Your latest trip to the woods yielded a bumper crop of lion’s mane mushrooms; what are you supposed to do with them? Sure, you’ll fresh eat as many as possible, but you don’t want any extras to go bad before you can get to them. Keep reading! In this article, we’ll talk about how to store lion’s mane mushrooms.
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How Do You Store a Lion’s Mane After Harvest?
Like many mushrooms, lion’s manes can only be found in the wild for a short time each year. To preserve their goodness beyond the day you foraged them, you can store them in the fridge, by drying them, and by freezing them.
The best way to store lion’s mane mushrooms is to dry them. Lion’s mane mushrooms are dry and dense compared to many other kinds of mushrooms, which makes them a great candidate for drying.
We’ll talk more about how to dehydrate lion’s manes at the end of this article.
If you’re storing them fresh, keep them refrigerated and away from water. Keep in mind that even in the fridge, they will only last for a few days.
If you’re storing these mushrooms fresh, you should keep them in a paper bag that is not too full. They need to be able to breathe, and they need to be kept out of direct moisture, otherwise they will soak it up like sponges.
To freeze lion’s manes, you’ll either need to cook them or flash-freeze them first. Again, we’ll talk more about the different freezing methods in a few minutes.
How Long Does Lion’s Mane Last in the Fridge?
Lion’s mane mushrooms can last up to a week in the fridge, but it’s important to store them properly. If not stored correctly, they may go bad within only a day or two.
As mentioned above, keep them in a bag where they can breathe. A paper bag is best if you wild forged them; if you bought them, and they came in a breathable bag already, keep them in there.
Store them in the crisper of your fridge to keep them fresh the longest. Make sure there is no standing water in the crisper, and that the fridge isn’t full of moisture.
Keep an eye on the mushrooms by checking on them at least once or twice a day. They will begin to turn yellow as they age; if any of the mushrooms turn dark orange or begin showing signs of rot, throw them out immediately so they don’t spoil the rest of the batch.
What signs of rot are you looking for?
If you notice any dark or soft spots, this is a sure sign your mushrooms are past their prime. If a mushroom feels soft and slimy, this is also a dead giveaway that the mushroom is going bad.
Can You Freeze Lion’s Mane Mushrooms?
Yes, and there are several ways to do so. Regardless of the method you use, lion’s mane mushrooms can be frozen for up to 12 months provided you freeze them correctly.
One of the best ways to freeze mushrooms of any kind, including lion’s mane, is to saute them in oil before freezing. Take care that you choose an oil that is flavorful but not overwhelming, as the mushrooms will preserve the oil’s flavor.
Basically, you’re going to cook the fresh mushrooms like you would any other mushroom, stirring them around a fry pan with a bit of oil for several minutes. Let them cool completely, then move them to a freezer-safe bag or container, label and date it, and place it in the freezer.
Make sure the bag or container is fully sealed to prevent freezer burn and early spoilage.
Another way to freeze them involves blanching them first. For this method, you will need a pot of boiling water, a bowl of ice water, and a colander.
After thoroughly cleaning the mushrooms, dunk them in the boiling water for a minute and a half, then remove them and drain briefly. Dunk them briefly in the ice water, and drain again.
The main problem with this method is that the mushrooms tend to absorb a lot of water. You may want to place them on a towel to dry more thoroughly before freezing them.
Lastly, you can flash-freeze lion’s mane mushrooms by slicing them, placing the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Freeze the baking sheets for about two hours until the slices are frozen.
Remove the baking sheets and transfer the mushroom slices to a freezer-safe bag or container without allowing them to thaw. The pieces should avoid clumping together since they were frozen individually.
Make sure and remove as much air as possible from the bag or container before freezing. Again, fully sealing the container is absolutely essential to avoid freezer burn.
How to Dry Lion’s Mane Mushroom?
According to Joybilee Farm, lion’s mane mushrooms can be air-dried if you live in a hot, dry climate; otherwise, you will want to use an oven or a food dehydrator.
Start by cleaning your mushrooms with a mushroom brush or by rinsing them in water. If you clean them with water, allow them to sit in the sun for at least a couple of hours to remove any excess moisture they soak up.
Whenever you handle these mushrooms, be very careful not to break off the delicate spines.
Use a sharp knife to slice the mushrooms from top to bottom. The slices should be fairly thin, about ¼ of an inch.
Place the slices on dehydrator trays or baking sheets covered with parchment. Make sure they are in a single layer and try to keep them from touching.
Dry the mushrooms at 135 degrees for about 4 to 6 hours if using a dehydrator. If desired, you can dehydrate them for longer at a lower temperature to produce less hard but more breakable pieces, as shown in the video below.
If using an oven to dry your mushrooms, put it on the lowest temperature setting and dehydrate them for 2 to 4 hours, checking them frequently.
The mushrooms are done when you can snap them between your fingers. Let them cool for a few minutes before transferring them to dry canning jars or storage bags.
Lion’s mane mushrooms are an excellent edible mushroom variety. If you went mushroom hunting and came home with an unexpectedly large harvest, then preserving it by freezing or drying is the best way to enjoy these mushrooms long after their season has passed.