Essay

Can You Freeze Mushrooms? Storing Your Foraging Finds

If you’ve discovered an abundance of edible wild mushrooms, you might be curious about the best approach to store your tasty discovery. Although pickling and drying are popular methods for preserving mushrooms for an extended period of time, you might be curious about freezing mushrooms.

We’ll talk about the best ways to freeze mushrooms in this article.

Continue reading to find out more.

So, Can You Freeze Mushrooms?

To put it succinctly, you can freeze the wild mushrooms you pick. It’s crucial to remember, though, that the freezing process will result in some flavour and texture loss. Therefore, we advise preserving any extra harvest after cooking and eating as much of it as possible while it’s still fresh. It’s also important to be aware that the majority of wild mushrooms that are typically foraged do not freeze well when raw.

These raw mushrooms turn mushy and limp as they thaw and lose their cooking quality. Additionally, their colour brilliance tends to fade. This is because most mushrooms contain a lot of water, and when that water freezes and then thaws, it changes the flavour, texture, and colour of the mushrooms. Raw frozen wild mushrooms, such as lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus) and morels (Morchella spp.), lose their flavour when frozen.

The Best Methods for Preparing and Cooking Mushrooms for Freezing

In case you want to freeze your wild mushrooms, it’s advisable to slightly prepare them beforehand. This will assist in preserving their original texture, flavour, and colour. You may boil and prepare your mushrooms in a few different ways before freezing them.

Preparation

Cleaning your produce is vital before freezing. To get rid of bugs and clean up filth, use a soft-bristled brush that is either damp or dry. Don’t soak your mushrooms because it will make them soggy. If you decide to rinse them under running water, make sure to pat them dry completely before cooking and to rinse for only a few seconds. For more resilient mushrooms, such as chicken of the woods, cleaning under running water works best; but, it can swiftly sow more fragile mushrooms, such as yellowfoot mushrooms (Craterellus tubaeformis).

If necessary, trim the mushrooms of any excess woody or fibrous pieces that you won’t be utilising. Little mushrooms, such young morels, can be kept whole or in halves, but larger specimens, like adult lion’s mane and common oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus), should be sliced up.

Cooking Before Freezing

Before freezing, mushrooms can be prepared in three major ways: sautéing, steaming, and blanching. You don’t want to fully cook the mushrooms for any of these ways. Instead, you should only partially boil them in order to help the mushrooms maintain their integrity while freezing and thawing by removing some of the moisture content. You’ll finish cooking your frozen mushrooms when you’re ready to utilise them. It’s usually better to sauté the mushrooms in butter, garlic, and seasonings to finish the cooking process.

Steaming

All you have to do is put your wild mushrooms in a steaming pan or basket over boiling water and steam them for two to three minutes. The mushrooms will stay solid during this process, which will extract part of their internal moisture. Let the mushrooms cool completely after that.

Blanching

Put your mushrooms in a pot of boiling, salted water for no longer than two minutes to blanch them before freezing. To stop the cooking process, plunge them into ice-cold water for a brief period of time. Before freezing, make sure the mushrooms are completely dry.

Sauteing

Lastly, another option is to sauté your mushrooms. Generally, you would want to dry sauté the mushrooms for five minutes or so to let out some of their moisture, and then for ten more minutes, add butter or vegetable oil to help them brown. It will just take about 5 minutes of dry sautéing with a bit of salt for them to be half cooked before freezing. Before freezing, take off any extra moisture with a paper towel and let them cool completely.

How to Freeze Mushrooms

It’s time to freeze your wild mushrooms once they’ve been prepared and partially cooked. Your cooled, dried mushrooms can be flash-frozen first, or you can put them directly into an airtight container or freezer bag. Arrange the mushrooms on a baking sheet and freeze for one to two hours in order to flash freeze them. After that, put your mushrooms in a bag or other container that can be frozen. Selecting the right container is crucial if you want to keep your mushrooms from getting freezer burn. To maintain track of freshness, write the date on the container. For up to a year, keep in the freezer.