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Feb 10, 2014 04:25 PM

Dried mushrooms? What's the point?

I notice a lot of seemingly reputable recipes call for the inclusion of dried or reconstituted mushrooms. Before this I thought that may be because it's hard to get fresh mushrooms, but maybe there's another reason? Is there a better flavor payoff? Is it an accessibility thing? They don't seem more affordable but maybe they are?

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  1. They have a very different flavor. They cost more too. Some varieties are wild and seasonal.

    2 Replies
    1. re: CCSPRINGS

      The cost by weight isn't directly comparable, since most of the weight of fresh mushrooms is water. I'm not sure they still cost more if you correct for this.

      1. re: Scrofula

        One pound(16OZ) of fresh Mushrooms yields 1.6 OZ of Dried

    2. An deep intense mushroom flavor, plus you get the juice for adding to a pan sauce or stock for mushroom soup.

      2 Replies
      1. re: treb

        or to a stock for any vegetable soup. Paula Wolfert has a great tuscan kale soup and adding the dried mushroom soaking liquid is an inspired addition. I think the original Greens resto cookbook has a great mushroom stock recipe that's used as the basis for lasagna. You can puree the reconstituted mushrooms in pureed soups.

        1. re: treb

          I always strain and save the reconstituted mushroom broth for later use. Especially good in something like beef stroganoff for an earthier flavor.

          For the OP - seasonality is one reason. And some fresh wild mushrooms don't travel as well, so by drying them, they're more available to those that might want them.

        2. I think it's mostly accessibility but fresh have such a high and sometimes unpredictable moisture content it's easier to write directions for dried.

          1. Wow, all really helpful answers. I did notice some varieties I can only get dried. I knew there had to be a good reason to try them.

            1 Reply
            1. re: iheartcooking

              Yes, some are only available to me dried so I have to use dried if I want to eat those mushrooms. Also as mentioned above the soaking liquid is great to add to the recipe.

            2. In addition to everything already posted, reconsisted dry mushrooms have a different texture. Shitakes, for example, are more chewy than fresh and I mean that in a good way. Love them!

              2 Replies
              1. re: tcamp

                Yeah I'm not overly fond of that texture, forgot to mention that before. But, I don't hate it, so this ingredient is worth exploring.

                1. re: iheartcooking

                  I am also not fond of the texture and to me a lot of dried mushrooms even different varieties seem to all taste similar.