Got any tips on how to use dried mushrooms?
I’m fairly new to cooking with mushrooms. Definitely too scared to go foraging and use those mushrooms to add to family recipes at home.
So far, I’ve been buying packaged mushrooms at the local supermarket. But sometimes I’m not sure just how fresh they are. That got me thinking about dried mushrooms, which I can also buy at my supermarket.
What should I know about cooking with dried mushrooms? How should I prepare them? Any tips?
You’re not wrong about finding really fresh mushrooms. Some mushrooms, like Shiitake, last several days on the shelf without any problem. Others, like any kind of Oyster mushroom, start wilting really quickly.
So yes, buying dried mushrooms is a good option. Or you can grow mushrooms at home and dry them in a dehydrator. Once dried and bagged, they can last one or two years.
(I’ve added a couple of photos above… a package of mixed dried mushrooms, and some of the same mushrooms rehydrated in water.)
To rehydrate dried mushrooms, just put them in some warm water. Depending on how thick the slices are, they can be soft again in as little at 15 minutes. For thicker mushrooms, like whole Shiitake, you may want to leave them for two or three hours.
Once rehydrated, you can rinse the mushrooms, pat them dry with kitchen paper, and then add them directly to your recipe.
Don’t take them out of the water too soon or they can end up being a bit chewy when compared to fresh mushrooms.
Also, keep the water. It’s like a mushroom broth you can add to sauces or stews.
Is the taste the same? Are rehydrated mushrooms as tasty as fresh?
Yes, they are!
In his recipe for Japanese Style Stuffed Cabbage, famous chef Atsushi Takata uses dried mushrooms instead of fresh. He says dried mushrooms have a stronger and richer flavor.
I have read the same elsewhere, with professional chefs choosing dried mushrooms over fresh.
There’s nothing complicated about this. And when you buy dried mushrooms, you’ll probably find some instruction on the packaging. Experiment a bit and see how it goes.
Happy mushroom cooking!