Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mushrooms Galorie

Today I was blessed with five boxes of mushroom's. What to do with all these before they go bad? I am not one to waste anything, if I can help it. So, I certainly do not want these little gems to go bad, but there is no way we will get them ate before then. Why? I am currently on a diet which doesn't allow for mushrooms during this phase of the diet. Thus, I must find a way to preserve these until that the time comes I can use them.

I could blanch and freeze them, but they just aren't the same after the are frozen. I could pressure can them in jars. They are excellent that way an will last a year, but it is 9:30 PM. If I start that process I will need to finish it which will take a couple of hours from start to finish. The easiest and most efficient way for me to preserve them quickly is to Dehydrate them.

How does one go about dehydrating mushrooms? Well, first I wash them. I know....I know....mushrooms are suppose to be handled gently and wiped with a damp cloth and not washed. But I am not one to totally stick to all the "rules", so I dumped them all into a colander, made sure they were all sliced about the same thickness, then ran water over them while I shook, rotated and washed them. Then I placed them on the drying trays and placed in the dehydrator. They will dry in about 4 to 6 hours at a temperature of 125 degrees.

 Here is what they look like after the drying process is complete. They are like little brown clouds, very light weight, spongy and leathery. What can one do with dried mushrooms? Well, they can be added to soups, stews, vegetables and sauces. They will reconstitute while in the cooking process. If you want to reconstitute them by themselves for a salad or to saute' the here is what you do:
Pour 1/4 cup hot water over 1/3 cup dried mushrooms in a narrow, high-walled container. Soak for 20 to 30 minutes or longer until soft, adding more water if needed. Yield: about 1/3 cup mushrooms. Now you can use them in your usual manner.
What's the old saying...."Waste Not, Want Not".... Now I will have mushrooms to use for several months all because I took a few minutes to place these babies in the dehydrator for later use. Have you ever tried to dehydrate different food items? You might say, "I don't have a dehydrator". Well, you are in luck. You don't have to have a dehydrator to dry food. You can use your oven on its lowest temperature, just have to check your items more often. Because the items will dry out sooner. If you are in a warmer climate area or during the summer months, you can place food items on screens outside in the sun and dry them "a-la-natural". Why not give it a try next time you have an abundance of a particular food item. You might find that you really enjoy them.


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