Dehydrating fresh morels is a great way to preserve them. You can dry morel mushrooms in a food dehydrator at 125°F for 4–8 hours or in an oven at 130°F for 4–6 hours. Use your dried morel mushrooms in stews, soups, or braised dishes.
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What Are the Benefits of Dried Morels?
Dried morel mushrooms add intense flavor to savory dishes and are often used for risotto and in cream sauces. Making dried morel mushrooms at home is less expensive than buying them and allows you to have them year-round.
Aside from being all-natural, dried morel mushrooms have a lot of health benefits:
- A good source of vitamins B and D, manganese, iron, copper, and zinc
- Believed to have anti-inflammatory properties, lowering the risk of diabetes and heart disease
- They are rich in potassium and phosphorus
- Wild morel mushrooms are rich in protein, fiber, and antioxidants
How to Make Dried Morel Mushrooms
How to Dry Morel Mushrooms in a Dehydrator
Using a dehydrator is the best way to dry morel mushrooms. Dehydrators use constant airflow to evenly and gradually remove moisture.
- Pat the morel mushrooms dry with a paper towel before placing them in the dehydrator trays to remove any excess water.
- Optional: If you wish to save time, you can slice or quarter the morels; otherwise, you can dehydrate them whole.
- Arrange the morels on the dehydrator trays. If the trays have large holes, line them with parchment paper and leave space between them for better air circulation.
- Dehydrate your morels at 125ºF for 4–8 hours or until the morels are brittle, rotating the trays and flipping the pieces as necessary.
- Allow the mushrooms to come to room temperature. Test them for dryness and ensure they are brittle before storing them.
- Store dried morel mushrooms in a Mason jar, Mylar bag, or an airtight container.
- Label the storage containers, and place them in a cool, dry place for easy access.
How to Dry Morel Mushrooms in the Oven
If you don’t have a dehydrator at home, you can dry your morels in the oven.
- Place fresh morels on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in a single layer, leaving enough space between the pieces to ensure even drying.
- Dry them at 130ºF (or your oven’s lowest temperature) for approximately 4 to 8 hours, turning them every one to two hours. Prop the oven door with a spoon to improve airflow and allow humidity to escape.
- Remove the dried morel mushrooms from your oven and let them cool. Test them for dryness.
- If they aren’t fully dry, you can return them to the oven to continue drying.
- Once they are dry, store them in airtight, labeled containers.
What Do Dried Morel Mushrooms Taste Like?
When used in recipes, dried morel mushrooms add a rich, earthy flavor with strong umami notes. Rehydrated morel mushrooms have a soft, spongy texture but retain the flavor of fresh morel mushrooms.
How Do You Use Dried Morel Mushrooms?
Here are some ideas for using dried morel mushrooms:
- Add fresh herbs: Consider tossing basil, shallots, thyme, and chopped garlic with morel mushrooms to highlight their woodsy, earthy flavor.
- Meat substitute: For a vegetarian or vegan-friendly dish, use dried morel mushrooms instead of meat.
- Risotto: Use the soaking liquid from morel mushrooms as a backdrop for a rich risotto. Top the dish with whole morels for a stunning presentation.
- Sauce: You can use dried morels to make a cream sauce by sauteeing them with garlic and white wine.
- Soups: Add richness and depth of flavor to hearty vegetable soups and stews.
- Topping: Add them as a topping for rice, pasta, or pizza.
Can You Eat Dehydrated Morels without Cooking Them?
No. Never eat raw, dehydrated morels. Raw morels contain trace amounts of toxins, which are destroyed when cooked.
Some people may also be allergic to raw or undercooked morel mushrooms. As with any new food, make sure to eat moderate amounts if you’re eating wild-harvested morels for the first time.
How to Rehydrate Dried Morel Mushrooms
While some recipes require soaking dried morel mushrooms in cold water for a specific period before cooking, the most common method requires soaking the morels in warm water.
To reconstitute or rehydrate dried morel mushrooms, follow these steps:
- Place the amount you want to use in a bowl.
- Cover with boiling water for 15-20 minutes or until the morels are soft and pliable.
- Once reconstituted, use a coffee filter to strain the soaking water.
- Reserve the soaking water as it is packed with flavor and can be used as a broth.
Once rehydrated, dried morel mushrooms will increase to around ten times their original size. Be sure to cook them before eating them.
Are Morel Mushrooms the Best Mushrooms for Dehydrating?
Morels have the distinction of being more widely available as morel season is during the Spring when most other varieties are unavailable.