So, you've got yourself some fresh reishi mushrooms (congrats!) and you're wondering how to dry them for long-term storage.
You've come to the right place!
In this guide, we'll cover how to use dried reishi mushrooms at home (without a dehydrator). Plus, we'll cover how to prepare them for drying, where to find reishi mushrooms in the wild, tips for long-term storage, and how to use dried reishi mushrooms in teas and tinctures.
Let's dive in!
How to dry reishi mushrooms
You can dry reishi mushrooms by thinly slicing them and placing them on a wire rack over a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in an oven set to the lowest temperature setting or in a warm, dry place, such as a sunny spot or near a fireplace.
Alternatively, you can place the sliced mushrooms in a food dehydrator set to a low temperature. Allow the mushrooms to dry for several hours or overnight, until they are crisp and brittle.
Store the dried mushrooms in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. We'll talk more about the ideal storage of reishi mushrooms later in this article.
How to dry reishi mushrooms in the oven
It's easier than you think to dry reishi mushrooms in the oven. To dry reishi mushrooms in the oven, follow these steps:
Preheat the oven to the lowest temperature setting (usually around 150-200°F).
Thinly slice the mushrooms. Grab a cutting board and a sharp knife to slice. Reishi mushrooms can be pretty dense and hard, even when they're fresh. Instead of forcing the knife down, try using a serrated or sharp bread knife to gently saw through your reishi mushrooms.
and place them in a single layer on a wire rack over a baking sheet.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and dry the mushrooms for 4-6 hours, or until they are crisp and brittle.
Remove the mushrooms from the oven and let them cool completely.
Store the dried mushrooms in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
It is important to keep the oven temperature low to avoid cooking the mushrooms, which can affect their texture and flavor. With this in mind, you may need to experiment with the drying time to find the optimal time for your oven and the thickness of your mushroom slices.
How to air-dry reishi mushrooms
It's not always necessary to dry hard polypores in the oven. In fact, we prefer to air dry them at our house. To air dry reishi mushrooms, follow these steps:
Thinly slice the mushrooms. Grab a cutting board and a sharp knife to slice. Instead of man-handling the knife down, try using a serrated or sharp bread knife to gently saw through your mushrooms.
Place the slices on a wire rack over a baking sheet.
Place the baking sheet in a warm, dry place, such as a sunny spot or near a fireplace.
Allow the mushrooms to dry for several hours or overnight, until they are crisp and brittle.
Store the dried mushrooms in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
It is important to find a location that is warm and dry to ensure that the mushrooms dry properly. Avoid placing the mushrooms in a humid or damp environment, as this can cause them to spoil or develop mold. You may need to experiment with the drying time to find the optimal time for your location and the thickness of your mushroom slices.
Depending on the size of your mushroom, it may need longer than 24 hours to fully dry.
If you've got a big mushroom haul, consider investing in an inexpensive hanging drying rack. If the weather seems iffy, no worries! Hang your drying rack in a warm, dry place inside and move it to the sunshine when you can. High humidity, mist, fog, or rain would counteract the drying process outdoors.
(Note: we don't get paid to promote this product. We just really like it!)
How to prepare reishi mushrooms for drying and storage
Before you dry your mushrooms, you may be wondering if you need to clean or otherwise prepare them. The quality of your mushroom will depend on where it was harvested. Avoid mushrooms that have been exposed to chemicals, pesticides, or intense fertilizers. If your mushroom is in a happy, healthy forest, you may not need to worry much about preparation.
Here are some steps you can follow to prepare reishi mushrooms for storage:
Clean the mushrooms by gently wiping them with a damp cloth or a soft veggie (or mushroom cleaner) brush. Avoid using water, as this can cause the mushrooms to become soggy.
- Some sources recommend you freeze the mushrooms for 24 hours before drying. This ensures that any parasites are killed off. This may be an important step if you plan to powder your reishi mushrooms without otherwise heating them to safe temps (like in a hot water extraction. See our note below to consider whether you should freeze your mushrooms.
Cut off any damaged or spoiled parts of the mushrooms. Sometimes, a small part of the mushroom is damaged or spoiled, but the rest is fine. Work with a professional to determine whether your mushroom is safe to eat.
- Make sure they're completely dry before storage. Don't be afraid to give them an extra day of air drying just to be safe. Just make sure you add them to an air-tight container for maximum shelf life.
Should I freeze my reishi mushrooms before drying?
Freezing reishi mushrooms before drying them is not always necessary, but it's sometimes a good idea. Some sources recommend freezing in order to kill off parasites that may be living in your mushroom. If you're particularly concerned about this, or if you don't plan to otherwise heat or prepare the mushrooms (like in an alcohol or hot water extraction) freezing might be a good choice.
The potential downsides to freezing are important to consider as well.
Freezing can cause the mushrooms to become mushy and difficult to slice, which can make them more difficult to dry evenly. Additionally, the texture of the dried mushrooms may be compromised by the freezing process.
