Can you freeze mushrooms? Yes, you definitely can! That means you can freely stock up on all your favorite varieties when they are in season, and save them for later. Make the tastiest dishes with button, portobello, and even porcini mushrooms all year round. Who needs regular canned mushrooms when you can preserve wild mushrooms on your own?
Continue reading to learn the must-dos of freezing mushrooms to make sure they stay freshest for as long as possible.
How to Freeze Mushrooms
To freeze mushrooms, either sauté or steam blanch them first. And yes, you can absolutely freeze cooked mushrooms! In fact, this is recommended by chefs and home cooks, as the cooking process helps preserve the mushroom’s nutritional value.
Here’s how to freeze cooked mushrooms:
Follow these steps to sauté mushrooms before storing them in the freezer:
- To sauté, melt one tablespoon of unsalted butter on a frying pan over medium heat. You may also use olive oil as an alternative to butter.
- Add clean mushrooms to the pan, and cook until brown. For a shorter cooking time, you may opt to slice the mushrooms into smaller pieces before cooking.
- Afterward, spread the sauteed mushroom on a baking sheet lined with a paper towel. Allow them to cool at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Transfer the mushrooms into airtight freezer-safe containers to avoid freezer burn.
- Since mushrooms expand in the freezer, it is best not to stuff too many into one container. Try to leave at least an inch of space between the mushrooms and the lid of the container.
Apart from preserving nutrients, sauteing also draws out excess moisture from the mushrooms. Because of this, the flavor of sauteed mushrooms is much more concentrated. Freezing sauteed mushrooms can help preserve this wonderful flavor for a longer period.
There are two parts to steam blanching, which makes it different from the regular blanching method. When you steam blanch mushrooms, you will first steam the mushrooms above boiling water. Then, the steamed mushrooms are submerged in ice water. This process eliminates enzymes that speed up food spoilage. Here’s how to do it:
- Fill a pot with water. For every two cups, mix in a tablespoon of lemon juice or any form of citric acid. This is to keep the mushrooms from darkening.
- Place the mushrooms in a steamer basket over the pot, then start boiling the water. Whole mushrooms take an average of five minutes, while sliced mushrooms and smaller varietals take about three minutes to steam.
- After steaming, transfer the mushrooms to a bowl filled with ice and water for the same period of time you steamed them. Strain the water afterward.
- Put the mushrooms in freezer bags, and they’re ready to be stored.
Freezing Raw Mushrooms
Although freezing mushrooms after cooking is the best way to preserve them, you can also freeze raw mushrooms from farmers’ markets and supermarkets. To ensure your mushrooms stay fresh for long, pick fresh mushrooms with an oaky smell and a firm texture. Steer clear from those with dark spots, bruised skins, or moldy smells.
After choosing the best mushrooms for storage, prep them by following these steps:
- First, clean the fresh mushrooms with a soft damp cloth to remove the dirt.
- Scrub them with a mushroom brush to get rid of stubborn impurities, and cut off the ends of their stems.
- Slice the mushrooms in half.
- Spread the sliced mushroom over a baking sheet, and flash freeze them for 2 hours.
- Finally, transfer the mushrooms into freezer bags before storing them in the freezer.
How Long Do Mushrooms Last in the Freezer?
All fresh and cooked mushrooms can last in the freezer for 9 months to 1 year. This will all depend on the freshness of the mushrooms before storage, as well as how properly stored they are. In any case, freezing substantially extends the shelf life of these edible fungi. So if you don’t see yourself using them anytime soon, you can freeze mushrooms so they stay fresh for a longer period. Store them in freezer bags and label each one to keep track of the dates.
To tell if mushrooms are bad, look out for any changes in appearance, texture, and smell.
Appearance: The exterior of shrooms that are moldy, wrinkled, dark-colored or covered in dark spots are unsafe to use for mushroom recipes.
Texture: Their texture can also be slimy or spongy,
Smell: They smell bad from afar. Bad mushrooms give off a range of pungent smells ranging from ammonia-like stench to sour or fishy smells.
How Long Do Mushrooms Last Without Freezing?
Freshly-picked whole mushrooms can last in the fridge for up to ten days. Sliced ones, on the other hand, can last for seven days. Whole mushrooms stay fresh longer because they are less exposed to bacteria compared to sliced ones. You may cook them to keep the mushrooms in the fridge for another three to five days.
How To Store Mushrooms in Freezer Properly
Here are some additional tips for freezing mushrooms at home. On top of knowing the best way to store mushrooms, these will help you achieve the best results.
- Do not store your mushrooms in moist places like the refrigerator drawer.
- Do not place the mushrooms near strong-smelling food, as they could easily absorb odors. This could cause your mushrooms to spoil and decay quicker.
- Avoid stacking other food on top of mushrooms, and store them neatly in containers. Doing so reduces the chances of bruising your mushroom, hence preventing bacterial growth.
- If some of your mushrooms have gone smelly, wrinkly, or slimy, it’s best to dispose of them immediately. Otherwise, their moisture and bacteria might spread to the rest of the mushrooms.
READ ALSO: Can You Freeze Celery? Yes! Here’s How.
More Ways to Store Mushrooms
Aside from freezing, there are other ways to preserve mushrooms. Try these methods to keep your favorite muncher fresh:
Dried mushrooms have a more concentrated flavor compared to fresh and frozen ones because all moisture has been drawn out from them. Shiitake mushrooms, chanterelle mushrooms, and portobello mushrooms are perfect for a mushroom stew, broth, or soup as they give off a stronger earthy flavor.
To dry mushrooms, cut each one in half first. Then, dehydrate them in a preheated oven at 365 degrees F. Flip the mushroom slices every 30 minutes, until completely dry. Keep them in an air-tight jar and they’ll be good for the whole year.
Pickling not only preserves mushrooms but also packs them with a deliciously tangy and spicy flavor. White button mushrooms, crimini, portobello, or beech are great for pickling. Their chunky and meaty texture makes them a good ingredient for salad, sandwiches, and pasta. Keep your pickled mushrooms in the fridge for the next four months and you’re ready to go.
But if you want a more natural flavor, then freezing mushrooms is the best way. Don’t let your favorite mushrooms go to waste!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
How do you thaw frozen mushrooms?
We don’t need to thaw mushrooms like we do frozen meat, as they naturally release water during the cooking process for thorough cooking. You can freeze mushrooms, then cook them in their frozen state. That is unless you need your mushrooms to be mixed into dishes where they should be soft enough for chopping.
You can also thaw them overnight in the fridge, then cook something quick in the morning. Keep in mind that they will release a lot of water content, so thawing them for a longer period of time will change their texture and taste. Hence, cook and consume them as soon as possible after taking them out of the fridge.
Can you freeze mushrooms for a casserole, sauce, or soup dish?
Yes, you can freeze mushrooms for casseroles, sauces, and soup dishes. As a matter of fact, these are the best meals to make with preserved mushrooms. Compared to other dishes, the changes in the texture of the mushrooms won’t be as noticeable when making these three.