Sensational Mushrooms: Drying Morels to Save Money and Time

dried morel mushrooms
Dehydration is a great way to preserve morel mushrooms and make them easy to use. The best methods of drying morel mushrooms include using a food dehydrator, in the oven, or by air drying them. You can tell they are completely dry when they are crispy. Once they are fully dried, store morel mushrooms in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. 

Morel mushrooms are a powerhouse ingredient full of delicious, meaty flavor. They’re great in gravies, stews, soups, and comforting dishes.

Unfortunately, morel mushrooms are available for only a short season. That’s why learning how to dehydrate and preserve morel mushrooms is essential if you want to enjoy an abundant stock of your favorite fungi, even when they are out of season. 

Drying Morel Mushrooms Guide

There are several ways to dry morel mushrooms. The most common methods are air drying, oven-drying, and using a food dehydrator.

Preparing Morels for Dehydrating

Whether you go morel mushroom hunting or buy fresh morels from your local grocery store, they will likely have soil on them. Due to the many pockets that morels have, they often attract critters and will have more dirt than other types of mushrooms.

Therefore, it’s important to clean morel mushrooms before drying them. Make sure to remove all the dirt from each morel mushroom by giving them a soak in cold water, and rinse them afterwards in running water.

Once the dirt is removed, pat them dry with paper towels to ready them for dehydrating!

Rinsing morel mushrooms under a running faucet to remove dirt.
Rinsing morel mushrooms

1. Air-drying Morel Mushrooms

You don’t need any special tools for this method. All you need is a string or floss to hang them , and perhaps a needle or small knife to make a hole to string them through.

Here’s how to do it: 

  1. Slice your mushrooms in half. Use a needle or knife to make a small hole in each mushroom where your string will go through to hang them. Thread mushrooms one at a time.
  2. Knot the thread or floss at each end of the cleaned morel mushrooms, leaving some space between the morels to prevent them from sliding and touching one another. This will allow proper air circulation around the mushrooms.  
  3. Hang the morel mushrooms in a cool, dry place until they are fully dry. Drying time ranges from 2 to 7 days. 

2. Drying Morel Mushrooms in a Food dehydrator

Drying morel mushrooms in a dehydrator is easy and doesn’t require constant babysitting. Ultimately, you can save a lot of money on groceries, as you can dry a lot of morels and enjoy them at any time of the year. 

Here’s how to dry morel mushrooms in a dehydrator: 

  1. After washing your mushrooms, cut them into ½-inch slices to speed up the drying process.
  2. Arrange the mushroom pieces on the drying racks and avoid packing them too closely or arranging them on top of each other. 
  3. Set up your food dehydrator and turn it on using a low setting (115°F to 135°F) and dehydrate them for 4 to 12 hours.
  4. Check on the mushrooms every other hour and take them out of the dehydrator when they are fully dry.

3. Drying Morel Mushrooms in the Oven

If you don’t have a food dehydrator, you can dry morel mushrooms in the oven by following these steps: 

  1. Clean the morel mushrooms in readiness for drying. 
  2. Slice the mushrooms into small ½-inch-thick slices. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 140°F. Keep the oven door slightly open to increase airflow.
  4. Arrange your morel mushrooms in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Make sure there are spaces between the mushrooms pieces.   
  5. Put the baking sheet in the oven and let the morels dry for one hour. Rotate them and return them for an additional hour. 
  6. Depending on the size or thickness of your morel mushrooms, the drying process can take up to 8 hours. 

Why Dried Morels Can be Better than Fresh

Dehydration is an effective method of preserving various types of mushrooms. 

But there are other benefits of dehydrating mushrooms, as well. Dried morels have a more concentrated flavor than fresh morels, making them perfect for various recipes. 

In addition, dried morels are lighter and easier to carry than fresh morels, making them an excellent option for backpacking or camping trips.  

However, dried morels are not the same as fresh ones. Although they are better suited for sauces, stews, and soups, they are less suited to sautees and other culinary applications because the texture of the morels changes during the drying process. 

