When we talk about drying morels, the primary object is to let the morel dry naturally from its harvested state. Depending on the air drying method, you may or may not want to slice your morels, but do make sure you clean the stem of any dirt, and shake out any bugs taking refuge. In other words – if you rinse – do not soak. Just rinse, de-bug and pat dry to remove as much moisture as possible.
Oven and Other Drying
Other ideas are laying your morels on a screen, a table, or similar contraption. Using an oven is an option as well, but extreme care should be taken if oven drying your morels indoors. The goal here is to allow the morel to dry as naturally as possible, so whatever option you use just insure they are drying and you monitor the humidity levels. If you attempt the screen drying method, remember to allow good air flow throughout the entire drying process. So if you lay your screen frame on a table, make sure you have the morels raised off the table. Use a bricks or wood to raise your drying frames off the table to allow airflow.
You can also search online for solar food drying methods and plans if you would like to build something a bit fancier. These can also double for drying vegetables and nuts.
Let’s get a little more in-depth about the oven drying process – a relatively simple technique. When attempting to dry your morels using an oven, set the temperature at around 120-140 degrees and lay your morels out evenly on cookie sheets or on the oven racks so they are not touching. You can load your oven up with multiple trays or racks, just make sure you allow room for air movement and rotate them throughout the process every hour or two.
Expect the oven drying process to take anywhere from 8 to 12 hours. Much of this will depend on the size of the morels. Slicing in quarters or halving the morels will reduce the time as well. Remember to monitor the temperature closely and do not allow your precious morels to bake – the object here is a process of slow removal of moisture.
One additional tip – if you have a convection oven, use the convection oven setting as it moves the warm air around and may significantly reduce the drying time.