Can you freeze mushrooms? Edible mushrooms are used widely in cooking, in many different cuisines. So, you’ve bought a few packets of fresh mushrooms on sale to save some money and now you wonder whether you can freeze some of them to avoid spoilage. The good information for you is that you can freeze mushrooms. Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as putting the mushrooms into the freezer without any prior preparation. There are a few things related to freezing mushrooms and you should be aware of them. Let’s discuss them..
Mushrooms, similarly to most vegetables (take note that mushrooms aren’t classified as vegetables), contain a lot of water. Because of that, if you’ll freeze raw mushrooms, they might become mushy and they won’t work well in raw dishes. Fortunately enough, you can use them in cooked, baked or fried dishes (soups, stews, casseroles, etc.). When it comes to freezing mushrooms, there are also other methods than freezing raw mushrooms. They require some preparation on your side, but the results you’ll get should be better than if you’ve had chosen to freeze raw mushrooms.
Image used under Creative Commons from ben dalton
Freezing raw mushrooms
To do that, you must choose fresh and whole (!) mushrooms only. Firstly, you need to wipe the mushrooms clean. You can do that using a clean cloth. Please bear in mind that you shouldn’t wash the mushrooms, it might interfere with the process of freezing (excess of water). Now you need to put them on a baking sheet individually (they shouldn’t touch one another) and freeze them (that takes a few hours max). Once frozen, take the baking sheet from the freezer and pack the frozen mushrooms into a freezer bag or container (choose one that doesn’t leave much head space after adding the mushrooms). Now put it back to the freezer. You can keep the there for up to 3 months. As I’ve mentioned earlier, they’ll be mushy after thawing.
Freezing par-boiled mushrooms
This method is fairly easy. You just need to wash raw mushrooms and add them to boiling water. Please remember to add some salt as well (half a teaspoon per 1 quart (about 1 liter) should be enough. If you would like to retain mushrooms’ color, you should add some lemon juice (in similar proportion as salt). This juice works miracles as a bleaching agent. Once water comes to a boil again, boil mushrooms for about 3 minutes. Once that’s done, rinse them with cold water and let them drain. Once they’re drained, you need to put them into a freezer bag or container and put into the freezer. The mushrooms should be fine in the freezer for about a year.
Freezing sautéed mushrooms
This method is also easy. Pour some cooking oil into a skillet and put it on middle-heat. If you wish to, you can use butter instead of cooking oil. Now you just need to add mushrooms and some seasonings of your choice (i.e. pepper, salt, onions). Saute the mushrooms for about 4 minutes, stirring constantly. They should become tender by that time. Now let them cool down in room temperature. Once done, they are ready to be put into a freezer bag or a container and then into the freezer.
Freezing steamed (blanched) mushrooms
Prepare for steaming as usual. Once water boils, turn the heat down a little so it will simmer. Transfer the mushrooms into the steamer and cover it. Mushrooms should be steamed for about 2 minutes. If you plan to steam a huge amount of mushrooms, you can easily do it in batches. Once they’re steamed, let them cool down, put into a container or freezer bag and put into the freezer.
Here’s a video of how it should be done:
Tips regarding freezing mushrooms
Label and date the container or freezer bag before putting it into the freezer. If you fry, par-boil or steam mushrooms before freezing, package them in convenient sized bags so you’ll be able to thaw them as you go.
You can freeze mushrooms and that can be done in a variety of ways. Freezing raw mushrooms seems to be the worst method, it allows you to keep them in the freezer for only 3 months. Par-boiling, frying or steaming them are far better options.