Dried mushrooms: what they are, how to hydrate them and tips for cooking them
The dried mushrooms are a great solution for those chefs who want to make their signature dishes with mushrooms out of season. Nothing beats the freshness of freshly picked mushrooms, but we know that most mushrooms in Spain only grow during the autumn months... So for the rest of the year, we are forced to consume dried mushrooms.
How do you dry a mushroom?
The main reason for dehydrating a mushroom is its preservation. It is one of the best solutions for preserving mushrooms, as in addition to not losing many of their qualities when fresh, they are reduced in size and more mushrooms can be preserved in less space.
At Laumont we dry mushrooms in specialised ovens for this process. If you want to dehydrate mushrooms at home, the process is similar but with conventional ovens. All you need to do is to lay your mushrooms in an orderly fashion on the tray of your oven, without them being too close to each other. Then, open the oven at no more than 100º and you have to check them until they are correctly dehydrated (depending on each mushroom, the time may vary). Don't worry if the mushrooms lose a lot of volume: this is normal, as they lose almost half of their volume during this process. This is due to the porous structure of all mushrooms and the large quantities of water they retain.
If the volume of mushrooms to be dried is small, they can also be left to dry in the open air, in an airy space, separated from each other.
As a reminder, mushrooms should always be cleaned before drying.
Hydrating dried mushrooms
Dried mushrooms keep for a long time, but the day always comes when they are ready to be eaten. To hydrate dried mushrooms, there are two options: either boil them for 1 minute or leave them in a jar filled with water for 1 hour. On that day, the mushrooms will recover the volume they lost on the day they were dehydrated... they may even be bigger.
Cooking with dried mushrooms
Don't waste the water with which you have hydrated the mushrooms. This liquid is of great value and contains a lot of mushroom essence. It can be used as a kind of "mushroom stock", so it will give you a lot of taste wherever you want to add it.
Dried mushrooms can be used in the same way as fresh mushrooms. In fact, by hydrating them, they recover much of their freshly picked appearance. So in the middle of August, you can cook a stew with trumpets of death as if it were autumn. This is the great advantage of dried mushrooms.
And to wrap up… 3 recipes with dried mushrooms
Sautéed dehydrated trumpets of death with fried egg, shavings of Iberian ham and mashed potato.
Country bread with roasted vegetables and dehydrated boletus mushrooms.
Mixed salad of pickled dried mushrooms, brie cheese, cherry tomatoes and walnuts