Rehydrating Dried Mushrooms
These often-overlooked mainstays of yum keep the deliciousness of mushrooms at your fingertips year-round.
Dried mushrooms are a quick and always handy way of having the luscious flavor of wild mushrooms whenever you want. The brief fresh season for wild mushrooms always leaves you longing for more. Sometimes I even opt for using dried over fresh when I’m in a hurry. Dried mushrooms are often easier to use and are always less expensive than their fresh equivalents.
It’s long overdue in this country for delicious and endlessly useful dried wild mushrooms to take their place in American pantries. They are fabulous. A wide array of dried wild mushrooms are extremely popular and treasured culinary tools in France, Italy, China, Germany, and so many other countries. Dried porcini, morels, black trumpets, fairy rings, and yellow feet each have unique flavor profiles. At least two of these should be in every pantry.A pound of dried mushrooms began as 9-14 pounds of fresh depending on the mushroom. Roughly 3 oz of dried mushrooms replaces a pound of fresh. With dried wild mushrooms on hand, you never have to wait for the rich exotic flavor of wild mushrooms.
Put the dried mushrooms in tepid water for at least 15 minutes, depending on how thick the dried mushroom is. I like a narrow tall bowl to soak them in. This concentrates any potential debris or sand in the bottom of the bowl, leaving the rehydrating mushrooms floating in the clean water above.
Vigorous swishing after five minutes of soaking allows any sand or particles (if present) to loosen, fall, and settle to the bottom. Two varieties, black trumpets and mousseron, usually require a second soaking & swishing in a new change of water since they grow in sand-prone areas.
When the mushrooms are soft and pliable, gently lift the mushrooms out of the water.
Strain this water through a fine sieve. A coffee filter in a funnel also works well . The clean strained mushroom water can be added to stock or used in a sauce.
Your clean, rehydrated mushrooms are plumped and ready to cook.
After this process, chop and use the rehydrated mushrooms as you wish. Now they are ready for a quick sauté in butter or olive oil alone or with some garlic, shallots, or onions. After this they can join whatever dish you want, be it a mushroom sauce for steak, pasta sauce, into a quesadilla, onto browned chicken, chops or wherever your fancy takes you.