Before your mushrooms go slimy in the back of the fridge, dry them out to store them. Dried mushrooms are marketed as a gourmet ingredient when, really, they’re very simple to make. I keep my eyes peeled for mushrooms on special offer, or in the reduced chiller at the supermarket, and stock up on them to dry out at home.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Clean any dirt from your mushrooms with a dry tea towel or dish cloth, with paper towel or – as I do – use a clean soft toothbrush. Slice or chop the mushrooms as desired. Chopping them into smallish pieces means that they will dry quicker, but slices look nice – it’s up to you. Lay the prepared mushrooms on a baking tray and put into the preheated oven for 45 minutes, turning halfway through.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to use the oven, cover the baking tray with a clean tea towel and leave it on the side in the kitchen for 2 days (away from any curious pets!) Remove, cool and transfer the dried mushrooms to a clean jar or airtight container.
TIP: Dried mushrooms have a stronger flavour than fresh mushrooms, so a few will go a long way Add them to soups, stocks, casseroles and risottos to reconstitute – the mushrooms will plump back up when they have absorbed some liquid.
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