How to Dry Reishi Mushroom

Reishi mushroom, also known as lingzhi mushroom, is a popular medicinal mushroom renowned for its many health benefits. However, reishi mushroom has a short shelf life in its fresh form and needs to be properly dried to retain its potency for long-term storage and use.

In this guide, we will cover the full process of drying reishi mushrooms at home, along with the pros and cons.

Why Dry Reishi Mushroom?

There are several advantages to drying reishi mushroom rather than consuming it fresh:

1. Extended Shelf Life: Properly dried reishi can be stored for over a year without losing efficacy. Fresh reishi spoils within a week.

2. Concentrated Medicinal Properties: The drying process helps concentrate reishi’s active compounds like ganoderic acids and polysaccharides.

3. Year-Round Availability: By preserving a season’s harvest through drying, you can enjoy reishi’s benefits even when fresh mushrooms aren’t available.

4. Convenience: Dried reishi is compact, lightweight, and easy to add to recipes or take as supplements anytime.

However, drying does destroy some heat-sensitive compounds. The mushrooms also lose some texture, flavor, and visual appeal in the process. But the longevity and potency benefits outweigh those drawbacks for most uses.

Choosing and Preparing Fresh Reishi for Drying

For drying, select mature reishi fruiting bodies that are at least 2-3 inches wide. Avoid any damaged, rotten or bug-infested mushrooms.

# Use a soft brush to gently remove any dirt or debris from the reishi without washing. Do not peel off the outer protective layer, as that contains important antioxidants.

# Small pieces can be dried whole, but large reishi clusters or shelf mushrooms may be sliced into 1/4 to 1/2 inch sections for faster, more even drying.

# Lay out cleaned mushrooms in a single layer on clean dishtowels or paper towels to air dry overnight before proceeding to the main drying step. This helps the mushrooms last longer during drying.

Drying Methods for Reishi Mushroom

There are several effective methods for dehydrating reishi at home:

Technique 1: Oven Method:

Preheat oven to 140°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange reishi slices or pieces in a single layer, making sure none touch. Dry for 6-10 hours, flipping periodically, until crispy and brittle.

Technique 2: Dehydrator Method:

Use a food dehydrator set to 130-140°F. Dry reishi for 24-48 hours or until totally dried and snap when bent. Rotate trays and flip mushrooms halfway through.

Technique 3: Sun Drying Method:

Lay cleaned reishi pieces on a mesh rack or dishtowel in direct sunlight for 3-5 days, flipping frequently, until dried and crispy. Cover at night to prevent rehydration.

While sun drying takes longer, it avoids heat exposure that could degrade nutrients. Ovens and dehydrators are the fastest but watch reishi closely at those temperatures. Drying is complete when mushrooms are very hard and snap when bent, with no moist spots inside.

Storing Dried Reishi Mushroom

  • Once fully dried, remove the reishi from the drying area and allow to cool completely before storing. Discard any pieces that remain pliable or moist, as mold growth may occur.
  • Store dried reishi pieces in an airtight glass jar or bag away from heat, light and humidity to maintain 2+ years of shelf life. Some whole dried mushrooms can also be hung in mesh bags to enjoy their earthy scent.
  • Check stored reishi every 6 months for signs of mold and discard any suspect pieces. Properly stored dried reishi retains optimal nutrition for extended use.

Using Dried Reishi Mushroom

Using Dried Reishi Mushroom

Dried reishi can be consumed in many ways:

  • Tea: Steep pieces in hot water for immune support tea.
  • Supplements: Capsules with finely ground powdered reishi are very convenient.
  • Tincture: Extract reishi’s compounds in an alcohol solution for easy digestion.
  • Culinary: Reconstitute in soups or broths. Also, try powdered reishi in mixes.
  • Extract: Make concentrated extracts at home by boiling chopped reishi in water for stronger effects.

Note: Rehydrating dried pieces before use often makes reishi more palatable in some recipes. Proper drying ensures reishi keeps its prized medicinal abilities for ongoing health benefits.


Proper drying is key to both preserving the nutritional value and extending the shelf life of this medicinal mushroom. While it does alter texture and flavor slightly, drying reishi allows year-round access to its antioxidants, polysaccharides, and other immunity-supporting compounds. With careful preparation and storage, a seasonal harvest of freshly foraged or cultivated reishi can provide health benefits throughout the year ahead.

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