During the mushroom season, you want to harvest these underground fruits as much and as easily as possible. One of the easiest ways, which does not require serious effort, is drying mushrooms. This method of preparing mushrooms for the winter is also safe, since there is completely no risk of departure. But there are certain nuances, how to dry mushrooms for the winter correctly, so that they do not go moldy afterwards or turn into a cadaver.
Benefits of drying mushrooms
Drying mushrooms is much more convenient than other methods of preparation and has a lot of advantages, in addition to the usual convenience and time savings.
The main advantages of drying mushrooms for the winter:
- fruits are subjected to minimal heat treatment, they are dried at a temperature of 30 to 60 degrees;
- drying preserves the maximum amount of useful substances, amino acids and whole proteins;
- space is saved during storage, as mushrooms shrink 10 times due to moisture loss;
- do not require special storage conditions: it is enough to keep them in a dry, ventilated place;
- at home drying does not use harmful substances to protect against mold, such as sulfur dioxide.
The drying process itself takes about one day or a little less. But most of the time of creating the blanks for winter is passive work. The time of active work with mushrooms is no more than half an hour.
From dried mushrooms you can prepare many different dishes ranging from soups to various pies and sauces. Recipes for dishes from dried mushrooms will be given in subsequent materials, subscribe to the channel.
What mushrooms can be dried
Dried mushrooms for the winter can be any, here it is only worth observing a few nuances. The best drying, as well as any preparation for the winter, survive tubular mushrooms. They practically do not lose their shape, only decrease in size. It is difficult for beginners to spoil such mushrooms.
These mushrooms are very demanding to habitat conditions, as their fungi form special symbioses or mycorrhizas with tree roots. Therefore, these underground fruits live only in the wild, where they are also collected for sale. This is one of the reasons why these types of mushrooms are expensive.
Platy mushrooms, such as chanterelles, opiates and champignons, are more common in the wild and are actively grown in artificial conditions. Therefore, it is easier to buy them fresh in the summer or pick them yourself. But when drying, they can be severely deformed, turning into corpse, flat pieces, similar to old rags. Therefore, these mushrooms should be dried with special care.
Preparing mushrooms before drying
Any mushrooms need to be prepared before the drying procedure. This process involves several steps.
The basic steps in preparing mushrooms for drying are.
- Reassembly of mushrooms. It is necessary to separate spoiled, wormy or rotten specimens, or cut off such parts. It is especially important to inspect the lower parts of the caps of tubular mushrooms – whether there are no signs of worminess. Plate mushrooms are usually not touched by worms.
- Cleaning mushrooms, for which it is better to put them in a large container of water and rinse here. In this case, sticking needles and leaves will quickly come off the surface. But soaking the fruits in water is not necessary, they need to be processed immediately. After that, the mushrooms need to dry a little at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Sorting mushrooms, which should be divided according to their size. Dry fruits of different caliber should be dried separately, since they will lose moisture at different rates. When the smallest specimens are already completely dried, the large ones will only slightly wilt. Therefore, some of the mushrooms will need to be removed from drying faster.
- Slicing the mushrooms. It is not always required. For example, small mushrooms are dried completely, later they will look beautiful in salads, pizza and pies. Medium-sized mushrooms are better cut lengthwise, preserving the beautiful mushroom pattern and cap. In large tubular fruits, the caps are separated from the stems, and then cut into several parts of both.
Different parts of mushrooms should not only be dried separately, but also stored in this way. This way they will be more convenient to use in the future.
Methods of drying mushrooms
Methods how to dry mushrooms at home, there are many. Each of them is suitable for a different number of mushrooms and different household conditions. The simplest way is drying on a thread in a natural way. Any number of mushrooms, even just a few pieces, can be dried this way.
Drying in the microwave is not recommended, as this method destroys the molecular bonds inside the cells. Especially strongly it affects amino acids and proteins. That is, after such processing, products lose their nutritional properties.
In large quantities, it is more convenient to dry mushrooms in an oven or in a special electric dryer.
When using either method, it is important to take into account several points:
- regularly check the degree of drying of mushrooms;
- remove dried mushrooms from the dryer immediately;
- dry the fruit as slowly as possible, which will maximize the preservation of all useful substances;
- let the products cool and stabilize after the procedure, which should be done at room temperature for 2-3 hours.
