Looking for the best dried mushrooms? Below are the products that I recommend, ones that I myself have tried in the past and found to be either helpful health wise or just truly delicious. All are priced reasonably and from reputable companies.
What can you do with them? From condiments to teas, below are just a few suggestions:
Of course I always recommending drying your own mushrooms, as it's fun and can save you money in the long run. Yet if you don't have any mushrooms to dry, or just don't want to deal with the extra effort (hey, I can understand that!), give one of these products below a try.
Harmony House Foods, Dried Mushrooms, Shiitake, 4 Ounce Quart Size Jar
Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes) are another species with a long history of culinary and medicinal use. In addition to containing many potent antioxidants, shiitake is thought to lower cholesterol and fight cancer.
You can reap the benefits of these dried shiitake mushrooms by eating them in any dish, or by making a tea, extract, or capsule. Harmony House provides a lot of mushrooms at a good price. They gently air dry their mushrooms, meaning they keep more of their nutrient content while resisting mold and still being dry enough to grind into a powder.
While I'm still a little unclear as to where these mushrooms originate from, Harmony House states that they're free of heavy metals and pesticides, and packaged in BPA-free containers (yay!). They also state on their Facebook page that they've been audited successfully by AIB International and the FDA for clean facilities and products free of pesticides, chemicals, and heavy metals.
These pieces are pre-diced, saving you a step in cooking and making grinding easier. A quart will rehydrate into a lot of mushrooms, but if you want a larger container they offer those as well on Amazon. A great, healthy deal for the price!
Porcini mushrooms (Boletus edulis) are a gem in Italian cooking, imparting an incredible flavor that is both hearty and nutty. You can use these beauties in Italian recipes such as sauces, pasta, pizza, bruschetta, or as a topping for any entrée.
These dried mushrooms are considered gourmet edibles, and aren't cheap. For this reason I like the dried porcini from JR Mushrooms & Specialties. If you purchase the AB grade, which is made up of smaller chips, you can get a pound for under $40. Depending on your budget, you can also order the powder, or the higher quality AA grade in varying amounts.
Since porcini are harvested, not grown, there's always the risk of grit or worms no matter what the brand. Be sure to rinse well after rehydrating, and check for little white worms. Overall, I've had good experiences with this brand. These mushrooms are tasty, hearty, very affordable, and imported from Italy.
Mushroom House Dried Oyster Mushrooms, 1 Pound
Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) are another species that blur the line between medicinal and gourmet. Their nutty, soft taste goes well with soups, stir-fries, stews, and seafood dishes. Yet did you know that they also stimulate the immune system and lower cholesterol?
Since these mushrooms are some of the easiest to grow, you can get a lot for relatively cheap. Mushroom House offers an entire pound for under $20! A pound is a LOT of dried mushrooms, so you'll be set for quite a while.
They're grown in the USA (according to their Amazon page), and aren't covered in grit and sand like so many dried oyster mushrooms. (Still, it's always good to clean thoroughly before and after rehydrating).
One thing I really love about Mushroom House is that this bag is bursting with caps, not just stems. So you're guaranteed lots of tasty, edible pieces!
Chanterelles (Cantharellus species) are known for their beautiful shape and fruity, peppery taste. This delicate gourmet mushroom is a wonderful addition to seafood, poultry, eggs, lighter gravies, or just cooked on their own with a little butter and garlic. Note that these have a lighter taste than some other gourmet mushrooms, so don't overpower them with strong flavors in your dish.
In my opinion, it's hard to find good dried chanterelles. Since these mushrooms are harvested, not grown, many companies often sell out or sell an inferior product. Recently I've had good luck with the dried chanterelles from Life Gourmet Shop. You can get 4 oz of sizeable, yummy mushrooms for around $17, which should last a while.
These are easy and delicious to cook with, but remember that the chanterelle is a delicate mushroom! Please read all rehydrating instructions and follow them carefully. They need to be soaked the minimum of 30 minutes, and take care when cooking. Their light flavor can easily be overpowered in a dish.
