Commercially-grown mushrooms are widely available throughout the year in your local grocery stores or farmer’s market. Meanwhile, the forest-grown, wild foraged varieties are best picked in autumn.
Whether buying in bulk on sale or aiming to preserve your favorite varieties, you might be wondering: can you freeze mushrooms?
Yes. Mushrooms freeze surprisingly well and are versatile as fresh ones. If you want to learn the easy way to freeze the edible fungi correctly, keep reading. We share the essential tips to freeze mushrooms successfully for long-term storage.
How To Store Mushrooms
Some of the most common edible varieties are button (white) mushroom or champignon, chanterelle, cremini or Italian brown, enoki, morel, oyster mushrooms, portobello), porcini, and shimeji.
No matter which varieties you have on hand, it is important to store them properly to keep them fresh as long as possible.
Fresh, uncut mushrooms should be refrigerated in their original containers. The packaging is usually ventilated to allow some air circulation. Don’t keep them in an airtight container as excess moisture tends to accelerate the degradation process.
If you buy them in bulk, store them in a paper bag and roll the top loosely. Either way, wipe any excess moisture and discard the bad ones before storage. This way, your supply can stay fresh for 7 to 10 days.
In case you can’t finish them up before they become shriveled and slimy, try freezing them for future recipes.
Preparing Mushrooms For Freezing
You can freeze mushrooms in two ways—after steaming or sautéing them. Regardless of the freezing method, you should start with selecting fresh mushrooms in good conditions. Avoid those with off-smell, shriveled, moldy, darkened, rotting, or have bad spots.
After sorting them out, here are the next steps to prepare mushrooms for freezing.
1. Wash them quickly with clean water, don’t use soap, and don’t soak them. Rinse and scrub them gently to remove any dirt.
2. Trim the bottom end of the stem.
3. Sort them out according to size.
4. Leave them whole or cut them into slices. If they are larger than 1 inch across, they should be sliced or cut into quarters.
Can you freeze raw mushrooms?
Technically, yes. However, they tend to turn mushy and watery. Some varieties, such as champignon (white button), creminis, and portabella, may freeze fairly well without cooking or blanching.
In that case, you can flash freeze and pack them right away. Ensure that each piece has dried completely, or you will end up with a mushy, soggy texture after thawing. They are best to use in 2 to 3 months.
To retain the texture, flavors, and color better, we recommend steam blanching or sautéing them before freezing.
Freezing Steamed Mushrooms
Steamed mushrooms will keep longer than those sauteed in fats. After sorting and cleaning them, here are the next steps to do.
1. Prepare an anti-darkening solution to prevent further darkening. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or 1½ teaspoon of citric acid per 1 pint of water, stir gently.
2. Dip prepped mushrooms in the solution for 5 minutes. Make sure all pieces are covered and submerged in it.
3. Next, steam them in the following times:
– whole pieces for 5 minutes
– buttons and quarters for 3½ minutes
– slices for 3 minutes
4. After blanching, take them out from the steamer and cool promptly.
5. In a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, lay them in a single layer, leave space between them, so they freeze individually.
6. Flash freeze for a few hours until solid.
7. Once frozen, pack them in a freezer bag.
8. Suck out excess air and seal the package well.
9. Label with the freezing date, content, and amount.
10. Place the package in the freezer.
Freezing Sauteed Mushrooms
- 1. Add a small amount of butter or vegetable fats in a pan over medium to high heat.
- 2. Cook mushrooms for approximately 5 minutes until they are almost done, and the liquid has mostly evaporated. Cook a small amount at a time and avoid overcrowding the pan.
- 3. Once done, cool them promptly.
- 4. In a lined baking sheet, spread them in a single layer, and leave enough space between them.
- 5. Flash freeze for several hours until completely frozen.
- 6. Transfer frozen mushrooms in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container.
- 7. Remove as much air as possible and seal the container tightly.
- 8. Mark with the freezing date and seal it tightly.
- 9. Transfer the package to the freezer.
Thawing and Using Frozen Mushrooms
Previously frozen mushrooms are just as versatile as fresh. They are great to use in any cooked recipes, such as:
- Soups, stews, sauces, and curries
- Stir-fries with vegetables
- Rice, pasta dishes, savory pies, and casseroles
- Pizza and burger toppings
- Spinach and mushrooms omelet
- As a side for meat dishes
If mushrooms are used for a recipe that requires long and thorough cooking, you can add them frozen straight from the freezer. Otherwise, use them after thawing. After thawing, they can be a little watery because moisture is released during thawing. Don’t forget to drain off excess water before using.
There are three options to thaw frozen mushrooms safely:
1. In the refrigerator. Simply leave a frozen package in the fridge and let it soften up slowly. If there is an unused portion, keep it refrigerated in an airtight container and use it in 3 to 4 days.
2. In cold water. Submerge a frozen package in a bowl of cold water. Replace the water (if necessary) until all pieces completely thaw. This method is faster than refrigerator thawing. But, the thawed product needs to be cooked right away.
3. In the microwave. This is a go-to method if you’re in a hurry, and you need to cook it afterward.
How Long Can You Freeze Mushrooms?
If mushrooms are frozen when still fresh and in good conditions, they should retain the quality for up to 10 to 12 months.
They are likely to remain safe to eat as long as continuously frozen at 0ºF. However, the longer they are kept, the more pronounced the losses in texture and flavors. So, it is best to eat them while still at maximum freshness.
You can tell if mushrooms have gone bad from the appearance, smell, and taste. Don’t eat them if they are moldy, slimy, have dark spots, or unpleasant odor.
Frozen mushrooms should remain safe as long as constantly stored at 0 °F. After thawing in the refrigerator, cook them immediately and store unused portions in the fridge. Don’t eat them if you find spoilage signs.
Yes. You can freeze leftovers or make-ahead soup for later. Cook as usual and cool them completely. Pack in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container without garnishes and leave headspace. Seal the container tightly, label it with the freezing date, and place it in the freezer.
Yes. Contrary to popular belief, they should be rinsed quickly in water before cooking, but don’t soak them. Shake off excess water and pat them dry with a kitchen towel.
Mushrooms are a great addition to any savory dish. If you have much more than your family can eat before they go bad, freezing is an easy method to preserve them for future recipes.
The edible fungi can be frozen raw or cooked. Freezing cooked mushrooms by steam blanching or sauteing them results in better quality and longer shelf life. Follow our tips above on freezing mushrooms for year-round storage!