Shiitake mushrooms on a log
Dried mushrooms are big flavor in a tiny package, and they are one of our go-to pantry staples for adding savory richness (also known as umami) to stews, risottos, sauces, or broths—and more! When shopping for dried mushrooms, look for whole varieties, since they’ll generally hold their flavor better than the ones that come sliced…

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Using Dried Mushrooms

Dried mushrooms are big flavor in a tiny package, and they are one of our go-to pantry staples for adding savory richness (also known as umami) to stews, risottos, sauces, or broths—and more! When shopping for dried mushrooms, look for whole varieties, since they’ll generally hold their flavor better than the ones that come sliced or smashed. Some, like porcinis, are often only sold sliced, so seek out the best you can find. Choose your dried mushrooms the same way you choose fresh: which ones do you like best? While the flavor will be more concentrated, it will retain the flavor of the fresh mushrooms. Dried mushrooms can be added directly to a broth or soup, but for some applications, you’ll want to rehydrate them before using. If the mushrooms are added to a dish without an extended soaking or cooking time, like in a risotto or as a garnish, the mushrooms should be rehydrated until they are chewy and toothsome, rather than dry and crumbly. To rehydrate the mushrooms, place them in a small bowl and add enough in warm water to cover them. Let them rest until they are softened, about 30 minutes. Lift the mushrooms from the water, letting it drain away. Save the liquid; you can strain it through a coffee filter and add it to any simmered dishes that could benefit from a touch of mushroom essence. You may need to cut away tough stems (especially with shiitake mushrooms). You can simply discard the stems, but if you make stocks and broths, you may want to save the stems to use in those recipes.

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