If you want to store fresh reishi mushrooms for a longer period of time, it is best to keep them in the refrigerator in a paper bag. They will keep for up to a week this way. Alternatively, you can dry the mushrooms and store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
Tips for storing reishi mushrooms
Fresh reishi mushrooms should be stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator. They will keep for up to a week. Check out our guide to storing fresh reishi mushrooms for more information.
Dried reishi mushrooms should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. They will keep for several months to a year.
To extend the shelf life of fresh or dried reishi mushrooms, you can store them in the freezer. Fresh mushrooms should be wrapped in plastic wrap and placed in a resealable bag, while dried mushrooms should be placed in an airtight container. Both will keep for up to a year in the freezer. But please not that freezing your reishi mushrooms for an extended period of time may impact their quality and ability to dry evenly in the future.
Avoid storing reishi mushrooms in a humid or damp environment, as this can cause them to spoil or develop mold. If your mushrooms develop slime or mold, it's time to toss them.
Be sure to handle reishi mushrooms with clean hands and utensils to prevent contamination during storage.
We put together a complete mushroom storage guide if you want to learn more about the ideal storage containers and settings.
Where can I find reishi mushrooms in the wild?
Reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum) are found on dead or dying hardwood trees, particularly oak and maple. They can be found in various climates, including temperate forests in Asia, Europe, and North America.
Reishi mushrooms are often found in areas with moist, humid conditions and can be found year-round, although they are most commonly found in the fall. They typically grow in clusters on the side of the tree and have a shiny, reddish-brown cap.
It is important to note that not all mushrooms found in the wild are safe to eat, and it is essential to correctly identify any mushroom before consuming it. Some species of mushrooms are poisonous and can cause serious illness or death. It is best to seek the guidance of a trained professional, such as a mycologist or a local mushroom club, if you are interested in foraging for wild mushrooms.
How to grind dried reishi mushrooms into powder
To grind dried reishi mushrooms into powder, you will need a blender or coffee grinder. Here's how to do it:
Break the dried mushrooms into small pieces.
Place the mushroom pieces in a blender or coffee grinder.
Pulse the blender or grind the mushrooms in the coffee grinder until they are ground into a fine powder.
If the powder is not fine enough, pulse or grind the mushrooms for a few more seconds.
Sift the powder through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any large pieces that did not grind properly.
Store the reishi mushroom powder in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
It is important to grind the mushrooms in small batches to ensure that the powder is evenly ground. You may need to pulse or grind the mushrooms for longer if your blender or coffee grinder is not powerful enough. It is also a good idea to clean the appliance after grinding the mushrooms to prevent any residue from affecting the flavor of future batches.
Looking for more tips on how to grind mushrooms at home? Check out our guide to grinding mushrooms here.
How to use dried reishi mushrooms
There are several ways to use dried reishi mushrooms including teas, tinctures, and more.
To prepare a tea, add 1-2 teaspoons of dried reishi mushrooms to a cup of hot water. Let the mushrooms steep for 10-15 minutes, then strain and drink.
You can also grind dried reishi mushrooms into a powder and add it to smoothies, tea, or other beverages.
Some people also use dried reishi mushrooms as a natural dye. To do this, simmer the mushrooms in a pot of water for 30 minutes or until the water is a deep red color. Strain the mushrooms and use the dye as desired.
Dried reishi mushrooms can also be used in traditional Chinese medicine. They are believed to have various health benefits and are often used to treat respiratory problems and boost the immune system. It is best to consult a healthcare professional before using reishi mushrooms for medicinal purposes. You can make an alcohol extraction tincture at home.
We have a complete guide to reishi mushroom tea (including an in-depth step-by-step recipe) available if you want to learn more about this powerful (and tasty!) beverage.
How to make a reishi mushroom tincture at home
To make a reishi mushroom tincture, you will need the following ingredients:
- Dried reishi mushrooms
- High-proof alcohol (such as vodka)
Here's how to make the tincture:
Grind the dried reishi mushrooms into a fine powder using a blender or coffee grinder.
Place the mushroom powder in a clean, airtight jar.
Pour the high-proof alcohol over the mushroom powder, making sure that the powder is completely covered.
Seal the jar and place it in a cool, dark place for 4-6 weeks, shaking the jar once a week to ensure that the mushrooms are fully saturated with the alcohol.
After 4-6 weeks, strain the tincture through a cheesecloth or coffee filter to remove any solids.
Transfer the tincture to a clean, airtight jar and store it in a cool, dark place. The tincture will keep for several months to a year.
Don't want to make your own tincture or tea? Check out our top recommended reishi products here.
To use the tincture, add a few drops to a glass of water or other beverage. The recommended dosage will depend on the strength of the tincture and your personal needs. It is best to consult a healthcare professional for guidance on using reishi mushroom tincture for medicinal purposes.
For more on reishi mushroom dosage, head here.