Alternative Drying Methods
by Michael Kuo
Sometimes a food dehydrator is not available, and mushrooms must be dried by other means. Ovens should never be used to dry mushrooms; they create too much heat, and wind up cooking the mushrooms, even on low settings. The methods below will dry mushrooms in a pinch--especially if the mushrooms are small, or hollow (like morels).
Pinned in a Paper Towel
This method works very well for small mushrooms, like the Inky Caps pictured in the top illustration. It is also effective for morels. Place a few mushrooms loosely in a paper towel, fold the paper towel over, and pin it to a wall somewhere. In humid conditions this method may not be very effective. For extra drying power, pin the mushrooms near a lamp, as in the second illustration--but not too close, since you don't want to start a fire! Mushrooms are typically dried within a day or two.
In dry conditions, simply stringing mushrooms up on a piece of thread and hanging them in a warm, dry place can be an effective way of drying them. This method works best for smaller mushrooms and for morels. It can even be performed outside, assuming the air is dry (bring them in at night). This method often takes a few days, and I have found that the mushrooms may need to be re-dried, later, with some sort of heat source involved.
Over a Lamp
This method is a classic for on-the-road amateur mycologists. A wire mesh or a paper towel is placed over the opening at the top of a lamp, and the mushrooms are placed on top--as in the illustration. With a wire mesh, you don't need to worry about safety issues . . . but if you use a paper towel, make sure that you're not going to start a fire. Motel lamps can easily be arranged to dry mushrooms this way--though you might get a few odd looks from the housekeeping staff.
Use these drying methods--especially the ones involving a heat source--only when you are sure you do not suffer from allergic reactions to drying mushrooms. Some people are allergic to drying mushrooms and can get headaches, or even break out in rashes, when they are around drying mushrooms.
Cite this page as:
Kuo, M. (2003, April). Alternative drying methods. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/pinch_drying.html