How to Dry Shrooms While Preserving Potency

Whether you’re harvesting a large flush of homegrown mushrooms or scored a bunch of shrooms from the wilderness, knowing how to properly dry fresh mushrooms is an important step to preserving the potency and extend their shelf-life. There are many different ways to do it and the best method will depend on your environmental conditions and the equipment you have on hand. If properly dried, you can store your dried mushrooms for years without diminishing the potency.

The psychoactive active compounds in magic mushrooms are sensitive to extreme cold and hot temperatures, and will rapidly degrade if not dried and stored properly. Reference: Stability of psilocybin and its four analogs in the biomass of the psychotropic mushroom Psilocybe cubensis

Before getting started:

Magic mushrooms are diminished in potency when exposed to extreme heat. That said, many cultivators agree that the lower the temperature the better. Low-temp drying will result in a longer dry time; however, some report that it has a huge impact on potency. Low-temp methods include drying using a fan only in a dark area at room temp.

How long should you dry magic mushrooms?

In a few words, until they are “Crispy Cracker Dry”. You want your shrooms to be as dry as a saltine cracker. You will know they are done if you bend, break or squeeze the mushroom and you feel/hear the “crack”. You want to feel the crispiness of the mushrooms. A properly dried shroom should be able to be pulverized into a powder if desired. Depending on the amount and method used, this can take anywhere from 3 to 48hrs.

Leave Your Mushrooms Whole.

While it might make sense to cut your mushrooms into smaller pieces to dry them quicker, this will promote oxidation and lessen the quality of your product. The blue bruising reaction actually is an oxidation reaction and has been reported to reduce the overall potency as well as to make them look like crap.

Storage Is Important.

Leaving your dry mushrooms out, particularly in humid climates, causes them to absorb moisture from the air. This will turn your crispy shrooms into squishy shrooms in no time. Therefore, as soon as your mushrooms are cracker dry, it’s important to move them directly into an airtight container. In extremely humid climates, it may be a good idea to place a store-bought desiccant bag in with your mushrooms. Make no mistake, soggy shrooms will mold, so make sure they are in an airtight, dry container. For long-term storage place in a vacuum-sealed bag.

Wet Weight.

Nearly 90% of a mushroom’s weight is water weight. Once dried your weight will be around 10% of the wet weight.

How to dry magic mushrooms:

Method #1: Food Dehydrator

Perhaps the best and most fool-proof method to dry your mushrooms is with a store-bought food dehydrator. These usually run anywhere from $30-100 and are well worth the investment if you plan to do this routinely. Food dehydrators work by blowing warm air up through drying racks. Its recommended that you find one with a temperature gauge so that you can have more control over the drying temperatures.

How to dry your shrooms with a food dehydrator.

  1. Place your whole mushrooms directly on the drying racks making sure that there is a bit of space between each fruit. No big deal if they are touching, space just provides more surface area for the air to circulate.
  2. Place your dehydrator on the lowest settings and wait 12-24 hours. As the mushrooms begin to dry you will notice they significantly reduce in size. If your dehydrator is stacked you can consolidate your mushrooms into one or fewer trays to speed up the process as the racks closer to the drying element dry quicker.
  3. Take your dried crispy mushrooms directly from your dehydrator into your airtight storage container or vacuum seal them for long-term storage.

Method #2: Passive Dehydration

Passive dehydration has been done by people for thousands of years. This method uses simple principles of natural airflow and climate to dry the mushrooms without intervention. While this method may not be effective in wet or cold climates, passive drying by setting them out to dry naturally can work exceptionally well in dry climates. Below are some tips on how to successfully use this method.

  1. Place fresh mushrooms on a piece of cardboard in a warm place, preferably out of direct sunlight. The cardboard will help absorb some of the moisture and lead to a quicker drying process. If you can’t manage to dry them completely in the shade, place them in the sun just for a couple of hours to finish off the job.
  2. Another option is to set them on a piece of cardboard and blow air on them using a fan. This method is effective, however can take some time to completely dry. While most people understand that higher temperatures induce drying, circulating air can be just as effective.

Method #3: Using a Desiccant

Desiccants are special materials that are used to absorb moisture from the air. You’re probably familiar with these as the “Do Not Consume” packets that come in beef jerky and other dried goods to keep them fresh. While you can use desiccants not only to keep things dry, using them as a method for drying fresh material has been gaining popularity. Desiccant drying is usually done as a supplement to the old-school, passive method of drying.

How to dry shrooms using Desiccant packs

  1. Dry your mushrooms as much as you can with the passive dehydration method.
  2. Place mostly dry mushrooms in an airtight container with some store-bought desiccant packs. Mushrooms should be cracker dry within a few days.

Alternately, you can make your homemade desiccant.

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 250 degrees F. Fill a baking sheet with roughly 1 cm of Epsom Salt, spread evenly across the surface. Bake the Epsom Salt for about 2 hours. After this, your Epsom salt has become a powerful homemade desiccant that will begin absorbing moisture from the air as soon as you take it out of the oven. The Epsom Salt will have formed a solid sheet of desiccant. Break it up and place in an airtight bag for storage.
  2. When ready to use, put your homemade desiccant at the bottom of your airtight container followed by a hefty layer of paper towels and cardboard. Place your mushrooms on top making sure they won’t come in contact with the desiccant.
  3. After several days your mushrooms should be cracker dry. You can leave them in this container indefinitely or move them into another air-tight long-term storage container.

Method #4: Oven Drying

While this is probably the least recommended option, it’s often one that is the most accessible. I will mention this option just so that if you do happen to have no other option, at least you do it right.

  1. Dry your mushrooms as much as possible using a passive dehydration method if time permits.
  2. Place your mushrooms on a rack with small enough grates so that they won’t fall through once dried. Alternatively, you can place them directly on a baking tray or tin foil.
  3. Preheat your oven to its lowest setting.
  4. Place your rack or tray of mushrooms into the oven and leave the door slightly open to allow the heat and moist air to escape.
  5. Wait 1-2 hours until your mushrooms are completely dry and place them into a storage container.

In Conclusion

The most important thing to remember when drying your shrooms is not to rush them. While you may be able to dehydrate them much faster using heat, you will ultimately sacrifice potency. Make sure to dry your mushrooms until they are as dry as a cracker, then store them in an airtight container where they are not exposed to moisture or humidity. For short-term storage, an airtight jar or ziplock bag will do just fine. Once dry your mushrooms can be stored for years and be used whenever necessary