How to Use Dried Mushrooms
Using Dried Mushrooms
Shown below are dried Shiitake mushrooms. Shiitakes are especially good because of high levels of amino acid glutamate that gives them a potent meaty, smoky flavor. They are the only mushroom that grows on logs instead of in the ground, so they are cleaner than the rest. It’s recommended by chefs to simply wipe them clean with a dry paper towel and then remove the tough stem to prepare them, instead of washing them like regular mushrooms.
There are several advantages to using mushrooms from the dried state. The next paragraph explains how to use fresh mushrooms and then the remaining paragraphs go on to list other advantages of these little gems.
Using dried mushrooms is easy.
All that’s needed is for the water to be restored. Just pour boiling water over the dried mushrooms and then let them sit in the water. They will reabsorb all the water they need in about 30 minutes. They will become soft when they are ready to use. Then, just wipe them off. They are ready to use in any recipe that calls for cooked mushrooms after those few steps.
They can be used right from the package.
That’s right, they can be eaten dried right from the package. Try grinding them into a salt like substance which can then be used to top dishes such as a bowl of popcorn!
They’re relatively cheap.
They cost about half as much as fresh mushrooms and you get about 9 times as much! Yes, it takes nine ounces of fresh mushrooms to make just one ounce of dried mushrooms!
They are full of flavor.
Dried mushrooms are umami gold! They have super concentrated flavor, far more than canned and even slightly more than fresh. Plus, the liquid that they soak in to reconstitute also provides great flavor (next bullet)!
Get soup at the same time. Save the liquid that was used to soak the mushrooms. Use the soaking liquid in place of water when making rice or other grains, as the broth for delicious mushroom soup or as the liquid in the dish that includes the mushrooms. It will add extra flavor.
They have a long shelf life.
The shelf life of dried mushrooms is far longer than the shelf life of fresh mushrooms. A package of dried mushrooms will last for a minimum of a year in a pantry or cabinet. Take it a step further and place the package into an airtight freezer container, and they could be kept in the freezer for many years. Plus, they take up less space in the cupboard than canned.
Dried mushrooms can be subbed for fresh mushrooms.
Actually, dried mushrooms have a richer, more intense flavor than fresh ones once they are rehydrated. To rehydrate, soak the dried shiitake in boiling water that has been removed from the heat. Soak for 30 minutes. Pat the mushrooms dry after soaking and then use them exactly the same as any fresh mushrooms.
Mushrooms are fungi, so why eat them?
The umami flavor just makes everything taste more interesting.
How to Use Dried Mushrooms
To find out how long mushrooms last, see our mushroom page.