Foraging for wild Chanterelle Mushrooms in the Pacific Northwest is a fun and exciting activity to do in the fall. Chanterelles are just one of many edible mushrooms, that can be cooked and ate fresh or dehydrated and preserved to eat later on. Today I share with you just how easy it is to dehydrate your Chanterelle mushrooms.
This was our first year going out and foraging for Chanterelle Mushrooms in our local forests here in the Pacific Northwest. It’s actually been on my homesteading bucket list of new things to learn and try for quite some time.
We were surprised just how easy it was to find these golden gems in our local area and to fry them up for tasty delicious meals for our family. Recently on our last family camping trip we came across a honey pot of Chanterelles. We debated wether cashing them in, or preserving them for our own family.
I’m a bit of a harvest hoarder, so I researched recipes to eat them fresh and learned how to preserve them best. There are two options to preserve your chanterelle mushrooms. First you can freeze them, or you can dehydrate them. I’ll show you how and why I chose to dehydrate my Chanterelle mushrooms.
You might be wondering…
Are Chanterelle’s Good for you?
Chanterelle Mushrooms contain fibre and are a good source of vitamins B and D, as well as minerals including selenium and copper. Eating them may stimulate your immune system. Which is why seasonal eating is so awesome! These mushrooms are ready to forage and eat just before the winter cold and flu season.
Can Chanterelles Make you Sick?
There are some similar looking mushrooms that look like Chanterelles that’s why it’s important to know what you’re looking for. I’ve listed some great guides below to help you forage for Chanterelles.
What time of year do Chanterelles Grow?
Chanterelles are foraged from the forest floor end of summer, early fall. Mushrooms must have a good amount of rain in order to grow, that’s why our “wet coast” or Pacific Northwest Coast is such a great area for growth of Chanterelle mushrooms.
How to Dry Chanterelle MushroomsJump to Recipe
I’ve become a recent fan of dehydrating as a way of preserving food for our family. There are many great perks to dehydrating your food.
There comes a time in the fall, when your freezer has reached full capacity. Come November, with hunting season and fishing season coming to an end and our processed meat from the farm and food from the garden and orchard, our freezer is jam packed. Our cold room is also packed with canned preserves and we start to run out of space. As a homesteader, there really isn’t any greater feeling.
I’ve come to love dehydrating as a way of preserving space without the extra need for electricity to store it and I can store much more dehydrated food in a mason jar then if I were to can it.
There’s also added nutritional benefits to preserving food. Fibre, carbohydrates and minerals do not change during the process of dehydrating and food tastes sweeter as the natural sugars are more concentrated.
Newbie? Use a guide book as shown below to help you forage and identify Chanterelle Mushrooms.
I prefer mason jars, as they are air tight and help keep the dehydrated mushrooms from becoming crumbly or a powder as they would if tossed around and stored in freezer bags.
The options for a dehydrator are endless. I highly suggest a drawer system with timer and heat settings like this one shown below. The options are endless as to what you can make and create in a dehydrator.
Check out what Mary T. Bell has to say in her book, Food Drying with An Attitude. You’ll find lots of inspiration for dehydrating like I have! It was a great gift that went along with my dehydrator one Christmas.
How to Dehydrate Chanterelle Mushrooms
Clean the Mushrooms
Once Mushrooms have been harvested from the forest floor, they can be stored in the fridge in a waxed paper or brown paper bag until they are cleaned for up to 10 days.
Wash and get all the dirt off the mushrooms using a brush or knife. Washing the mushrooms does not take away the taste or nutritional value as some might think.
Once cleaned, they can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days. Loosely arrange the mushrooms in a bowl with cloth or paper towels and cover lightly with towels until ready to dehydrator.
Slice the Mushrooms 1/2 inch thick.
Arrange on the dehydrator mesh sheets
Place mushrooms in a single layer with space between slices to allow proper air circulation.
Dehydrate at 130 F
Mushrooms should take between 4-8 hours to dehydrate until they are dry and crispy. You’ll be surprised just how small your mushrooms become. Check the mushrooms every 2 hours or so, and remove any pieces that are dry and crispy and add to a clean sterile mason jar for storage.
Store in an Airtight Container
Store the dehydrated mushrooms in an airtight container in a dark, cool place. Dehydrated mushrooms can be stored from 6 -12 months. Properly storing dried mushrooms helps keep them fresh. I like to use my preserved foods within the year or until I have replaced it with the next seasons harvest.
Learn how to forage for your own Wild Mushrooms
Mushroom hunting/foraging is an art. It’s a hobby that a lot of homesteaders and people that want to eat local foods are passionate about. These books are a great start to help you learn more about foraging wild mushrooms in your area.
A few words of warning,
There are many toxic and poisonous mushrooms, so its’ best to ask around for guides or experts in your area. I highly recommend a few of these guides for learning how to forage wild edibles.
Also, mushroom pickers get lost of the woods all the time. I had a friend get lost in the woods over night when foraging with her partner and dog. Be prepared when heading out into the wilderness!
Also be prepared for wild animals. Our uncle, had a recent cougar encounter when foraging for Chanterelle mushrooms this fall.
Dehydrated Chanterelle Mushrooms
- Cutting Board
- 1 Litre Mason Jar
- Chanterelle Mushrooms
- Clean Chanterelle Mushrooms
- Cut mushrooms into 1/4 inch pieces
- Lay single layer on dehydrator trays with room for air flow
- Set dehydrator to 130 F and check every 2 hours removing dried and crispy mushrooms
- Mushrooms are done when they are dry and crispy, approx. anywhere between 4-8 hours
All in All,
I hope you have fun and enjoy hunting for mushrooms like kids do for easter eggs! Tell me about your findings and preserving your own Chanterelle Mushrooms below! – Diana