Category: Vegetables

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Mushrooms?

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 news for you is that you can freeze mushrooms. Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as putting them into the freezer without any preparation. There are a few things related to freezing mushrooms and you should be aware of them. Let’s discuss them..

Freezing mushrooms

Mushrooms aren’t classified as vegetables. But just like them, they contain a lot of water. Because of that, if you’ll freeze raw mushrooms, they might become mushy. Mush mushrooms 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 other methods than freezing them raw. They require some preparation on your side, but the results you’ll get will be quite good. Better than if you’ve had chosen to freeze raw mushrooms.

Pack of mushrooms

Image used under Creative Commons from ben dalton

Freezing Raw Mushrooms

To do that, you must choose fresh and whole (!) mushrooms only. First, you need to wipe the mushrooms clean. You can do that using a clean cloth. Please note that you shouldn’t wash the mushrooms, it might interfere with the process of freezing (excess of water). Now you put them on a baking sheet so they don’t touch one another. Then you flash freeze them, which takes a few hours. Once frozen, take the baking sheet from the freezer and pack those mushrooms into a freezer bag or container. Make sure you don’t leave much head space. Now put it back to the freezer. You can keep the there for up to 3 months. As mentioned earlier, they’ll be mushy after thawing.

Freezing Par-boiled Mushrooms

This method is easy. You 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 keep 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 done, rinse them with cold water and let them drain. Once 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 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, you can put them into a freezer bag or a container and 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. You should steam mushrooms for about 2 minutes. If you plan to steam a huge amount of mushrooms, you can 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 On 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 can thaw as you go.

Summary
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.

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Onions?

Can you freeze onions? Onions are a very popular cooking ingredient. Chopped onions are often used as a food flavoring, but sometimes onions are used as the main ingredient as well. So, you’ve bought a large bag of onions on a sale because you wanted to save some money. Unfortunately, you realized that some of the onions might go bad before you’ll use them, so you’re thinking whether onions can be frozen to extend their shelf life. Fortunately for you, you can freeze onions and this is pretty popular process. Let’s go even further – you can actually buy frozen (chopped) onions at some stores. Many people buy onions in bulk to save money, so can you! There are a few issues concerning freezing this vegetable – let’s discuss them in detail.

How freezing affects onions

Similarly to very many different products, freezing and thawing has an effect on onions. Once frozen and thawed, onions become a little watery – they lose some of their texture. Please bear in mind that thawed onions won’t be crisp anymore. That’s a pretty major problem if you’re thinking about using them in raw dishes. Because of that, avoid using frozen and thawed onions in raw meals. If you plan to use frozen and defrosted onions in cooked or fried dishes – you’re free to go. Frozen and thawed onions are good for stews, soups, etc.

Chopping onions
Image used under Creative Commons from William Ross

How to freeze onions

There are a few issues related to freezing onions. Firstly, you need to clean and peel the onions you plan to freeze. They should be dry before cutting them. Now it’s time to chop the vegetables. Most people do this using a knife, but you can use a blender as well. In fact, you can use whatever utensil you want, just make sure that the size of the chopped onions is appropriate for your needs.

Now it’s time to pack the onions. Get a sandwich bag, scoop some chopped onions and put them into the bag. The amount you scoop depends on your needs, a quarter or half onion might be a good idea, but it definitely depends on your needs. After you’ve put all your onions into few sandwich bags, remove air from those bags and put them all in a zip lock bag, zip the bag and put it in the freezer. This was you can easily thaw only as little onions as you need at a time.

Instead of using the sandwich bags you can use an ice-cube tray. Put chopped onions into the trays, and freeze them. After they’re frozen you just need to remove them from the trays and put them all into the zip lock bag. This way you can also thaw onions as you go.

Before putting the zip lock bag into the freezer, make sure to date and label the bag properly, so you’ll know how many onions are in there and when you’ve frozen them. Frozen onions should be of best quality for about a year, after that time their quality might deteriorate a little.

Summary

As you should know by now, you can freeze onions, but that’s recommended only in case you plan to consume it in cooked meals. Using defrosted onions in raw dishes isn’t the best idea.