jars, vacuum bags, or paper bags, whichever is available or preferred. Just make sure that you keep the contents away from moisture. This way, you can be sure that your dried mushrooms will last for a long time.
Avoid using plastic bags when storing mushrooms. You can only use plastic if the mushrooms are completely dry.
Morel mushrooms are great to use for many different recipes. The problem is, they only have a short season. Knowing how to dry and preserve morel mushrooms is therefore important if you want to have a ready stock of the mushroom any time of the year.