How to rehydrate dried mushrooms determines how tasty they are. However, if you do it the wrong way, you will not be able to enjoy their delicious taste. Although mushrooms can be used in a wide variety of dishes, many people have the impression that it seems like a hassle to rehydrate them, or it must take a lot of time and effort. In fact, it is very easy to rehydrate mushrooms.
We use the shiitake for the example here, but the way you dehydrate the mushrooms is basically the same for different kinds of mushrooms including kikurage!
1. Wash shiitake under running water to lightly remove debris. Make sure to use cold water around 41°F/5℃.
2. Place shiitake in a container. We recommend using an airtight container or a ziplock bag. After placing shiitake in a container or ziplock bag, fill it with enough water to cover the shiitake. Again, use cold water. Cold water is absorbed well, and a lot of guanylic acid, a unique umami ingredient of shiitake, is released. Guanylic acid is at its maximum around 5 hours after you start to rehydrate them.
3. Place in the refrigerator for 6-24 hours depending on the thickness of the shiitake. Most types of shiitake return to their original state in the refrigerator after about 6-12 hours, but it is recommended to rehydrate them slowly for 24 hours. It is also important to allow a certain amount of time to bring out the full flavor of the mushrooms.
4. If the stems become soft, they are ready to be used.
Some people say to rehydrate shiitake quickly, put them in warm water, add sugar, or microwave them. However, they are not the best ways to rehydrate shiitake, as they destroy the important umami components. If you want to enjoy the original taste of shiitake, it is important to use cold water and take a certain amount of time to rehydrate them, even if it takes a little longer.
When rehydrated, dried shiitake get four times bigger, and kikurage get seven times bigger.
The shiitake's soaking liquid is also nutritious and can be used in cooking as dashi soup stock. (Miso soup, curry, simmered dishes etc.) The kikurage stock does not have the same aroma as shiitake's, but it contains trace amounts of vitamin B2 and other nutrients as well.
To keep the dehydrated mushrooms and soaking liquid in the refrigerator, store them in a container or ziplock bag. It can be stored for about a week, but if it starts to smell, it has gone bad and should not be eaten.
To keep the dehydrated mushrooms in the freezer, drain thoroughly and place in a freezer bag for freezing. The soaking liquid can be kept in the ice molds etc. They will last for about a month. When you take them out of the freezer and use them for cooking, add them while frozen.
We will introduce some recipes using dried shiitake and kikurage in the next blog post.
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