Updated: Apr 23
Learn how to dry your mushrooms for long-term storage.
Now that you’ve grown your first successful batch of mushrooms, it’s time to dry them for long-term storage. If you don’t dry them properly, they will decompose and leave you with a stinky, useless mess.
And since mushrooms are 90% water, you’re going to have to work a little bit to get all that moisture out and keep it out.
To enjoy your mushrooms over the course of many months, follow these 5 tips to properly dry your fungi.
Tip #1 – Avoid the dehydrator immediately after harvest
I know you're excited about your enormous crop of mushrooms. But let's wait a second before they head to the dehydrator.
Mushrooms are 90% water and lose moisture quickly. And If you stick them in the dehydrator immediately, the drying process could take several more hours than needed.
Here's what to do instead: simply toss your mushrooms into a paper bag for 24 hours.
Mushrooms will lose much of their moisture through natural evaporation after harvest during this period. Placing them in a paper bag or a cardboard box will help speed the evaporation process along.
Tip #2 – Invest in a digital dehydrator
Everything is digital these days. You can buy dehydrators programmed to give you complete control over the temperature and duration of the drying process. This is a good thing because it gives you the ability to properly dry your medicinal mushrooms without compromising the quality of medicine found inside the mushrooms.
Most medicinal mushrooms can be safely dehydrated at 155 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 hours.
You can go as low as 120 degrees but should expect to nearly double the time to 24-32 hours.
Once dry, your mushrooms should easily snap in half. When they do that, they’re “cracker dry” and that means they’re perfectly dried.
Digital dehydrators help you keep complete control over the drying process. Here are a few specific reasons why you should consider investing in one:
Complete control over the drying process
Can be used for other projects such as jerky or dried fruit!
Often include metal trays in lieu of plastic
Here's an example of the kind of dehydrator I use! It includes metal trays, temperature control, and duration control. It also has a large capacity for dehydrating several ounces at once.
Find it on Amazon here.
Tip #3 – Use a desiccant bag and a mason jar
After you’ve dried your mushrooms, you’ll want to keep the moisture out. Dried mushrooms can absorb water out of the ambient air. This means you’ll need some help keeping those mushrooms dry. Enter desiccant bags.
Desiccant bags are usually Tyvek bags filled with a drying agent. These agents absorb excess moisture in the ambient environment. Works best with a tight-fitting container. This leads us to tip #4!
This is relatively straightforward. Store all your happy little fungi in mason jars with tight-fitting lids. These jars do not need to be “sealed.” However, to extend the shelf life of the dried fungi, you should use the mason jar with desiccant bags.
Combining desiccant bags and mason jars will keep your fungi cracker crisp!
Buy some desiccant bags!
Tip #4 – Store in the dark
According to researchers, storing medicinal mushrooms in the dark is the best way to ensure low degradation of medicinal qualities.
“The lowest decay was seen in dried biomass [mushrooms] stored in the dark at room temperature.”
Klára Gotvaldová et al. “Stability of psilocybin and its four analogs in the biomass of the psychotropic mushroom Psilocybe cubensis” Drug Testing and Analysis. Vol. 13, Iss 2.
Tip #5 – Consider making chocolates or mushroom vitamins
If you’re using medicinal mushrooms, consider drying and milling your mushrooms into a fine powder and adding it to chocolate. Chocolate naturally repels water and when chocolate and mushroom powder mix, the chocolate will help repel water that might be inside your dried mushrooms. Find a recipe here.
Additionally, you could make your own mushroom vitamins as a long-term storage solution. Check out this blog post about it.
You should always consult with a physician before taking supplements! =)
The bottom line: Dried mushrooms keep a long time
You worked hard to grow your mushrooms. Make the investment to properly dry them for long-term storage and enjoyment. A digital dehydrator is ideal, especially for medicinal mushrooms. Once your mushrooms are cracker dry, then you’ll be able to use them to make chocolates, mushroom vitamins, or whatever else you’d like!
Check out how to make your own mushroom supplements here!
Grow your own mushrooms at home!
Growing your own mushrooms is so easy! Just add your own spores and follow these three steps.