Everyone knows that Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that we all need to survive. It helps keep our immune system strong and also aids our metabolism. People make vitamin D when their skin cells are exposed to sun light. However, we can have lower levels of vitamin D in the fall and winter months when we are outside less than the warmer seasons. Which means it is important to eat foods that contain this nutrient to keep optimal health.
Mushrooms naturally contain vitamin D but did you know that you can naturally multiply their levels? Mushrooms create vitamin D when they are exposed to sunlight because they have ergosterol, the precursor to vitamin D. The ultraviolet B rays from the sun convert ergocalciferols into vitamin D2.
One study found that by drying shiitake mushrooms outside in the sun raised the vitamin D levels by 460%. And what's more amazing is that these levels also remained in the mushrooms after one year! This means you too can capture Vitamin D in your shiitake mushrooms and store them for later use during the winter months.
How To Dry Mushrooms to Increase Vitamin D
1. Remove the stem from the cap
2. Place the shiitake mushroom gills facing up towards the sun on a rack.
3. Allow the mushroom to dry for 6 hours. It is best to do this during the summer. Cover or bring the mushrooms in at night.
4. Repeat the process the next day. Two days of sun exposure provides the best results for drying and vitamin D storage.
5. Depending on your conditions, you may need to finish drying mushrooms in a dehydrator until they are crispy.
6. When completely dry, store in a glass container or covered container.
Now is a great time to purchase and dry shiitake mushrooms for winter use. Drying is simple and by placing them in the sun you can help naturally collect more vitamin D. If you are local, click here for more information about ordering our mushrooms