Storing your magic mushies properly requires you to get them bone dry first. Learn how to dry magic mushrooms in just a few simple steps.
Fresh Vs Dry Magic Mushrooms
Preventing mold and loss of potency are two of the main reasons people dry their mushrooms. You may be eager to have a munch on your freshly grown mushrooms, and there is nothing wrong with that! Just beware, as fresh mushrooms contain more psilocybin than dried mushrooms, so their effect is much stronger overall.
Although not as common, many people prefer eating their magic mushrooms fresh; they’re generally much easier and tastier for some to eat them this way but if you want to store them long term, drying them is best. It’s not an easy task to keep mushrooms fresh as they degrade and begin to lose moisture extremely quickly once harvested, which also explains why fresh mushrooms are stronger. There is really only a small window where one can enjoy them fresh.
Drying the mushrooms also makes sense for dosing purposes. It’s mush easier to measure the strength and proper dosage when there is no moisture left in the mushrooms. Moisture content also increases the risk of mold developing so if you have a lot of mushrooms, the logical thing to do is get them dry as quickly as possible and prepare them for storage. When the mushrooms are completely dry we can stop the degradation process from happening as quickly, thereby preserving potency. Properly dried and stored mushrooms can last for months without losing potency. So, let’s get started.
Harvesting Your Magic Mushrooms
The best time to harvest your magic mushrooms is as soon as you notice the veil under the mushroom cap begin to break away from the main stem. Once this veil breaks, spores get released, which we want to avoid. Two reasons for this; first, spores dropping on the mycelium increases the chances of contaminating it. If you plan to get multiple harvests (flushes) from your grow, avoid the spores dropping at all costs.
Second, once spores start dropping the mushrooms will start losing potency. To avoid any of this happening, we recommend you observe your grow carefully and pick all the mushrooms from the substrate once you notice the first mushroom opening its cap, right as the veil starts to break.
Methods To Dry Magic Mushrooms
Magic mushrooms begin to lose moisture as soon as they’re picked. There are 2 phases to properly dry magic mushrooms. To start, you’ll want to put the mushrooms through a pre-drying phase. This stage removes the majority of the moisture from your shrooms, but to get them completely dry for long term storage, you’ll want to be even more thorough.
To start, find a good space where your mushrooms can be left to dry for a few days.
- Prepare a clean, disinfected area away from direct sunlight.
- Lay out a piece of cardboard. Cover with a clean cloth/towel or use kitchen paper as it’s very absorbent.
- Space the mushrooms out as evenly as you can, and make sure they’re not touching or are too overcrowded.
- Place an oscillating fan nearby to remove any moisture as it evaporates from the mushrooms. Stagnant air makes the drying process much slower and also increases chances of mold.
- After 3-4 hours, turn the mushrooms over.
To tell if your mushrooms are dry enough, they should crack when breaking/bending them. This is very difficult to achieve through pre-drying only but can be done if the humidity levels are low enough. It depends a lot on the exterior conditions. Ideally though, you’ll want to move onto one of the steps below so you can get them extra crispy. Fresh mushrooms will lose 90% or more of their weight if properly dried.
Tip: A vertical drying rack is a great option to save both space and time. Having airflow underneath the shrooms can speed up the drying process and reduce chances of mold.
Depending on the relative humidity levels in the drying environment, the pre-drying phase may not be enough to get your shrooms bone dry. To be sure we’re drying our mushrooms correctly, it helps to know the relative humidity levels, which can be measured using a hygrometer. We recommend you get one of these if you’re serious about drying your magic mushrooms and want to be 100% sure you’re not risking a mold infestation. If you don’t have one, check your mushrooms regularly as they’re drying. Fluctuations in the environment means the mushrooms can even reabsorb moisture if we’re not careful.
- Low Humidity – Place in a well ventilated area, an oscillating fan on a low setting may be sufficient.
- High Humidity – Place in a warm spot (like ontop of the fridge or near a radiator) with a fan directly on the mushrooms.
As we mentioned, test the dryness of the mushrooms once in a while, and when you hear a snapping sound from bending the mushrooms it’s time to get them stored properly. You may notice the stems crack on the outside, but the middle does not. This means they need more drying time.
Air drying may not be the most consistent way to dry magic mushrooms, but for most mushroom growers working on a small scale, it is the easiest way without having to invest in other materials or equipment like dehydrators.
If you’ve ever wondered what that small pack of silica gel does in a new box of shoes, you’ve come to the right place. Although we love the idea of new shoes, we’re talking about mushrooms, so let’s not get distracted. Silica gel packs are ideal for keeping an environment completely dry. Silica gel is a desiccant, which does the opposite of a humectant. Rather than keeping it humid, a desiccant attracts all the moisture within an environment. This not only makes it perfect for keeping clothes mold free, but it also does a great job at drying magic mushrooms!
Finding silica gel packets in high street shops can be a bit tricky so ordering them online might be the best way. They usually come in large packs of small sachets, so you’ll have plenty to keep you going for future harvests. If you’re on a tight budget though, you can always make a desiccant at home using Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate), which can be picked up for cheap at a local pharmacy.
Make a desiccant using Epsom salts
- Preheat your oven to 250ºC
- Spread the Epsom salt over a baking tray (1cm thick)
- Bake for 1.5-2 hours
- While they’re still hot, break apart the dry salts using a hammer.
- Moisture will get absorbed instantly after taking the salts out of the oven, so try to work quickly and place them in the bottom of your container while they’re still warm.
