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Drying and Storing Oyster Mushrooms

Posted by on July 12, 2009

When you find a good oyster mushroom source, you often find more than you can eat right away. Oysters don’t store or keep very long after picking, so you are better off to store some for those cold winter months. My favorite way to keep mushrooms around is to dry them. After eating my fill of the harvest, and sharing some , I proceded to dry the excess. The process is simple and easy to do! First you clean the mushrooms. This batch was pretty clean since they came off of coffee grounds. I had to rinse them a little and dryed them off on paper towels. The mushrooms were then torn along the gills to a mangeable size. This batch was dryed on racks on the counter for several days.

fresh oysters on drying wrackfresh oysters on drying wrack

After a few day of drying the mushrooms looked like this. Notice how they have shrunken up since mushrooms are mostly water!

dryed oysters on drying wrackdryed oysters on drying wrack

When drying large amounts of mushrooms or meaty mushrooms, we use a dehydrator. The main thing is to make sure they are completely dry before you jar them up. At this point they go into labeled mason jars for storage. When rehydrating mushrooms you can boil them a bit in water. Make sure you use or save the broth. This is where the flavor is! Rehydrating in milk works well, especially if you are going to flour and fry them or make gravy. I like to throw them in soups or sauces and let them rehydrate in the liquid of the dish. Mushroom soups made from dryed mushrooms are excellent and in most cases,  better than fresh mushroom soup. So pick when you can, eat all you can, and store the rest. You will be very happy you did on those months when the mushrooms are not flushing!

18 Responses to Drying and Storing Oyster Mushrooms

  1. Jesse Taylor

    Just what I needed! Thanks! I found a huge Oyster tree today, and ate a bellyfull for dinner, and was going to dry the rest for later. I was trying to dry them whole, but I see now that I should cut them up into strips. (They probably won’t dry whole, will they?) … Glad I looked at this :)

  2. Dean

    Great, they store well dried.
    They will dry whole, but it takes longer and you risk mold. I tear them along the gills to separate them. It is easier and less work than cutting them! Discard the tougher stems to the compost pile. Happy Hunting,
    Dean
    Happy hunting and harvesting.

  3. leanore hanks

    thanks. I found a huge source of oyster mushrooms today

  4. Scott Hagee

    Dear Dean, I found your information to be right on. I have a question about drying large amounts of Oyster Mushrooms. When using a Dehydrator can you just throw the whole mushroom in (with out the stem of corse) or is it still a better idea to tear them a long the gills into strips? Also, have you ever used sweet rice to grow your Oyster Mushrooms? I’m going to be trying this soon to see if it changes my flavor at all. Thank you for your help and information. I hope your having a great day. Scott

  5. Dean

    Hi Scott and thank you for your comment!
    I have dried whole oysters in the dehydrator. They dried well as long as they were not to large. For cooking in stews or soups, I prefer the strips. If am going to powder the oysters, say for a gravy or thickener, then the whole mushroom works fine. I have not grown on rice yet, but I know the substrate effects the flavor of the mushroom. Let us know how you do,
    Dean

  6. microfungi-the mushroom expert

    you can also dry oyster mushroom in sun, just spread them on a plastic sheet and cover them with black cloth and do this for 2-3 days

  7. Dean

    Hello, and welcome to Montana Mushrooms!
    That sounds like a great way to dry a bunch of mushrooms.I will give a try!
    Thank you for the information,
    Dean

  8. shaguna agarwal

    would you be able to tell me what dried oyster mushrooms can be used for apart from food industry?

  9. Dean

    Hello Shaguna, and welcome to Montana Mushrooms! The only other use that I know of is to reduce cholesterol.It has the same chemical in it as Lipitor. I don’t know of anyone using it for this except me, and I am just eating them.
    Talk to you soon,
    Dean

  10. subham

    sir we grow oyster mushroom in india at a small scale. i want to know is there any other business scope in mushroom. we. produce reasonable amount of mushroom but we sell at that time only as it does not last for long. plz provide me some information that we can do diversified business in mushroom

  11. Kym Ward

    Hello,
    Found your site after having a tremendous hunt today.
    I was wondering, I have an old screen that is 3′ x 4′, could I set the screen on saw horses and dry them in the sun?
    Do I put paper towels over or on top of?
    Thank you for your time and knowledge!

    Kym Ward
    Preston, Idaho

  12. Dean

    Hi Kym, and welcome to Montana Mushrooms!
    You can dry mushrooms on a screen in the sun. I prefer the dehydrator because it is more consistent. Just remember when drying mushrooms, air circulation is much more important than heat. Some will say that the sun will remove the nutrients and others will say that it adds vitamin A to them.
    Whatever it takes to get them dry quickly because thw worms just love oyster mushrooms!
    Let us know how you do,
    Dean

  13. Kris

    Thanks for the great info… The oysters are really going off right now. What’s your favorite recipe?

  14. Dean

    Hi Kris,
    My favorite oyster recipe is to lightly oil small oysters and grill them until the edges turn light brown. A little tamari and seasoning on the gills and you have a simple, tasty meal. There are so many ways to cook oysters…it is a very under appreciated mushroom!
    Happy hunting,
    Dean

  15. alfred

    Hello ,Sir do oyster mudrooms Half to be dried to be stored ? I been cleaning and vacuum sealing and then frizzing.. Is that OK ? what are all the ways to store them ? Thank You

  16. Dean

    Hello, and welcome to Montana Mushrooms!
    Oyster mushrooms can be dried whole or pulled apart in chunks. I also saute them and freeze them in zip lock bags. I am not familiar with vacuum packing and freezing. Let us know how they turn out!
    Happy harvesting,
    Dean

  17. Corrie

    Please tell me the dried mushrooms how long can you store them and can you put them in sealed plastic bags for storage?

  18. Dean

    Hello, and welcome to Montana Mushrooms!
    I have stored dried mushrooms for years. They have to be completely dry to be safe. Yes, sealed bags are okay for storage. I prefer glass whenever possible.
    Happy harvesting,
    Dean

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