or spur-of-the-moment meals, or when your favorite fungi are out of season, there is nothing handier than a supply of dried mushrooms in the cupboard. We think of dried mushrooms as an extension of the spice cabinet—in other words, a kitchen essential. Our full collection of five types of mushrooms (plus porcini powder) will make a welcome gift for the cook who has everything. Surely the most ancient form of food preservation, drying foraged mushrooms was once the only way to keep them around for future use. Since much of the weight of a mushroom is moisture, a dried mushroom packs intense flavor. You can use fewer of them than you might when cooking with fresh.
Storage and Use
Keep dried mushrooms in a dark, dry place, or in the freezer, to extend their shelf life. To reconstitute mushrooms, rinse then place the desired amount in a heat-proof bowl and cover with warm to hot (not boiling) water for about 20 minutes until soft and springy. You can weigh the mushrooms down with a plate, as they tend to float. After they have rehydrated, lift them from the bowl with a slotted spoon, or drain in a fine colander. Set the mushrooms on a paper towel to absorb any remaining moisture.
Keep the mushroom liquor, as the steeped liquid is called, for use in your recipe; drain it through a paper towel, coffee filter or mesh sieve to get rid of any crumbly bits of mushroom. Don’t waste any of that precious flavor; this nectar can be used in sauces, soups, sautés, rice or pasta, to enrich the mushroom essence. You can reduce it, adding an appropriate alcohol and finish with a lacing of cream or truffle butter.
If you have no immediate need for the mushroom liquor, freeze it in an ice cube tray for use in future. Your sauces will benefit from a hit of mushroom essence. The reconstituted mushrooms can take the place of fresh mushrooms in just about any recipe. Just chop and go.
Just a few ideas for cooking with dried mushrooms
- Stews & Soups … In a slow cooker or a soup pot, simply add soaked and chopped mushrooms along with mushroom liquor for deeply-infused fungi flavor. Dried porcini, with meaty texture and strong, aromatic taste are perfect for soups and pair well with chestnuts.
- Praise the Braise … When you are cooking low and slow, the deep flavors of dried mushrooms can be truly appreciated. Along with the rehydrated mushrooms, the mushroom liquor will infuse any braise liquid with extra umami. Try this recipe, where the delicate taste of veal tenderloin takes on a bold accent of porcini.
- Silky Sauces … Cream sauces love chanterelles, and those apricot-scented golden mushrooms seem to return the favor. The dried stems tend to be chewy, so cut them off and discard, or save to make mushroom stock. Chanterelles also pair well with your favorite chicken, salmon and pork recipes.
- Pasta & Risotto … Rabbit and papardelle pasta benefit from a mix of dried porcini and fresh mushrooms, and a mushroom ragu makes the perfect tagliatelle topper.
- A Good Egg … Be it omelets, frittatas, scrambled eggs or quiche, practically any dried mushroom will complement eggs. Try our dried mushroom mix for a full range of flavorful fungi in your next egg dish. Be sure to drain the soaked mushrooms well and pat dry before cooking.
- Magic Powder … Our porcini powder is the secret to imparting the full power of the porcini mushroom into spice rubs, dredges, sautés, creamy dips, sauces and anywhere you want a little magic. We even use it on our Mushroom Lover’s Burger.
- Cheese It … Cheese makes almost everything better. This Yukon gold potato gratin balances the rich, fragrant and earthy flavor of dried morels with the creamy loveliness of Gruyère cheese. Add a mushroom kick to your favorite mac ‘n’ cheese recipe with finely chopped, dried black trumpets or morels.