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dehydrator vs. air dry?

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Rising Star
Hello fellow seekers!

This may be kind of a silly question but:

Do mushrooms hold their potency better when dried quickly with a dehydrator, or more gradually by air dry on a rack or something?

I am aware that when drying herbs, you don't want to use a dehydrator because the herb loses it's potency and much of its fragrance. Drying vegetables such as hot peppers with a dehydrator doesn't seem to effect the level of heat much. Does the same apply to mushrooms?


Hey SM,

When I first started growing mushrooms, I always dried them with a screen and fan setup until cracker dry. No problems there. I eventually moved on to using a dehydrator, and while it may be anecdotal, I haven't noticed any loss in potency while using it.

My lowest setting on the dehydrator is 95F. I usually dry my mushrooms between 95-105F and it takes a couple days to dry fully depending on how many mushrooms I'm trying to do at once. You could probably get away with using more heat, but I try to play it safe. In fact, my first cheap dehydrator didn't have any temperature controls, so I have no idea how hot that operated. Still, the mushrooms came out fine.

As I mentioned a few minutes ago in a truffle thread, after dehydrating, I place my cubes into a vacuum sealed bag with a food safe oxygen absorber, then into the freezer. This may be a bit of overkill, but I never understood why that is a bad thing, you know? We spend a couple months cultivating to receive a wonderful gift from mother nature so it only makes sense to protect that gift as much as possible until consumption, IMHO.

I wish there was a way to keep fresh mushrooms fresh though...I love a solid dose of some fresh mush!

Awesome, thanks for the reply TGO! I've only eaten a couple fresh ones but I can only imagine how it must impact the experience. I just love the little guys :love:
Dehydrator at 35-40 C (95-105 F) and no problems with potency loss. The only case when I encountered potency loss was when I cut shrooms too finely - but cannot say for sure.

One person in my country does a research on potency loss in mushrooms depending on drying method. They test plain air drying, warm air drying (food dehydrator) and lyophilization (freeze drying).

The state-of-the-art method is probably to deep freeze the freshly picked shrooms (e.g. in a dry ice - this will freeze the water without making crystals / breaking cell structure and stops enzymatic reactions), then freeze-dry them. Unfortunately, freeze dryers are still an expensive option for a home cultivator unless you can build your own (using vacuum pump, vacuum chamber and a cold trap).
OMG what, you can freeze em without bursting cells ? This turns me on a bit / lot.

30+ degrees is good in a small insulated box or bag (food/picnic box for day trips), heat mat and fan inside too. EDIT: Mat is connected to a thermostat also! Works very well. Then to the box of oven dehydrated Epsom salt. A net bag from some tangerines or a split open dish cloth will keep them from touching it. They were nice and potent ;)

I think drying them rapidly is very important because they'll otherwise begin to rot. Dehydrators should be fine so long as the setting is low. I only split big monstrous fatties that will take too long.
Orion said:
OMG what, you can freeze em without bursting cells ? This turns me on a bit / lot.

Yeah, some damage is always done by freezing water but at least the flash freeze does not allow large water crystals to form - these are sharp and pinch the cell walls.

Orion said:
30+ degrees is good in a small insulated box or bag (food/picnic box for day trips), heat mat and fan inside too.

Good idea about the heat mat + fan.

I use 35 C for 11 hours but sometimes 40 C and over 12 hours is needed when the weather is cold and humid.

When dried, I put them in a vacuum sealed box with a bed of silicagel (crystal cat litter). It can suck a few extra grams of water.

The only problem I have are that the stems are never cracker dry until I pre-cut them in half. They bend like a piece of rubber and micro-droplets of water appear when squeezed very hard even after several hours of drying.
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