Only finally dried fruits that have room temperature should be put away for storage. You can store mushrooms in containers such as:
- paper bags;
- canvas or cotton bags;
- glass jars.
In polyethylene or plastic containers mushrooms should not be stored, as here they will quickly damp.
Drying mushrooms in the oven
For drying mushrooms in the oven is suitable for any device that is available in every home. It can be and electric or gas oven. Ideally, if the oven will have convection or a fan, which will accelerate the exchange of air.
Step-by-step order of how to dry mushrooms in an electric or gas oven:
- For drying, it is better to use a grate, as it allows air to pass through better. If there is only one grate, it is better to put large mushrooms on it, and small ones – on a regular baking tray. The grid should be covered with parchment paper, as the mushrooms will significantly reduce in size and can then fall through the bars of the grid.
- Place the racks and baking trays in the oven. Set the lowest temperature you can. This is usually 50-70 degrees. If there is convection, it should be turned on.
- The oven door should be opened half or fully for the first 1-2 hours of drying. This is necessary to maximize the amount of moisture that comes out through it and the mushrooms do not absorb it back. It’s also necessary to keep the temperature as low as possible.
- As soon as the mushrooms acquire a wilted look, then the oven door can be covered, leaving a small slit, for quality air exchange and moisture drainage. Keep the products in this mode for 3-6 hours. More accurate drying time depends on the mushrooms themselves, the degree of drying of which should be checked periodically. The most severely dried specimens should be removed from the oven.
- After the fruits have dried, the oven should be turned off and left to cool in it for another 3-4 hours. Letting the mushrooms rest exactly in the cooled oven will be a very convenient solution. Here they will not get in the way and they will not get dust on them.
Once the mushrooms have settled, they can be put away for storage.
Preparing mushrooms with the help of an electric dryer
Drying mushrooms at home with the help of an electric dryer remains the most convenient and practical way. Usually such devices are designed for a range of 30-70 degrees, which allows you to pick the most gentle mode.
Step-by-step order of how to dry mushrooms at home in an electric dryer:
- Place the mushrooms on the trays of the dryer. It is better to spread them in batches: small ones on one tray, larger ones on another.
- Set all the trays and turn on the electric dryer to a mode of 30-35 degrees. Keep the fruits at this temperature for 1-2 hours. They should acquire a flaccid appearance.
- Increase the temperature to 40 degrees and keep the mushrooms for 4-5 hours. You can make breaks in the dryer for 15-20 minutes, which will allow the mushrooms to give moisture faster due to the temperature difference. If you need to dry the mushrooms faster, the temperature should be increased to 45 degrees.
- During drying, you need to change the trays in places, as the mushrooms will dry unevenly on them.
- It is also necessary to select and set aside already completely dried fruits. The degree of drying mushroom should be such that it does not break or crumble, but easily folded.
- Fully dried mushrooms should stand at a temperature of 21-24 degrees for 2-3 hours.
The finished mushrooms remain to be put away for storage.
Drying mushrooms naturally
You can dry mushrooms naturally in any warm and dry place. For this purpose, such options are suitable:
– attic of a country house;
– a veranda that is well ventilated;
– penumbra or any sunny place;
Drying mushrooms over a gas or electric stove is not recommended, as they will absorb fat and odors from the stove, which will spoil their flavor.
For this purpose, mushrooms should also be picked and strung on thick, lavsan threads. And different-sized specimens should be collected on different threads. Mushrooms should be strung not in a continuous row, but make knots between several copies. This will create a free space between the pieces for better air circulation.
After that, the sets are hung so that they are well ventilated. If it is supposed to dry in the fresh air, then it is better to cover the products from dust and flies with gauze. Drying mushrooms naturally will take place for 2-4 days. During this time, it is necessary to regularly check the degree of readiness of products. Threads with already dried mushrooms should be put away for storage.
Dried at home mushrooms are stored for about 6 months, which is enough until the middle of winter and into the spring. Therefore, if the products are prepared at different times, it is worth signing the dates of preparation on the containers with them. This will allow you to use the products in a timely manner, and therefore with maximum benefit.