The Paleo List Answers:Are Dried Mushrooms Paleo?

Dried mushrooms are often recommended for use in soups and stews to add a delicious boost of flavor. But how are they dried? Are they Paleo?
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What Are Dried Mushrooms?

Mushrooms are known for their deep umami flavor, and can often replicate the taste and texture of meat. For these reasons, chefs love mushrooms. Dried mushrooms are essentially a concentrated form of this umami flavor, and therefore add a lot more punch to recipes.

Dried mushrooms are actually very simple. Fresh mushrooms are sliced and then dried, usually in a large dehydrator. They are often dried at a low temperature for several hours in order to extract all moisture. Dried mushrooms should feel crisp and brittle.

Are Dried Mushrooms Paleo?

Yes – but with a few caveats. First, we recommend organic. While you can find cheap brands of dried mushrooms at your local Asian market, it’s hard to know exactly what you’re getting, if they’ve been cleaned, and if pesticides have been used. Mushrooms are very porous, so they can absorb a lot of pesticides, and since any chemicals or dirt will be concentrated in dried mushrooms, it’s always best to go for the organic ones.

Most dried mushrooms contain grit. Soaking and rinsing them should eliminate this grit. Additionally, most brands advise you to cook your mushrooms before consuming them. This reason is likely twofold: 1) all raw fungi contain toxins (varying in strength) that can make you sick. Toxins are concentrated when mushrooms are dried and can become more dangerous; and 2) some brands advise cooking them first because they can’t guarantee that bacteria didn’t contaminate the mushrooms during the drying process.

Check out the links below for making your own dried mushrooms, or for incorporating store-bought dried mushrooms into your Paleo cuisine.
Are you struggling with which foods are Paleo?  Do you need help planning some Paleo meals?  Check out this great Paleo cookbook:
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