If you find yourself wondering how to freeze mushrooms, it is probably because you love to have them around. However, mushrooms don’t last when fresh, so it is normal to want to preserve them.
Can you freeze fresh mushrooms?
The answer to this question is a little more complicated. You can freeze raw mushrooms, but there are some things to take into account. You can also freeze cooked mushrooms, which can be life-changing in terms of flavor and texture.
So, next time you ask “Can I freeze mushrooms?”, keep these 4 things in mind.
4 Ways to Understanding How to Freeze Mushrooms
Fact #1: The easy method involves slicing and freezing fresh
For a quick freezing method, all you have to do is brush your mushrooms clean and slice them into thinner pieces. You can then lay them on a baking sheet, preferably lined with parchment paper.
Place your baking sheet in the freezer for a couple of hours, then remove it, and put all the frozen mushroom pieces in a freezer bag or container.
Using this method means that your mushroom pieces can freeze separately, so when you store them in a bag they won’t stick together. You can then remove as many pieces as you need to use and preserve the rest.
Fact #2: The harder but tastier method involves pre-cooking
If you want to preserve the flavor in mushrooms, as well as the texture and aroma, then your best bet is to lightly cook them before freezing. Clean them as you normally would, slice them thinly, and sauté them in a bit of olive oil and spices.
Salt and pepper are a good way to keep the flavors in. After they are done cooking and have cooled down, place them in freezer bags or containers as well.
When these mushrooms thaw, they will have a distinct savory flavor, but the color and shape will be almost intact. You can use them as they are, or cook them again, as it won’t affect their texture too much.
Fact #3: When you are ready to use, simply cook them as they are or thaw them ahead of time
Some people think that you need to thaw mushrooms every time you want to use them. However, that is not always true. Sometimes, you can simply remove the mushrooms from the freezer bag and add them directly to the cooking process. The heat will cook them slowly and the texture and color will be back in no time.
If you prefer, you can also thaw the mushrooms on a plate ahead of time. Do this if you are going to make a side dish where the mushrooms need to shine, or if you are using them for a salad.
You can leave them on the plate for a few minutes, maybe an hour, and they will be ready to be added to the dish you’re making.
In a pinch, you can even thaw them in the microwave for a few seconds. Use this method only if you’re in a hurry, as the microwave will dry out the mushrooms and make them look crinkly.
Fact #4: For longer preservation, there are other ways to save mushrooms
Sometimes freezing doesn’t render the flavors that we all want when we use mushrooms. Instead, you can try dehydrating them before they go bad. Some mushrooms, like shiitake, have a distinct umami flavor, which makes them ideal when dry.
If you have a dehydrator, simply place them on the trays after slicing them thin. The drying period varies depending on what food dehydrator you have and the type of mushrooms you are using.
You can also use your oven, particularly if you have an electrical one. Place the mushrooms on a baking tray, leave the door slightly ajar, and start drying. The total time will vary, but you can keep an eye out until the mushrooms look ready.
Once mushrooms are dry, you can keep them as they are in a sealed jar or container. Otherwise, you can also grind them down to a powder, which will become a great addition to plenty of cooking. Many people use shiitake mushroom powder to add umami to sauces, stews, and meat.
Enjoy mushrooms fresh and frozen!
Now that you know that you can freeze mushrooms to preserve them, you can use this method to keep them for a long time. Make sure you freeze them separately first, or you will end up with a ball of frozen mushrooms. You can also cook them first, if you have the time, for added flavors and aromas.
Enjoy mushrooms year-round, without worrying about them going bad. You can even buy mushrooms in large batches and keep them safe in your freezer. Mushrooms are not only healthy, but they are also tasty in almost every dish.
Make sure you get your money’s worth and let’s get freezing!