Dehydrated Mushrooms

When I was very young in South India we would spend a week during the hottest part of the summer vacationing in the Palani Hills where it was much cooler. Up there we could get plums, apricots, raspberries, mushrooms and other produce not available down on the hot plains.

One year my mom bought an entire basket of mushrooms with the idea of drying them in the sun for later use. The lady selling the mushrooms (who probably gathered them herself that morning) must have been surprised that her entire inventory sold on possibly her first sale of the day. My mom spread the mushrooms out on newspaper outside the cabin. Only one problem. In the hills it rained every afternoon about the same time. I remember more than once scrambling to gather them up and bring them inside before they got soaked. Mushrooms were not something I was familiar with and I found the odor strong enough when they were drying outside. Inside the little cabin overnight the smell was overwhelming.

Needless to say. It wasn’t until adulthood I developed a taste for mushrooms. Now I love them.

When I buy mushrooms I rarely use the entire package at one time. The leftover mushrooms I put in a paper bag and refrigerate. More times than not they get shoved to the back of the refrigerator and I forget about them until it’s too late to do anything with them.

Today I did something different. I bought 3 packages. Much more than I can use right now. I saved out 3 or 4 mushrooms to use in the next salad and dehydrated the rest. So, hopefully there will be no waste. Each package filled up a tray in the dehydrator. The dried mushrooms will come in handy in soups, casseroles, gravies, patties etc.

mushrooms 1mushrooms 2

Oh. By the way. I do (unapologetically) wash my mushrooms. I rinse them off quickly, avoiding wetting the gills, and I dry them off immediately. I remember reading some years ago that a test was done where mushrooms were weighed on a very sensitive scale before washing and again after washing and there was no difference in weight. Is it not during a rainy night that mushrooms pop up out of the ground? Doesn’t seem like an aversion to dampness to me.

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