Can you freeze mushrooms? YES, you can freeze mushrooms to be cooked much later – yet with their shroomy-ness like they were bought only yesterday.
Mushrooms are a rich source of protein and fiber, yet low in calories. Some varieties like portobello mushrooms even make for a healthy ingredient to replace meat for their earthy and meaty taste should you decide to go vegan. But that would mean a lot of mushrooms.
Well, fret not because your bag full of shrooms bought on sale won’t spoil for a fair amount of time. If you happen to grow your own edible wild mushrooms, your bountiful harvest of freshly foraged mushrooms won’t have to go to waste. That is, with proper mushroom storage methods. Read along for the must-do’s for freezing mushrooms to ensure they stay freshest for as long as possible.
How to Freeze Mushrooms?
Mushrooms are fungi that grow on soil and have dirt whether or not you had harvested them yourself. Hence, it is important to clean them first to remove the dirt. It’s also best to pick fresh mushrooms with an oaky smell, and with a firm texture. If you’ve got some with dark spots, bruised skin, or moldy smell, exclude them from your basket already.
Freezing Raw Mushrooms
- First, clean the fresh mushrooms with a damp soft cloth to remove away all its dirt.
- Scrub them with a mushroom brush to remove the dirt and cut off the ends of their stem.
- Slice them in half. Put your cut mushrooms into a baking sheet and freeze them for two hours.
- Finally, use freezer bags and store them in the freezer until you’re ready to cook them.
Freezing Cooked Mushrooms
Cooking mushrooms before freezing them is commonly recommended by chefs and home cooks to preserve their nutritional value. There are two ways to cook the mushrooms and you may choose either method as a preparation for freezing them:
This method will draw out their moistness. Sauteed mushrooms are also rich in earthy flavor. When small amounts of fat is added to the mushrooms in the process of sauteing, it also eases the absorption of antioxidants. This method is also quick and simple.
- To saute, melt one tablespoon of unsalted butter into a pan over medium heat.
- Add the mushrooms and cook until brown.
- Afterward, spread the sauteed mushroom to a baking sheet and allow them to cool to room temperature.
- Transfer them into airtight containers, but take note to make an inch of space within the container as the mushrooms will expand when cooled.
This is unlike regular blanching methods where mushrooms are dropped into boiling water. This method involves partially cooking them with the use of steam and ice water, which will maintain their nutritional value better.
- If you don’t want to darken their color, you may soak them first in any citric acid. Soak the mushrooms in one tablespoon of pure lemon juice for every two cups of water before blanching for five minutes.
- Place them into a steamer basket on top of a pan with boiling water. The steaming period will depend on the size of the mushrooms. Whole mushrooms will take five minutes, smaller button mushrooms cut into slices will take three minutes.
- Plunge them in a bowl filled with ice and water for the same period of time you steamed them. Strain the water afterward.
- Put them in freezer bags and they’re ready to be stored.
How Long Can You Freeze Fresh Mushrooms in the Freezer?
Of course, we’re not going to store them in the freezer forever. We want to put them to delicious use, too. So, it’s also important to take note of how long they can be stored, and when’s the best time to consume them.
Depending on its storage condition, freshly picked whole mushrooms can stay in the fridge for up to ten days, while sliced ones can last for seven days. Whole mushrooms are less exposed to bacteria unlike the sliced ones and therefore stay fresh longer. You may cook them, and store cooked mushrooms in the fridge for another three to five days. Cooked mushrooms can be stored for six to eight months in the freezer as long as they are kept in freezer bags.
Here are some additional tips on how to freeze mushrooms at home. Make sure to take note of the following for better storage:
- Do not store your mushrooms in moist places like the refrigerator drawer.
- Do not place them near other foods with a strong odor as they will easily absorb those smells. These will cause your mushrooms to spoil and decay quicker.
- Avoid stacking foods on top of mushrooms, and store them neatly in containers. Doing so reduces the chances of bruising your mushroom, hence preventing bacteria growth.
- If your mushrooms have gone smelly, wrinkly, or slimy, it’s best to dispose of them already. This is so that moisture and bacteria from spoilt ones do not get spread to the good mushrooms (and other foods in the fridge).
Learn more storage tips: How Long Do Potatoes Last and 5 Ways to Store Them
How to Thaw Frozen Mushrooms?
We don’t need to thaw mushrooms like we do for frozen meat as mushrooms naturally release water during the cooking process and be cooked thoroughly. Unless, you need your mushrooms to be mixed into a dish like this farfel recipe, where it is necessary for them to be soft enough for chopping.
You can also thaw them overnight in the fridge then cook something quick-to-prepare in the morning and toss them in soups such as this mushroom barley soup. 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.
More Ways to Store Mushrooms
Aside from freezing your mushrooms, there are other ways to keep them fresh for longer in storage. Freezing, drying, or pickling them would vary in taste, texture, and shelf life. Try these other ways to preserve your favorite muncher.
Dried mushrooms are more concentrated in flavor compared to fresh and frozen ones. Shiitake mushrooms, chanterelle mushrooms, and portobello mushrooms go perfectly well with broths, stews, and soups as they give off a stronger earthy flavor.
To do this, dry your mushrooms in a preheated oven at 365 degrees F. Keep turning one side to another every 30 minutes until it reaches dryness. Keep them in an air-tight jar and they’ll be good for the whole year.
If you’d like some mushrooms prepared tangy and a bit spicy, consider pickling them! 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.
Freezing mushrooms is truly the most ideal way of keeping them fresh for longer while keeping their original taste. Don’t let your favorite mushrooms go to waste!