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The Wonders of Mushroom Jerky

As mushroom jerky trends upwards in natural foods stores and even some mainstream grocery stores, I wanted to share a little bit about the process and my personal preferences.

Not all mushrooms are alike and some mushrooms do not make for good jerky. I have tried oysters, chicken of the woods, and my favorite- maitake or hen of the woods. I might try porcini or boletes but all other mushrooms I probably wouldn't waste the time. You want a meaty textured mushrooms, which is why the first three are good; Maitake being the best. I find that Maitake absorbs the liquid much better than the Chicken of the Woods. Oysters are opposite and tend get mushy.

Next, the mushrooms need a nice long simmering soak. See recipe below:

Ingredients: 4-5 pound Maitake, Chicken of the Woods, or Oyster

2 cups apple cider vinegar

2 cups soy sauce

2 cups water

variation: maple syrup variation: garlic

variation: ginger

*Liquid should cover the mushrooms. If it doesn't add equal amounts liquid to cover. If you want it less salty use more apple cider vinegar and less soy sauce.

Directions: Simmer fresh mushrooms in a pot until all the liquid has been reduced. The mushrooms should absorb all the liquid. Once reduced, place maitake on dehydrator racks (125˚F on your dehydrator) or on drying racks to be placed in the sun. I live in Northern Wisconsin andit's a rare day the sun is strong enough to do this, but if you have strong, consistent sunlight- go for it. You can also use your oven and set the temperature at its lowest setting, making sure to leave the oven door ajar to release moisture. They're done when you find the consistency you like. I usually let them dehydrate overnight 4-12 hours. It really depends on the mushroom you use. Chicken of the Woods takes much longer than Maitake. I've never done them in the oven, but I would imagine it takes about 2-4 hours. When done they should have the consistency of beef jerky- chewy or tough (depending on how you like your jerky).

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