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Silica Gel Chamber

Silica Gel Tek for noobs like me who need to know how to dry properly

I have never made a Tek before, so please feel free to comment and suggest changes. I have verified this works for me, but do not grantee results for others. I should also mention that the reason i am posting this is because I was unable to find a cheap easy tek out there to follow. Nor was I able to find the products most people suggested like DampRid as I live in an area where this is not available. I have on the other hand taken pieces from several posts out there including the complete concept from here: https://www.shroomery.org/5265/What-are-the-different-ways-to-dry-mushrooms I was unable to locate the author so please forgive me for not giving credit where credit is due. To the important part.

What you need:
1 - Tin Foil roll
1 - Paper Towel roll
1 - Plastic Tupperware container with lid (can find one I pictured for less than a $1 at places like Walmart)
1 - Mechanical Pencil (can be anything with that type of point on the end)
1 - Container of Silica Gel (can be found at most craft stores, and is usually labeled Flower Drying Silica Gel) $10 - $15
      This is all you will ever need as it can be "re-charged" simply by putting in the over for a few hours
1 - Regular old room fan
1 - Piece of card board
oh and of course a batch of mushrooms

Step 1 : Fan Pre-dry
Place mushrooms on cardboard spread out and preferably not touching each other (they will stick together as they dry).
Place some sort of objects around the sides and end of the cardboard to stop the mushrooms from blowing away as they dry.
Place the fan blowing onto and over the laid out mushrooms.
Have patience and wait for 48 hours or until they are almost brittle and hard.
   Note: In wetter climates this may take longer or not work well at all. Drying mushrooms absorb moisture from anything around them including the air. Without the fan they will be wet and         rotting in no time at all. Also note that as they dry they will start getting light and could easily blow onto the ground etc. So make sure they are blocked in and onto the cardboard.
Drying Station

As your mushrooms are drying, now is the perfect time to make your cheap drying chamber.
Step 2 : Build your chamber and fill it up
Take the lid off the chamber and take a long strip of tin foil and pull it over the top.
While holding it in place, gently poke rows of holes in the foil essentially making a dirt cheap screen. Take care to not tare the foil.
Now with the foil screen, bend the sides of the foil and drop it down so it is a half inch off the bottom of the container.
Now fold the foil over the edges to secure it in place. Push the lid over the foil to seal it into place.
Remove the lid and make a basket out of paper towel. Much the same way you did with the foil without poking holes in it. This time make sure that it sits well inside the container (no paper towel sticking out).
Now take a second piece of tin foil pulled over the top and repeat the hole punching procedure. Make sure that none of the holes are big enough for any of your mushrooms to fall through.
Again push the foil screen down so it sits an inch above the paper towel.
Fold the edges over the top and again close the lid to lock it into place.
Now remove the lid and pull up the top screen just enough to fill the paper towel with Silica Gel.
Make sure to put a solid half inch thick of the stuff to make sure it can absorb lots of moisture.
Silica Basket
Put the top foil screen back in place and ensure there is still at least an 1/8th of an inch separation between the silica gel and the screen so no mushies come in contact with it.
Once the Silica Gel is in the container, always keep the lid on as it will quickly absorb any moister in the air and require a replenishing before you know it.

Step 3:
Now place your dryer mushrooms on the screen and close the lid.
Check back in 24 hours and you should have cracker dry mushrooms.

Cautions, Warnings, and things to know:
1. Most Silica Gel comes with a coloured indicator in it. Blue means dry and ready to use, while white/pink means wet and needs replenishing. The chemical used to do this is hazardous to your health and needs to be kept out of contact with the mushrooms. From what I have read, the chemical will not absorb into the mushrooms, but can easily be "picked up" or stuck to the mushrooms if they touch it.
2. If you purchased the kind with the indicator chemical in it and you do not see blue crystals in there, DO NOT USE. I say this out of experience. An experience that cost me a flush... my first flush. What this means is the Silica Gel has absorbed all the moister it can. Since mushrooms are also like a giant sponge, and you lock them into a relatively air tight container together the opposite of what you want happens. They mushrooms pull the moisture out of the Silica Gel and into them. Then when you come back in 4 - 5 hours to check on their progress you have rotting wet mushrooms.
3. Check your Gel frequently between uses to ensure it still has blue in it. Once it doesn't (aka white/pink), recharge by putting in a foil pan ($1 at a Dollar or Two) and load it into an over at 250 F for 5 hours. After 5 hours let cool quickly (I did for 30 mins), then load back into an air tight container for storage or use.
4. Do not load wet or still quite soft mushrooms into this container. Since they have 90 % water in them to start, you will max out your silica gel and end up with what I described about and lose your fruits.

Cheers and enjoy. Also if you know of a better tek out there or would like me to change or update feel free to comment or send me a message. Also I apologize for my atrocious picture quality. Really time for a new camera. 

Myco Supply
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