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Food Waste Tips

Food & Drink, Food Waste Tips

How To Dry Mushrooms In The Oven

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how to waste less food ideas

I don’t know about you but mushrooms are something that I have trouble using up.  I don’t enjoy eating raw mushrooms, only cooked ones, and more often than not quite a few go slimy in the fridge before I have a chance to use them.  I’ve been trying to think of an idea to stop so many going to waste, and came across the the idea of drying mushrooms in the oven.  this handy tip came via A Girl Called Jack, and what a revelation that has been!

It’s really easy to dry mushrooms in the oven, and then they last for absolutely ages until you’re ready to use them.  Dried mushrooms are brilliant for adding to pasta sauces, soups, stews, casseroles and chilis – they add texture to any vegetarian or vegan meals, and impart a wonderful flavour to any vegetarian or meaty dishes.

The other really great thing is you can dry mushrooms in the oven while you’re cooking something else in the oven to save energy.  Here’s what I did with a pack of near slimy mushrooms:

How to Dry Mushrooms in the Oven:

how to dry mushrooms in the oven

How to Dry Mushrooms

Learn how to oven dry mushrooms with this really useful tutorial - never throw an off mushroom away again!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • Mushrooms

Instructions

  1. Clean your mushrooms (you can use any type of edible mushroom) - I just used a dry towel to clean them, but if yours are particularly dirty and need washing make sure you give them a good dry after washing.
  2. Chop into half an inch thick slices. If you slice them thicker then they'll take longer to dry out, so remember to adjust your cooking time. Some of the stalks of mine are missing in the photo above as mine had sat in the fridge for so long, and had gone a bit funny, but otherwise there's no need to remove the stalks.
  3. Place on a baking tray in preheated 180ºC (gas mark 4) oven for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven, turn over, and place back in the oven for a further 20 minutes, or until dry and the mushroom snaps when you break it in half. They shouldn't feel spongy, but crispy.
  5. Store in a clean airtight jar in a dark place for years!

dried mushrooms

I generally just add dried mushrooms straight into soups, sauces, etc, as I’m cooking but you can soak them in boiling water or stock to reconstitute them first if you prefer.

I love this method of drying mushrooms in the oven so much that I now quite often buy cheap mushrooms from the reduced section of shops just to dry.  I made this vegetarian chili the other week and added some dried mushrooms to it.  What a great addition it made!

If you enjoyed this post I’ve got a few other food waste tips for other types of food in the archives, including bread, milk, eggs, berries and bananas!

Food & Drink, Food Waste Tips, Winter

Roasted Butternut Squash Seeds

roasted-butternut-squash-seeds

roasted-butternut-squash-seeds

I’m always on the look out for healthy snack ideas.  The other week I was preparing one of my favourite winter vegetables, the butternut squash, for roasting.  As I was scooping out the seeds, I wondered if instead of composting them, like I normally do, I could roast the seeds, like you would do for pumpkin seeds.  I gave it a go, sprinkling some oil, paprika and salt on them, and lo and behold, roasted butternut squash seeds – a super tasty savoury snack that’s good for you, and so cheap it’s practically free!

The seed yield from butternut squash isn’t that high – enough for one person – so it’s not really worth using your oven just to cook the seeds.  If you’re not roasting your butternut squash then pop the seeds in a sealed container in the fridge and they’ll store until you use the oven (hopefully within 3 days or so!).

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How to Make Roasted Butternut Squash Seeds

Roasted Butternut Squash Seeds

Roasted butternut squash seeds make for a really tasty and healthy snack idea. They can be coated in a variety of ways - savoury or sweet, and are a great way to use seeds that would otherwise go to waste.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • One butternut squash
  • 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt depending on your taste

Instructions

  1. Scoop out the seeds from the butternut squash, like you would normally do.
  2. Try and remove as much of the butternut squash flesh and stringy bits from the seeds as possible. Don’t worry if you can’t remove every last bit, just as much as you can.
  3. Give your seeds a good rinse and then pat them dry with some kitchen towel.
  4. Place the seeds on a baking dish and add the oil, paprika and salt. Mix well so the oil and seasoning coat the seeds fairly evenly.
  5. Arrange the seeds in a fine layer, so that not too many seeds are on top of each other, and roast for about 12-15 minutes in roughly a 180°C oven. Give them a stir half way through so as not to burn them. (If you’re cooking something at a hotter temperature just keep an eye on them and be prepared to remove from the oven sooner)
  6. You’ll hear the seeds popping as they cook – don’t be alarmed! You can tell they’re done when they look a bit brown and crispy on the outside.

how to roast butternut squash seeds

You can store your roasted butternut squash seeds in an airtight jar for up to a week – mine never last that long – I ate all of mine whilst writing this post!

There are heaps of variations you could do on roasted butternut squash seeds – plain salt, chili, rosemary, cumin, or cinnamon are all ones that spring to mind to make tasty healthy snacks.  Alternatively if you wanted something a bit sweet vanilla sugar, soft brown sugar, honey or a touch of maple or golden syrup would all work very well!

A bag of seeds, especially ones made for snacking, can be found in shops for around the £1 mark.  By making a snack out of something you might otherwise throw away, it’s about as thrifty as you can get!

Do you have any other ideas for leftover butternut squash seeds?  I’d love to hear them – do share in the comments below!  There’s a bit of a debate as to whether you can plant seeds from shop bought butternut squashes.  Have you ever tried this?  Did it work?