Saturday, April 11, 2009

An Abundance of Mushrooms

Mmmmmm, dried mushrooms!

So just what does one do with an abundance of mushrooms? Why, dehydrate them, of course! My organic produce co-op order recently provided me with four 12-ounce boxes of button mushrooms. My husband loathes mushrooms, and my two mushroom-loving sons are both living elsewhere now, so I was the lone devourer of the mushrooms. As much as I love mushrooms, I just couldn't eat them before they spoiled, so I opted to dehydrate them.

Fortunately my parents bought me a dehydrator for Christmas several years ago, so I have the luxury of being able to dry my produce with this. Other options would be solar in nature, not a bad thing at all, and something I've done in the past with great success.

To dehydrate mushrooms with a dehydrator, quite simply clean them (brush off the dirt or wash them if you must), then slice them into 1/4 inch slices, trying to keep the slices the same thickness, otherwise some will be done long before others.

Mushroom slices ready to dehydrate

Dehydrator full of mushrooms

Place the slices on the dryer racks, trying not to overlap them, cover with the dehydrator lid and let them dry until they're crisp.

I honestly don't know how long it would take to dry them because I forgot to check them before I went to bed. But, that wasn't my fault. You see, my mushroom-loathing husband came home from work and declared the mushrooms HAD to be removed from the house because he just couldn't stand the smell, which I thought was quite a delicious smell. So, out the dehydrator went into our kitchen addition, which is not quite complete or functional just yet, other than as a giant walk-in refrigerator in winter, and pantry in summer.

A once-full tray of mushrooms slices dries down to tiny pieces

I woke up with a start this morning thinking, "Oh my gosh! I forgot the mushrooms!" and despaired thinking they'd be ruined. But, when you think about it, once they're dry, they're dry and you can't really over dry something like that, can you? They were fine.

Plate loaded with dried mushrooms

Let the mushrooms cool and transfer them to an airtight container, where they should keep for quite a long time.

Interestingly, I had five mushrooms left that just wouldn't fit onto my full dehydrator trays. Look here to see what I did with them!

In the dehydrator now that the mushrooms are finished? An over-abundance of organic celery!

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