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I am giving up on dried mushrooms. Throwing in the towel. Is all that grit really worth it?

I had a pricey pack of dried black trumpet mushrooms, soaked them in boiling water, plucked out the mushrooms, drained the soaking water through cheesecloth, rinsed the soaked mushrooms in fresh water, shook and jiggled them in the fresh water, extracted them from the water, drained them, cooked them, and they are gritty, through and through. Tiny grit, the fine grit that you would need a microscope to see, but the teeth feel it instantly.

And it is not the first time, People, that dried mushrooms have done this to me.

So, am I just overly picky, or am I missing some important grit-removal process, some tool, or technique I haven't yet landed on?

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  1. Did you use the strained liquid when cooking them? If so, the grit may be from that. A paper coffee filter does a more thorough job than cheesecloth. If not, maybe try chopping the soaked-and-drained mushrooms, then rinsing the chopped pieces in a bowl of clean water.

    1. You're not being picky. Dried mushrooms shouldn't impart grit into one's dish.

      I've never used dried black trumpets. I do use dried shiitakes and other "fragrant mushrooms" that I buy at the Asian market. Those mushrooms are delightfully free of grit and sand. There is some grit carried on the very bottom of the stem part. I remove the stems, at the cap level, with a scissors, before I reconstitute the mushrooms, usually in red wine.

      Perhaps someone else has a better idea about removing grit from dried mushrooms. If faced with a mushroom that appears laden with dirt, I'd place them, dry, in a sink of cool water and let them float around. Repeat two more times. Then go ahead with soaking in boiling water, etc.

      1. Wash the mushroom before reconstituting. Soak in warm tap for 30 minutes, boiling will leach all the tastiness from the delicate mushroom. A slow and low simmer is ok. Also, once soaked, save the remaining liquid for soup or sauces.

        Is it worth it? I am positive. They are avialable year round, provide better flavor then the fresh counterpart, and store easily. How else can the average person get beautiful porcinis and morels year round?

        1. I haven't used dried black trumper mushrooms but often use dried porcini or wild mushroom mixes. A coffee filter takes forever but does work well - just plan ahead. I usually let it sit pretty much all day to get the liquid through and it helps to pick the mushrooms out after sufficient "soak" time so they don't get in the way. Also, even if you don't think you want to mess with the coffee filter, let your strained liquid sit, undisturbed for a few hours. Much of the grit should naturally settle to the bottom - then you can pour the clear off the top OR if you let it settle in one of those fat strainer things that pours of the bottom, just pour the grit off; just don't disturb it.

          Absent any of that - maybe try a different brand of dried mushrooms. I haven't had any so gritty I couldn't remedy it by those measures.

          1 Reply
          1. re: cookie44

            Thanks, All, for the suggestions. It has been ages since a coffee filter saw the inside of my house; I have to admit I forgot they existed!!! (I suppose a French press won't work for removing grit from mushrooms, hahaha!) I will give the coffee filter a try. Will start early. I do have more dried mushrooms, so I'll give it another shot.

            1. re: brooklynkoshereater

              That's helpful, hahaha. I hereby invite you to my place for some cream of gritty black trumpet mushroom pasta sauce.

            2. I recently purchased dry black trumpets in a mix of wild mushrooms, and picked them all out. They were not gritty, just really hard, and never softened up no matter what I did. I will avoid them in the future for this reason. Porcini and shiitake never a problem.

              1. You are not picky. Gritty mushrooms (or salad or spinach) are horrible.

                Maybe you should try a different brand or type of mushroom. I get dried wild mushrooms and sometimes porcinis...usually in the clear cylindrical container from Waitrose (I'm in the UK). You might also try Asian shops--you can often get great shiitakes and/or other dried mushrooms there for cheaper than other places have them.

