Good Tasting Mushrooms Can Be Hard to Find
Why Use Dried Wild Mushrooms?
Since Roman Times mushrooms have had a special place on the shelves of many a cooks kitchen, and for a variety of reasons.
Since medieval times mushrooms were cloaked in mystery, myth, and sometimes evil, but since the mid eighteenth century that perception has changed.
In fact during the early nineteenth century mushrooms became a preference for the noblemen and the rich.
Fresh mushrooms were used when available, but in many cases they were collected, dried and kept on the pantry shelf for special dishes.
Even then it is was recognized that certain mushrooms were not always available during certain seasons.
A Good Tasting Mushroom is Hard to Find
In today’s world, finding a variety of exotic, fresh and flavorful mushrooms is quite the task.
The more common white mushrooms found in local supermarkets are considered by many professionals to be bland by comparison.
This is due to the cultivation process plus the higher water content they have over the more exotic varieties.
The shelf life of fresh mushrooms is usually not more than several days.
If not stored properly they will become soggy, have a mildew odor, and develop wet or slimy spots that need to be removed.
Dried mushrooms on the other hand have a shelf life of about one year, and you’ll always have them available for unexpected guests or to indulge your creative side.
When you purchase good quality dried wild mushrooms you’ll notice more consistency in size and quality.
In addition they will usually be cheaper than fresh mushrooms by weight.
The Most Popular Dried Mushrooms
Not all dried mushrooms are better than fresh, but you’ll find many connoisseurs prefer dried wild morels, porcini, chanterelles, shiitakes, and black trumpet mushrooms for their excellent taste and concentrated flavors.
Although many dried mushrooms are selected by size, color, and shape, you’ll discover dried wild porcini mushrooms are graded on an even more refined scale.
AA Extra Grade dried porcini mushrooms are the very best and are usually not available in most markets.
They are large, thinly sliced, with very little if any broken pieces or dust in the bottom of the container.
This grading process is very similar to the process used by connoisseurs in selecting and grading high quality tea.
Many professional chefs also prefer using dried morels rather than the fresh variety.
That’s because the drying process has a tendency to create an almost pungent smoky flavor as opposed to that of the fresh morels.
How to Use Dried Mushrooms
Some chefs have suggested using reconstituted dried mushrooms and cooking them with fresh mushrooms.
The reason for this is to bring out a deeper, more intense, woodsy flavor from the mushrooms.
For a very delicious change of pace instead of reconstituting the mushrooms in water, as most recipes will suggest, try using warmed red wine, white wine, Madeira, Marsala, chicken or beef broth.
In either case always strain and reserve the liquid.
It makes a great starter for gravies, sauces, soups, stews, rice, and pasta dishes or you can freeze it for later use.
You’ll find we carry the highest quality of dried wild mushrooms including morels, AA grade porcini, black trumpets, chanterelles, and a wonderful wild forest mix.
You may also want to see our demi glace and stocks from More Than Gourmet.
They make excellent cooking liquids, stocks and broths to accompany or rehydrate dried mushrooms.
Click to purchase and to learn more.
Click for recipes using mushrooms.
*Photo by Chris RubberDragon