You’ll want to set it up so your pre-dried magic mushrooms are placed just above the Epsom salts. They should not be in direct contact but close enough to each other so that moisture can effectively be drawn downwards. There are a few ways to set this up but here’s a simple method to get your started:
Setting up a desiccant to dry magic mushrooms
It’s best to work with an airtight container so you can isolate the moisture and make sure the desiccant is only absorbing what it needs to.
- Place the desiccant in the bottom of the container.
- Cover with a 2-3 layers of kitchen paper.
- Cut some pieces of strong aluminium foil to fit the size of your container, making sure there is no space around the edges (recommended to cut pieces slightly bigger than the diameter of the container to avoid any small mushrooms falling down the sides).
- Layer the aluminium foil pieces on top of each other.
- Using a pin or sharp tool, make lots of small holes in the foil. You can do this before placing the foil inside the container if it’s easier for you.
- Place your mushrooms on top of the foil.
- Close the airtight container.
You can guarantee that your half-dry magic mushrooms will become bone dry using this method. Check back every 24 hours until you hear that snapping sound when trying to bend a mushroom stem. You can then either leave the mushrooms in the container for storage or move them to another air tight container without a desiccant placed in the bottom. You can always reuse your desiccant containers later on to dry more mushrooms. Eventually the desiccant will need to be replaced though, as it will reach a point where it cannot absorb any more moisture.
Tip: For an effective long term storage method, you may want to look into vacuum sealing your dry magic mushrooms.
Dehydrators are best for those looking to take their mushroom drying to the next level. Dehydrators can be an expensive option, but they make the process very easy for the grower, especially when they are producing a lot of shrooms or growing regularly. Consistency at this level is a must, so the pros will most likely choose this method. Dehydrators use warmth and air movement to remove moisture.
Dehydrators can save plenty of time and effort, and give consistent results time and time again. Depending on the model, dehydrators also give the grower the possibility to control heat and airflow. Simply chose your settings, place the mushrooms inside and wait for the process to be completed. There are loads of different dehydrators available on the market, ranging in all kinds of price and quality. A simple food dehydrator will likely do the trick, so don’t forget to check your local kitchen appliances store.
Storing Dry Magic Mushrooms
Now your mushrooms are dry, you may be wondering what the best way to store them is. As we mentioned briefly earlier, keeping them in an airtight container goes a long way, but you may want a method that preserves them for even longer.
Most importantly, always keep your mushrooms stored away from direct sunlight. A dark, cool, airtight environment is the best option.
Airtight containers are necessary to keep moisture or fresh air away from your dried mushrooms. If you want your mushrooms to last, invest in airtight containers which also provide a small vacuum. Kilner jars work great and are available in many sizes. There are also airtight containers with built in hygrometers, allowing you to monitor the conditions inside the container without having to open it.
If there is no desiccant in your container, be cautious to not leave the container open at any time as the mushrooms could start to reabsorb moisture. If you plan to consume from the stash regularly, it makes sense to separate what you want to consume at the beginning so you’re not opening and closing the container too often.
Tip: If storing different types of mushroom, it is recommended you label the containers.
Vacuum sealing is definitely one of the best methods to keep your mushrooms long term. If the mushrooms are properly dried before sealing using a vacuum, they can be comfortably stored for 1-2 years without losing potency. Vacuum sealers are quite affordable (around 20-30 euros for a basic food sealer) for the benefits they provide. If you’re an avid cannabis consumer (or chef) too, a vacuum sealer can also come in handy once in a while.
Higher quality vacuum sealers usually give you more control over the vacuum. It’s recommended to get as much air out of the bag as possible, although you may also want to leave a bit of space so that the mushrooms don’t get crushed under the pressure. Some people may prefer to cut their mushrooms down to a smaller size to save on space, as they can be pretty chunky and difficult to pack neatly when whole.
Tip: If cutting your mushrooms, always do it once they’re dry. You’ll notice how easily they turn blue (bruising) from handling when they’re fresh. Some growers believe the bruising affects potency, so we recommend avoiding it just in case.
Although it might not seem like the most conventional way to process mushrooms, making chocolates with them is actually a great way to both store and enjoy your fungi friends in neatly packaged doses. Weigh your mushrooms, grind them down, melt the chocolate (preferably dark) bain marie style, mix in the ground shrooms and divide in an ice tray. Then place in the freezer and hey presto, you have mushroom chocolates! You can also take them out of the ice tray once they are frozen solid and wrap them in aluminium foil or any packaging of your choice.
Chocolate can also help with the digestion of mushrooms. To get the most out of their potency, it is usually advised to consume magic mushrooms on an empty stomach. However, some people have more sensitive stomachs than others, and mushrooms on their own can be quite hard to get and keep down if you really don’t like the taste, so chocolate can really help. Dark chocolate is a good option as it has less sugar in it.
You should now have a fairly good understanding of how to dry and store your mushrooms once they are ready. Mushroom harvests can be very rewarding, so be ready to have a decent amount of mushrooms. It’s unlikely you’ll consume the whole lot in one sitting and if all goes to plan, you’ll likely have more than enough for a few trips. It’s quite possible you’re going to need to learn these storage techniques sooner or later, so feel free to come back to this article whenever you need to! And if you have any tips on drying mushrooms that we might have missed, drop us a comment down below!
Note: We do not recommend the consumption of magic mushrooms at all. The effects of magic mushrooms can be extremely introspective and/or retrospective, produce hallucinations and distorted perceptions of reality and the self. Negative experiences can happen, so always do your research and avoid rushing into anything you’re not sure about.