Once harvested, magic mushrooms don‘t stay fresh for very long. To store them for longer periods of time, it is necessary to first dry them. But to get them cracker-dry you will need a desiccant; however, these are quite expensive, hard to obtain and often toxic. Fortunately, there‘s an easy alternative. Read more at our blog.
Simple; substance that absorbs water from the atmosphere. Silica gel is the most commonly encountered desiccant. It‘s often found in industrial packaging, but also in foods that need to stay dry.
The most cost efficient and environmentally friendly way to dry your mushrooms is to make a desiccant yourself. It‘s much easier than it sounds, essentially you‘re just baking epsom salts from your local pharmacy.
The chemistry behind it goes like this: Epsom salt is Magnesium Sulfate, which has the chemical formula MgSO4·7H2O. Remember water is H2O - you see that 7H2O in the formula of Magnesium Sulfate? There‘s seven water molecules attached, which makes this Magnesium Sulfate Heptahydrate.
Now, if you bake the Heptahydrate, the seven water molecules will evaporate away, and you‘re ending up with MgSO4, Anhydrous Magesium Sulfate. Because MgSO4 wants to gain these seven water molecules back, it will absorb water from the atmosphere until it‘s saturated. If we put the mushrooms together with the MgSO4, it will pull out all the water of the mushrooms.
To start with, it is a good idea to “pre-dry” your fresh mushrooms. This will get a lot of the excess moisture out of them and prevent them going moldy. To do this, place your magic mushrooms on a plate and have a fan blow over them until they look slightly shriveled and feel dry to the touch.
In this condition, your magic mushrooms will be fine to store for a few weeks. If you want to be able to store them any longer, you will have to go one step further.
Now that the excess moisture has been taken out of the mushrooms, you will want to get them to a stage that is known as “cracker-dry” to be able to store them long-term. The most effective way we have found to do this is by turning easily bought Epsom Salts into a home made desiccant.
To do this you will need the following:
Store bought Epsom Salts (Magesium Sulfate)
A baking tray
An air tight container
1. Fill you baking tray with about 1cm on Epsom Salt.
2. Preheat your over to between 204 – 250 degrees Celsius. The closer you can get to 250 degrees, the better.
3. Put the Epsom Salts in the oven and leave them to cook for about 2 hours. This will remove all of the moisture present in them.
4. Your Anhydrous Magesium Sulfate will start absorbing moisture from the air as soon as you take them out of the oven, so you will need to be quick – do not wait for them to cool down. The salts will have become one solid cake; take your hammer and break it up into pieces. Place them in air tight containers as soon as possible, while still hot. You do not need to worry about your Epsom Salts re-humidifying completely within this time, but the faster you can do it, the better. You now have home made desiccant.
Interested in cooking with your magic mushrooms? Take a look at these tasty recipes!
Anhydrous Magesium Sulfate - MgSO4
Now that you have your home made desiccant, you can now preform the final and thorough drying of your magic mushrooms.
To do this you will need:
Your home made Epsom “rock” desiccant
A plastic container with air tight lid large enough to hold your desiccant and mushrooms
A paper towels
Per-dried Magic Mushrooms
1. Place your desiccant in your plastic container as a bottom layer.
2. Cover your desiccant with a layer of paper towels.
3. Bend your metal mesh around the sides and place it in the container so that the mesh creates a platform to hold the mushrooms above the paper towels. This is done as you do not want to run any risk of the mushrooms coming into physical contact with the desiccant.
4. Place your magic mushrooms on top of the metal mesh.
5. Place the air tight lid on the container.
6. The desiccant will now start to absorb all of the moisture out of the mushrooms. It is important that the container is air tight so that the only moisture available is from the mushrooms and air trapped in there.
Check back every couple of days to see how dry the mushrooms have become. They will be ready when they are “cracker dry” - when they snap when you try to bend them.
If you happen to have a vacuum machine in your kitchen, the best way to prevent new moisture from entering your now dry mushrooms is to vacuum seal them. Otherwise, zip locks will also do the job, but they are not as air-tight as a vacuumed bag.
That‘s it, your magic mushrooms are now ready for long term storage in a cool, dark and dry place!