Your Oven Is The Best Way To Dry Morel Mushrooms

Dried morel mushrooms in bowl
Dried morel mushrooms in bowl - litchima/Shutterstock

A rare wild mushroom with a unique appearance, taste, and texture, morel mushrooms are a prized delicacy. Add to that their short shelf life and brief season and you have one of the most sought-after fungi by enthusiasts. It's no wonder drying them is such a common practice since you get to enjoy this tasty, umami-packed dish all year round. And the best way to go about this dehydration process is by using your oven.

Drying morels comes with many advantages. Apart from the extended shelf life, there's flavor concentration and reduced weight and size which makes transportation and storage easier. Out of the three methods of drying these mushrooms (using a dehydrator, oven drying, or air-drying), the oven takes the win as the most ideal and convenient option. First, most people already own an oven, unlike a dehydrator which isn't a common household appliance. Secondly, dehydrating mushrooms in an oven takes just a few hours while the other equipment-free method of airdrying can take several days.

Furthermore, oven drying guarantees a consistent and more predictable drying result, unlike air drying which can easily be affected by fluctuating temperatures and humidity. Additionally, there's a risk of contamination and predators due to the exposed setup.

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How To Oven Dry Morel Mushrooms

Morel mushrooms on wooden board
Morel mushrooms on wooden board - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Oven drying is a straightforward process once you get the hang of it. Begin by washing the mushrooms thoroughly. This requires special attention because dirt can easily lodge in the pitted flesh of this fungus. After washing, dry the mushrooms then preheat your oven at the lowest temperature setting, usually around 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

You have a few options for placing the morels in the oven. The easiest way is to spread them out into one layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or on a cooling rack placed on top of the baking sheet. Alternatively, you can hang the mushrooms from the oven racks either by stringing the morels together in a line or piercing them one by one with expanded paper clips serving as miniature hangers. The idea with all these placement methods is to ensure maximum air circulation around the morels to allow for even and quick drying.

You'll know the morels are well-dried when they turn brittle, which can take about 8 hours. Once ready, remove them from the oven and let them cool completely then pack in an airtight container labelled with the date. Stored in a cool dark place, these dried morels can last six months to a year so you can enjoy your favorite mushroom recipes whenever you like.

Read the original article on Tasting Table