Storing Your Mushrooms
To store your shiitake mushrooms, keep them in the refrigerator in a loosely closed paper bag. They will keep fresh for about one week.
Preparing Your Shiitake Mushrooms
Mushrooms are very porous, so if they are exposed to too much water they will quickly absorb it and become soggy. The best way to clean mushrooms without sacrificing their texture and taste is to clean them using minimal, if any, water. Wipe them with a slightly damp paper towel or kitchen cloth. You may also use a mushroom brush, available at most kitchenware stores. Shiitake stalks, especially those from dried mushrooms, are usually removed before cooking as they are rather tough and fibrous. Set the stalks aside for soups, stews, or teas.
Cooking Your Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms are very versatile and compliment many things. Even people who don’t normally like the typical white mushrooms from the grocery store find that they truly enjoy the taste of shiitakes because it is so distinctly and flavorful. Here are some of our top suggestions for using shiitake mushrooms:
- Grill or bake mushrooms whole
- Add grilled mushrooms to vegetable stock or sauces for increased flavor
- Slice and add to stir-fries
- Add into miso soup
- Sautee with onion and garlic
Drying Your Shiitake Mushrooms
If you have too many mushrooms to use, consider drying some for future use. Dried mushrooms can stay fresh for up to 1 year, sometimes longer if stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer. Here’s how to dry your mushrooms.
- Clean mushrooms thoroughly
- Place shiitakes on wire racks or thread with fishing line
- Place the wire rack or threaded mushrooms in a warm, dry place with plenty of air circulation
- Wait about 1 week until mushrooms have dried
- You can also use a dehydrator or place the mushrooms on the lowest setting in your oven (with the door proper open by 1”) for several hours to speed up the process
- Store dried mushrooms in tightly sealed glass jars, canisters, or plastic bags for up to one year
- Keep your mushrooms in airtight containers to avoid moths and other critters from getting into your mushrooms
- Thread shiitakes through the base of the mushroom and remember to unthread them before storing
Using Dried Mushrooms
Soak shiitakes in tepid (luke warm) water for thirty minutes. This help to rehydrate them. For a faster method, soak whole or broken up pieces in enough boiling water to cover for about 20 minutes or until they plump back up. They are now ready to use in place of fresh-picked and yield a chewier texture. Save the soaking water to add to gravy or soup or enjoy it as a nourishing drink. Dried shiitakes can be broken up and added to soups, stews, sauces or any dish calling for mushrooms.
Blanching and Freezing Instructions
Blanching and freezing is another way to store your mushrooms. Blanching and freezing your mushrooms is another great way to preserve the texture and flavor of the mushrooms. Blanching is essential to the texture preservation as freezing shiitake uncooked will destroy the cellulose structure, rendering you with shiitakes mushroom slime.
- Airtight containers: glass, plastic bags and other canisters work well
- Pot for boiling mushrooms
- Clean your mushrooms thoroughly
- Chop into 1” chunks or leave small specimens whole
- Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Place mushroom into the water for about 3 minutes or until barely cooked
- Once the mushrooms are barely cooked, (they should still be firm enough to hold their shape), remove them from the water and press out the excess water. You can consider saving the water to use as a stock base for later
- Let the mushrooms air-dry for 30 minutes, with paper towels underneath them to absorb extra moisture
- Place mushrooms in a heavy freezer bag and freeze for up to six months. We recommend keeping the quantity of shiitakes in each freezer bag small for individual servings/portions
Defrost mushrooms in the fridge before using. Enjoy!
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