freeze mushrooms

Can You Freeze Mushrooms?

Mushrooms are eaten as a nutritious vegetable and are believed to have medicinal properties in some cultures.

Their delicious neutral earthy flavor makes them an ideal ingredient to blend in with creamy, spicy, tangy, and salty dishes. They can be eaten raw in salads, turned into soups and sauces, added to casseroles, stir-fry, savory fillings, and even battered and deep-fried.

Fresh mushrooms generally last about one week in the refrigerator before starting to show signs of spoilage. To extend their shelf life and prevent food waste, mushrooms can be frozen, as long as you follow a few simple guidelines to prevent extreme textural changes.

Here is what you need to know when freezing mushrooms.

Types of Mushrooms

mushrooms

Mushrooms are a fungal species that can be wild or cultivated. They come in a massive variety of shapes and sizes of which not all are edible. The species shape and size may vary from small thin strands forming bunches to large, chunky, thick, and plump growths.

The most commonly cultivated and readily available mushrooms in grocery stores and markets are button mushrooms. As they age, these mushrooms turn from small, white, and smooth-skinned to large brown mushrooms.

Fully matured button mushrooms are known as portobello mushrooms with much thicker and wider surfaces.

Mushrooms can be eaten raw in salads, pickled, grilled, fried, and sauteed. They make a great addition to almost any savory meal from breakfasts and salads, to sauces for burgers and steaks, and even fillings for pancakes, pies, and quiches.

Can Mushrooms Be Frozen?

frozen mushrooms

So, can I freeze mushrooms?

Yes, you can freeze mushrooms, but they require some preparation before freezing to preserve their flavor and texture.

Mushrooms have a high water content. When you freeze raw mushrooms, ice crystals form as the water solidifies. This damages the cell walls. Once thawed, the structure is ruined and the once firm and plump mushrooms will turn to mush. 

Slightly cooking the mushrooms before freezing will prevent the complete denaturing of the texture and will better preserve the flavor of the mushrooms. We, therefore, don’t recommend that you freeze mushrooms raw.

Frozen mushrooms are best used in cooked applications as opposed to salads.

There are various opinions about washing mushrooms before freezing as some cooks claim this can poorly affect the texture when freezing. 

However, should you be cooking the mushrooms, their texture will be altered anyway and it is best to clean them thoroughly so that any harmful substances are removed. This way, the mushrooms can be used straight out of the freezer once thawed.

Choose from one of the below preparation methods to get the best out of your frozen mushrooms.


How To Freeze Mushrooms

Method 1: Steaming

Step 1: Clean and Cut

Lightly brush any visible dirt off the fresh mushrooms and rinse them in cold water. Do not soak the mushrooms. Cut off and discard any damaged or brown areas. Mushrooms can be prepared whole, halved, or sliced. Cut the mushrooms if desired, however, try and keep the pieces a uniform size when doing so.

Step 2: Steam

If you are using whole mushrooms, place them in a steamer basket for 5 minutes. Smaller pieces can be steamed for 3 minutes.

While the mushrooms are steaming, fill a separate bowl with ice water. After 3 to 5 minutes of steaming, immediately place the mushrooms into the ice water to stop the cooking process and prevent the mushrooms from becoming fully cooked and too soft.

Step 3: Dry

Once the mushrooms are cooled completely, drain the ice water and dry the mushrooms with a clean paper towel to remove any excess moisture.

Step 4: Flash Freeze

Spread the mushrooms out onto a lined baking sheet in a single layer. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for around one hour or just until the mushrooms are frozen solid.

Step 5: Pack

Remove the frozen mushrooms from the baking sheet and pack them into a resealable freezer safe bag. Press out as much air as possible before sealing the bags to prevent freezer burn.

Step 6: Label and Freeze

Label the bag with the date and place the mushrooms in the freezer.


Method 2: Sauté

saute mushrooms

Step 1: Clean and Cut

Lightly brush any dirt off the mushrooms and rinse them in cold water. Cut off and discard any damaged or brown areas. Mushrooms can be prepared whole, halved, or sliced. Cut the mushrooms into the desired size pieces.

Step 2: Sauté Mushrooms

Heat a large skillet on the stovetop adding a small amount of oil or butter. Once warm, add the mushrooms to the pan and lightly sauté them for 3 to 5 minutes on medium heat. The cooking time will depend on the size and number of mushrooms.

Keep the mushrooms slightly undercooked as freezing and reheating will complete the cooking process.

Step 3: Cool

Remove the sauteed mushrooms from the pan and drain off any liquid. Allow the mushrooms to cool to room temperature on a plate or paper towel.

Step 4: Pack

Pack the cool mushrooms into resealable freezer bags. Lie the bag flat and press out any excess air before sealing the bag.

Step 5: Label and Freeze

Label the bag with the date and place the mushrooms in the freezer.


How To Thaw Frozen Mushrooms

Mushrooms are best placed in the refrigerator for a few hours to defrost. You can add frozen mushrooms to soups, casseroles, and stews. Just remember that they will release some moisture while thawing so you might need to adjust the liquid ratios in your recipe. 

For use as pizza toppings, in quiches, or other oven-baked dishes, it is best to thaw them first.


FAQs

Conclusion

Mushrooms are deliciously good-for-you versatile veggies. Sliced mushrooms are great in salads, pasta, noodle bowls, stir fries, omelets, pies, and soups.

Large portobello mushrooms are often used as a vegetarian patty substitute on burgers due to their meaty texture. In contradiction, small shitake mushrooms make quaint and delicate toppings on appetizer plates and broths.

Regardless of which way you like to prepare mushrooms, they add great nutrition and texture to dishes and easily blend in with the flavor profile of what you are cooking.

Don’t let these amazing ingredients go to waste if you have too many on hand. Freezing mushrooms after steaming or sautéing them will allow you to enjoy them for another 9 to 12 months.

See more: How to Dry Mushrooms

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