Fresh morel mushroom in the forest.
Fresh morel mushroom

Is it Better to Dehydrate or Freeze Morels?

Freeze-drying morels is better than dehydrating them. Freeze drying is the best method of preservation when it comes to quality, longevity, and maintaining the most nutritional value of these wild mushrooms.

Freeze-dried morels have a shelf life of over 20+ years and retain up to 95 percent of their nutrients. Once re-hydrated and cooked, freeze-dried morels can rival fresh morels in terms of flavor and nutrition. However, you will need a special machine to freeze-dry morels, which can be an expensive investment.

It’s important to note that dehydrated morel mushrooms can be stored in airtight containers for up to an year. This method of food preservation is popular because it’s so easy to do. And if you love making a lot of gravy, stews, or soups, this is the best way of drying your morel mushrooms.

How Long Does it Take to Dry Morels?

Air drying morels takes about 2 to 7 days. If you’re using a good dehydrator, the drying time varies from 4 to 12 hours. You can also dry wild morels in an oven within 8 hours.

The amount of time it takes to dry morel mushrooms using any of these methods varies depending on their thickness.

Generally, the thicker the morels, the more water content they have, and the longer it takes to dry them.

Why Rehydrating Morels is Magic

The drying process concentrates flavor in morel mushrooms. When you hydrate them, they add all their strong aromas to your dishes for a memorable culinary experience! 

Also, dried morels are very convenient to use and quick to rehydrate. Simply place your desired amount in a bowl of hot water. Let them sit until the mushrooms are soft, around 20 minutes. 

Reserve the water that you use to hydrate the morels. This soaking liquid has a lot of morel essence and can add flavor to other dishes. That is the beauty and magic of dried mushrooms.

Do Dry Morels Need to be Cooked Before Eating?

Yes, dried morels should always be cooked before eating. Raw morel mushrooms contain hydrazine, a toxin that can cause illness if you consume them raw.

Storage and Shelf Life of Dehydrated Morels

When properly stored, dehydrated morel mushrooms last indefinitely. However, they may lose some flavor if they are kept for a very long time. 

Store your dried morels in an airtight container in a cool, dry place to prevent water or moisture from spoiling them. 

It is also important to ensure that all dried vegetables are stored in a dark place at room temperature to prevent light from damaging them. 

Dried morel mushrooms stored in an airtight container in a dark, cool, and dry place can last for 2 to 3 years without degrading the quality or flavor of the mushrooms. 

5 Exciting Ways to Use Dehydrated Morels

Dehydrated mushrooms are a great addition to many recipes. Most dried morel recipes are made simple to allow the morel to fully express its flavor in the dishes.

Some of the best ways to use dehydrated morel mushrooms are:

1. Dried Morels and Scrambled Eggs

Loaded with nutrients, this delectable morel mushrooms with scrambled eggs recipe is a low-carb breakfast option and a great way to kick-start your day. Simply rehydrate your dried morels before incorporating them with the eggs!

2. Fried and Breaded Morels

This incredibly popular morel recipe uses fresh morels, but you can substitute them with rehydrated dried morel. Serve them up and see everyone’s eyes roll with delight!

3. Escalopes with Dried Mushrooms

This is another classic morel recipe to try. It’s made with a fine cut of veal and flour. It’s also cooked with oil, parsley, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Dried Morel Quiche

One of the easiest morel recipes out there, sauteed morels are used to highlight the wonderful flavor of this light and delicious morel quiche! Combine all the ingredients and bake for 40 to 45 minutes.

5. Salmon with Dried Morels and Asparagus

This is a delectable dish you’ll want to try. Salmon with morels is a classic northwest dish. Although this recipe uses fresh morel mushrooms, you can use dried morels instead.

Patrick Anampiu

Patrick has a farming background and is a full-time food writer and recipe creator. His goal is to help you discover how fantastic it is to dehydrate and preserve food by sharing his knowledge. Outside of the kitchen, Patrick enjoys outdoor activities and exploring nature in all its beauty.

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