Your latest foray into the forest has produced a large harvest of Lions Mane Mushrooms; what are you supposed to do with them? Of course, you are going to eat them all, but you do not want to let any extra get rotten before you get a chance to eat them. In this post, we are going to cover how to store lion’s mane mushrooms.
What is the best way to store lion’s mane?
Like many mushrooms, Lions Mane is found only briefly each year in the wild. To preserve their freshness past the day when you pick them, you can preserve them by keeping them in your refrigerator, drying them, and freezing them. The best way to preserve lion’s mane mushrooms is by drying them. Lions mane mushrooms are naturally drier and denser than many other types of mushrooms, making them an excellent drying candidates. We will discuss how to dry lions mane in the last part of the article.
If you are keeping them fresh, store them in the refrigerator away from any water. Keep in mind, they only last for a couple of days in the refrigerator, too. If you are keeping these mushrooms fresh, you will want to store them in a paper bag that is not filled too full. They have to be able to breathe, and they have to stay away from direct humidity, or else they soak it up like sponges.
To freeze Lion’s Mane, you either have to bake it, and then freeze it, or blanche them and freeze them. If you freeze them without doing this, when you go to thaw them out they will be extremely mushy because the fibers of the mushroom get destroyed during the freezing process.
How Long Does Lion’s Mane Last In The Fridge?
Lion’s mane mushrooms will keep for a week or so in the fridge, but storing them correctly is crucial. If they are not stored correctly, they may spoil within just one to two days.
As mentioned earlier, keep them in a bag that allows them to breathe. A paper bag is best if you are wild foraging them; if you are buying them, they already come in a bag that is supposed to allow them to breathe, then just keep them in this bag in between uses. Keeping them in a refrigerator is a great way to keep them fresh if you plan on using them in a matter of days.
Keep a close eye on your mushrooms, checking them at least once per day. They will start turning yellow as they get older; if any mushrooms are turning a deep orange color or starting to show signs of decay, toss them immediately to prevent spoiling the rest of your batch.
What signs of rot are you looking for? If you see dark spots or mushy spots, it is a sure sign that your mushrooms are past their prime. If the mushrooms look limp and slushy, this is also a sure sign the mushrooms are going bad.
Can You Freeze Lion’s Mane Mushrooms?
Yes, and there are several ways you can do it. Regardless of which method you use, lion’s mane mushrooms will keep frozen up to 12 months, provided that you ice it properly. One of the best ways to freeze mushrooms of any type, including lion’s mane, is to roast them in butter prior to freezing. Be sure to pick an oil that is aromatic, but not overpowering, because mushrooms will retain their oils flavors. Basically, you are going to prepare your fresh mushrooms just like any other mushrooms, by stirring them in the skillet with some oil for several minutes.
Let them cool down completely, then transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container, label it, and put it in the freezer. Make sure that the bag or container is completely sealed, so that you do not cause freezer burns or spoilage beforehand. Another method of freezing these involves parboiling them first.
For this method, you will need a pan with boiling water, a bowl with ice water, and a strainer. After you have cleaned your mushrooms completely, immerse them in the boiling water for one-and-a-half minutes, and remove and drain briefly. Dunk them briefly in ice water, and then drain them again. The major issue with this method is that mushrooms tend to soak up lots of water.
You might need to put them on a towel to dry more thoroughly before freezing. Finally, you can flash-freeze lion’s mane mushrooms by cutting them into slices, placing slices one at a time in a parchment-lined baking tray. Freeze the baking sheet for approximately two hours, until the slices are frozen. Remove the baking sheets and transfer the mushrooms slices into a freezer-safe bag or container, not allowing them to thaw.
The pieces should not come together as they are frozen separately. Make sure to get rid of as much air from your bag or container before freezing. Again, a full-sealing of your containers is absolutely necessary to prevent freezer burn.
Other Ways to Store Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Lion’s mane mushrooms can be dried by the air if you live in a warm, dry climate; otherwise, you will need to use a cooker or a food dehydrator. Start by cleaning the mushrooms using a brush or rinse in water. If you are cleaning them in water, leave them out in the sun for at least a couple hours to get rid of all of the extra moisture that has been trapped.
Whenever you handle these mushrooms, take extra care to avoid breaking any of their delicate spines. Slice mushrooms top-down with a sharp knife.
The slices should be pretty thin, about 1/4 inch. Place slices onto dehydrator racks or baking sheets covered in parchment paper. Make sure they are stacked one-on-top, and try not to let them touch.
If using a dehydrator, dehydrate mushrooms at 135 degrees for approximately 4 to 6 hours. If desired, you can dehydrate for longer at lower temperatures to create less firm, yet more breakable pieces, as shown in the video below.
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