Growing magic mushrooms is a very delicate process that every farmer has a unique relationship with. For that reason, one thing that remains the same is the crucial attention to detail. For any readers interested in growing your own mushrooms, check out our article, How to Grow Magic Mushrooms: Step-by-Step. Once you have successfully achieved the process of growing and harvesting your mushrooms, then it’s time for the final delicate process of drying them. This last phase of the mushroom farming process is very important. It can add a more potent psychedelic effect to your batch, as well as increase the amount of time they last.
Why Drying Your Shrooms is Important
It is very important to dry your shrooms upon harvest. Magic mushrooms are comprised of at least 90% water, and they will spoil and decompose if not dried properly. In order to sustain them, you must patiently go through the drying process. When crispy dry, they are sustainable for years and will also have a more psychedelic potency. This is because the drying process preserves alkaloids within the mushroom. These are organic compounds of plant origin, which have pronounced physiological actions on humans. This is why a dried mushroom can be much more powerful.
Dried mushrooms can also be versatile for you alchemists out there. At the crispy phase of the mushroom’s life, it can be crushed and used in different alchemical recipes, such as teas, supplements, and tinctures. Outside of the sustainability, versatility, and chemical composition of the shrooms, drying them properly gives them a more alluring aesthetic. When dried correctly they should have a golden cap and a white stem.
Ways to Dry Shrooms
The goal of drying your mushrooms is to take out any and all of the moisture so the mushrooms won’t decompose or mold. Below are a few methods to help you get your mushrooms as dry as an Arizona desert summer.
- One of the first methods of drying mushrooms is to create your own enclosed and regulated space. This method involves a lot of equipment. For starters, you’ll need a drying rack, a space heater, a dehumidifier, and a small fan. This method is a bit easier to accomplish in more arid parts of the world, because your environment is already naturally dry and hot. In order t to test this method, start with small batches in a regulated space, so you don’t risk losing too many mushrooms if something goes wrong. This method calls for you to lay out your mushrooms on your drying rack in your regulated space for 24–48 hours, or until they are as crispy as a cracker.
- The second method is to invest in an at-home dehydrator. This can cost anywhere from $20 to $500. At home, dehydrating is a good method for drying small batches. To achieve cracker dry, set the dehydrator to about 91 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on how thick your mushrooms are, you’ll want to keep them in there for 12–24 hours, or again, until they are crispy as a cracker.
- We do NOT recommend drying your mushrooms in an oven, or with a hair dryer. These methods will cause the chemical constituents of the psilocybin to break down. Basically, you’ll bake out all of the potency, and you won’t fully enjoy the wonders your newly harvested mushrooms have to offer. This is the lazy way. Don’t be lazy!
- The last method is the desiccant method. We will be using the desiccant method, below, to break down what exactly desiccant is, as well as its step by step role in the drying process.
What is a Desiccant?
Desiccants are hygroscopic materials, absorbing moisture from the environment they occupy. They basically are mini super dehydrators. The most popular form of desiccant is the silica packets we find in the boxes of our freshly bought shoes or handbags. This ensures that nothing funky gets into your fresh new kicks and designer bags. Most of us may have grown up being semi-terrified of those silica packets due to the “do not eat” label. However, they are not poisonous. In reality, they are just highly absorbent rocks. If you were ever to consume a packet you would be one dehydrated being, but you wouldn’t die.
In the drying and storage process of mushrooms, the desiccant is a very useful tool to have. You can purchase silica packets, the most common form of desiccant, online in bulk, or at your local superstore. Another option is to start to save silica packets from dried goods and clothing purchases. However, it may take a few years to get the amount you need to dry your mushrooms. Instead, one fun way to get silica packets in bulk is to create your own.
How to make Desiccant
Below is a perfect way to get bulk silica packets, while saving a few dollars in the process.
What you will need
- Single-ingredient kitty litter. Can anyone guess what that ingredient is? Yup, silica gel. Meow, meow!
- Coffee filters or spare thin/ breathable cloth
- Scissors and a stapler
- Cut your coffee filter or thin piece of cloth into 4 equal squares.
- Scoop a tablespoon of silica gel onto each square.
- Fold the squares in half.
- Fold each open edge in and staple tightly shut.
These homemade silica gel packets can be dried out and reused again after each absorption session. This gives you nearly lifelong dehydration options for the drying and storing process.
Drying Shrooms: The Desiccant Method
Pre-drying is the mushroom’s natural way to shed its moisture. This is to prep them for the long haul. As soon as you harvest them, place the mushrooms on a plate and cover with a piece of black cloth. Place the plate in a sunny window with airflow. If perhaps it is a cloudy day, put the mushrooms on a plate near a blowing fan. Once your mushrooms get rubbery and wrinkly, they are ready for the big dry.
What you will need
- An airtight container, medium to large.
- Enough silica packets to line the bottom of your container.
- Paper towels.
- Metal mesh to separate and lift the mushrooms. This can be found at any craft store.
Line the bottom layer of your airtight container with silica packets.
Cover the silica packets with one layer of paper towels.
Round the metal mesh to the sides of your container to allow some lift from the paper towel. This creates an extra protective throne for the mushrooms to sit above the silica packets.
Place your wrinkly pre-dried mushrooms on top of their metal-mesh throne.
Close your airtight lid. The silica packets will absorb any remaining moisture.
BE PATIENT. Check on the mushrooms every couple of days. We want to achieve that cracker-dry state. It’s okay to test them out with a few touches, but do so sparingly, so you don’t slow down the process. Once your mushrooms break like a cracker, they are ready for their spotlight! Also, they are ready for long-term use and should be stored in an airtight bag or jar, accompanied by a silica gel packet to insure no moisture reenters the mushroom.
This process should be done as spritely as possible to minimize any of the moisture in the room getting into your controlled drying container. Also, for those of you who plan to harvest and dry many mushrooms, it’s advisable to invest in a vacuum sealer for optimal storage post-drying.
Drying Shrooms FAQ
How Do You Air-Dry Mushrooms?
Only in the pre-drying phase. This is to prep your mushroom for the long haul.
Do You Dehydrate Mushrooms?
The goal to drying your mushrooms is to take out any and all of the moisture, so that your mushrooms won’t decompose or mold. In other words, yes, you want to dehydrate your mushrooms.
How Long Does it Take to Dry Mushrooms in the Oven?
We do NOT recommend drying your mushrooms in an oven or with a hair dryer. This is due to the breakdown of the chemical constituents of the psilocybin. Basically, you’ll bake out all of the potency, and you won’t be able to fully enjoy the wonders your newly harvested mushrooms have to offer. Once again, this is the lazy way—so don’t be lazy!
How Long Do Dried Mushrooms Last?
Properly dried and stored mushrooms can last years before losing any potency.
RS Contributing Author: Niki Perlberg
Niki is a social and arts entrepreneur who specializes in project and creative production development. With her passion for social structures and the arts, she has been involved in the architecture of performance and festival culture around the country. In rapidly changing times she is now taking her passion for these sub-cultures and sharing them with us in our digital atmosphere through her writing and content development. Some of her favorite parts of life are coffee, campfires, and contemplating the mysteries of existence. Feel free to follow her on Insta @itsnikiperl