                I just usually throw them in a bowl and pour boiling water over them, then put a plate over it and let it sit a while. I may slosh them around a bit to rinse the grit off, but I like the idea of sloshing them around in clean water too. Then I don't touch the soaking liquid. If I use it in my dish, I very carefully ladle it from the top, making sure not to agitate too much, thus avoiding the grit, which sinks. I've very rarely had a problem that way.

                The only reason I urge you to persist is that dried mushrooms are so wonderful and if you like them, it's worth finding a way of using them that works for you. My first thought, though, is to try different mushrooms.

                1. I feel your pain. Mushroom risotto is a house dish around here. I've gotten where I'm kinda lazy- I soak the porcini to reconstitute, then fish out (sieve or slotted spoon) and toss the shrooms and use the liquid to make up broth to add to the risotto. Add sautéed or raw fresh shrooms to the risotto as it cooks and call it good.

                  The alternative is to fish out the reconstituted pieces and wash each one to get out the grit, then chop before adding to the risotto. Lotta work for marginal improvement in the final (usually weekday, trying to feed the Chowpup) product.

                  And don't bother with straining the liquid- too fussy (sorry to all the fussy cooks who've already posted). Unless there are little pieces you're worried about, pouring off the top and leaving a little liquid behind leaves the settled grit, too.

                  1. Can't say I have real grit problems. I just soak the mushrooms in a significant amount of water. Then I pull the mushrooms out and let the liquid drip away. The grit always seems to be settled to the bottom of the container.

                    I pour the liquid off the top through a paper cone coffee filter and always use it. It's delicious too.

                    1. I use Marcella Hazan's method, and while it is a bit of work, I've never had grit make it to the final dish. First I reconstitute the mushrooms in hot water. Then I lift them out of there (using a slotted spoon or my hand) and put them large bowl of cool water. I slosh them around, lift them out, and put them in a strainer. I dump out the cool water, which always has grit in it, rinse the bowl, and repeat. If there is no grit in the bowl after the second sloshing, I'm done. Otherwise I repeat it again.

                      As for the liquid in which the mushrooms soaked, I drain it through a strainer into which I have put a paper towel. It's much faster than a coffee filter.

                      What I can't figure out is how to get the grit out of dried mushroom that are to be ground up to a powder to use in a recipe, typically to make a crust on beef. Thus I have avoided making any of those recipes, as I just know there's grit in there.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bitchincook

                        U can try drying them out again in the sun or in an oven set at low

                      2. Won't a coffee filter leave its the grit and the mushrooms?

                        With the hydrating liquid only left behind?

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: C. Hamster

                          Yes, the filter is for saving the soaking fluid, which is great for broth. The shrooms themselves still need rinsing afterward,and if one wants to be careful, you can try straining again, to see if grit is still being captured.

                          1. re: C. Hamster

                            You lift the shrooms out of the liquid, then pour only the water
                            through the filter, which removes the grit, allowing the brothy liquid to be used.

                            1. re: greygarious

                              Good clarification. I didn't gather that the C.Ham's question implied putting the shrooms into the filter with the fluid.

                          2. I've only used dried porcini mushrooms, but I've done so very often. The rinsing process you describe sounds pretty good, but maybe your cheesecloth is not fine enough? I use a paper towel or two in a colander. That's adequate, I find. A coffee filter would be even more purifying, but maybe more than necessary.

                            1. My experience with Porcinis, which I buy by in 500gm packages (I am an addict, and use them in some unlikely things) is that the grades *do* matter. I don't know if trumpet mushrooms are graded, but if they are, then in addition to the other good advice you have already gotten here I suggest trying a packet of Grade A. If you are buying Grade B anything, it should be Maple syrup.

                              1. I agree with you 1,000%! I crusted a prime rib for Christmas; rust smelled wonderful! My brother-in-law wanted to eat it. I took one little taste and it was delicious, but I had a mouth full of grit. I tried again ad used soaking and rinsing. No flavor! Years ago, I know I bought mushroom powder and I don't remember any grit. However, I can't find it again! Good luck!