This parasitic fungus often appears as a nondescript charred lump on the side of birch trees. Yet it has been used in Russia and Eastern Europe for centuries as a medicinal mushroom. Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is an immune system booster lauded for its antiviral, antibiotic, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties.
Sayan chaga is renowned for its high quality and fair prices. This product is sourced sustainably from Siberia, and is some of the most finely ground you can buy. Thus you can drop it into tea, a smoothie, coffee, yogurt, or any other food.
Another reason I like Sayan is that they're a very responsive and open company. They answer many questions on their Amazon page, and give helpful specific instructions on how much to take and how long to take it. (They advise taking it for four weeks and then giving your body a one week break).
Four ounces may not seem like a lot but it's around a 2 month supply. At $40, that's $20/month for your health. And if that's too expensive in one go, they offer a 2 oz package on Amazon as well. I love this company and their products.
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. The long-chained polysaccharide molecules in Reishi stabilize blood sugar, neutralize free radicals, and are thought to have a beneficial effect for those suffering from cancer, infection, anxiety, and a host of other ailments.
You can use the dried reishi mushrooms from Life Gourmet Shop to make a mushroom tea or a ganoderma extract. I like these because they're pre-sliced for you, making the grinding or simmering process much easier than using a whole dried mushroom!
Note that these slices are best for healthy teas, tinctures, and extracts. You can try rehydrating small pieces and using them in a dish, but I haven't had good experiences with this. They're really more for making straight medicinals rather than eating.
This product is for an entire pound, which makes a lot of tea for $35! If you'd prefer smaller amounts to start with, they offer those too on Amazon.
Maitake mushrooms (Grifola frondosa) have gained a reputation for being a powerful immune system booster. Their long chained polysaccharides fight cancerous cells, regulate blood sugar, and can help control cholesterol and blood pressure.
Dried maitake can range from very expensive to cheap and full of dirt and sulfites. I like the Mushroom House brand because it's the middle of the road. These are quality dried maitake that aren't full of preservatives or loaded with grit.
They're also a good price, around $24 for a whole pound of dried mushrooms. They're good for making teas, extracts, or for use in cooking. Just rehydrate and follow the instructions.
Mushroom House for the win again! These dried portobello mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) are great in soups, pasta, stews, goulash, and all sorts of other recipes.
Some of the appeal of portobellos are the fact that they're large, giving you the feeling of biting into something meaty and substantial. One of the reasons I like this Mushroom House brand is that they give you lots of large pieces, not just little chips and dust.
They keep for a long time, and $24/pound is a great deal. They advertise these for chefs, caterers, and restaurants; but anyone who loves edible dried mushrooms would enjoy these. Just make sure you have a BPA-free bag or jar to store them in, as the bag is not reclosable.
Morels (Morchella species) are gourmet mushrooms with an earthy, rich flavor. Add them to almost any dish, from eggs to pasta, sauces, and stews. They'll add an intensely rich and mouth-watering flavor.
It can be hard to find good dried morels. Depending on the time of year they can be hard to find, expensive, or of low quality. I've purchased brands in the past only to be disappointed as the quality was inconsistent.
That's why I like the dried morels from Life Gourmet Shop. They're clean, consistent, and harvested from North America. This company answers questions on Amazon, ships whole mushrooms that are tasty and contain minimal dirt, and they have fair prices ($30 for 2 ounces). Hey, morels are expensive!
While there's nothing like fresh morels, this is one of the best deals you can get for the dry ones when factoring in price and quantity.
Wood ear mushrooms (A. auricula-judae), with their light crunch and mild flavor, appear in many Asian dishes. They add a delightful texture and soft flavor to stir fries and soups. Just know that these mushrooms expand a lot while cooking, so you'll probably need to add less than you think.
At around $12 this 4-pack, 1 ounce set from FungusAmongUs may be more expensive than other wood ear brands, but there and 3 things I really like about them: they taste great, they're organic, and they're pre-shredded. It's easy to rehydrate a few chunks of dried mushrooms and add a whole new dimension to your dinner!
Please note that prices of dried mushrooms fluctuate due to demand, season, and harvest. Enjoy your dried mushrooms!