Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dehydrator Diary - Socks and Mushrooms...

This week I found organic mushrooms marked down at the grocery. I spent about $15 and came home with 5 pounds of cremini mushrooms, 2 pounds of portobello mushrooms and a pound of shitake mushrooms. They were in very good shape so I put a 1/2-pound of cremini and a pound of portobello mushrooms in the fridge for a couple of meals later in the week. The rest of the mushrooms I prepared to put in the dehydrator.

But first I had to take out the socks that were in the dehydrator. Yes, for the second time in 5 days I've dried DH's wool kilt socks in the dehydrator. You see, it's too warm here for a fire in the woodstove but it's been raining. The socks are so thick they'd take more than a day to dry after handwashing (don't want them to felt so I eschew machine washing and drying) and the dehydrator racks offered good support. Drying went pretty fast; took about 4 hours at 105°F. and, since I add a drop or two of patchouli essential oil to the rinse water as an insect deterrent, the house smelled faintly of patchouli for several days. I like that, too.

Once the socks were out of the way, I spread sliced cremini mushrooms (or, according to the label, baby portobellos) and whole shitake mushrooms on the racks. Before slicing, I removed the stems and sliced them for drying separately. Sometimes they're tough but the flavor's good so I won't waste them but use when I'm going to puree or just need stock. I did the same with the portobello mushrooms, and because I only had a few of them, I mixed them in with the cremini. The dehydrator was full and ran overnight at 115°F.

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