In the middle of last week, I was looking at half a punnet of mushrooms, wondering how on earth I would use them up before they went bad. Ryan hates mushrooms, so they don’t feature in many meals, and only in big chunks where he can fish them out…. But I love them, so I do want them occasionally.

It occurred to me that the time had come to do something I have been pondering for a long time, and buy a dehydrator. So I did.

My new dehydrator

It’s not a particularly fancy one, but it came with plenty of trays (6, I think) and it has a temperature control, so that’s fine.

Following some American advice, I sliced and washed and dried my mushrooms, but I suspect that washing them isn’t necessary, and a quick brush would have been enough to get them clean.

Sliced mushrooms
Sliced mushrooms. No, really.

Giving them plenty of space, I laid them out in a single layer across one and a half trays, set the machine on full power (70 C) and left it to it. About 6 hours later, the mushrooms had shrunk and wrinkled (shrinkled!), and I turned the machine off and let them cool down.

Dehydrated button mushrooms
Dehydrated mushrooms

The slices are incredibly light, and can be torn like paper, but they’re not super-crispy. I have put them in a glass storage jar for now. When it comes time to use them, they’ll need soaking in boiling water for about 30 mins, and can then be used like fresh mushrooms.

I know almost nothing about dehydrating, so we’re looking at some fun drying experiments for the months ahead. I bought it with drying leftover veg in mind, and herbs for cooking and teas. Maybe some homegrown soft fruit. But I have since read accounts of dehydrating watermelon (which concentrates the flavour), and making fruit leathers and beef jerky, and Ryan is keen to try some of those.

So please do share your dehydrating advice and recipes 🙂