Can You Freeze Mushrooms?
Answer: You can freeze mushrooms in a number of ways.
To freeze fresh mushrooms whole, you can simply leave them out on the counter for 24 hours to dry out before putting them in the freezer.
Alternatively, you can blanch or steam them first and then allow them to cool before freezing. To do this quickly, cover the frying pan with a lid and heat it up slowly on medium heat for about 10 minutes.
When you remove the cover but still have high heat going underneath it will be very hot enough to blanche most types of vegetables – including mushrooms – without overcooking or leaching a significant amount of color from your produce.
How to freeze mushrooms
Step-by-step guide on how to freeze homegrown mushrooms. If you have a lot of mushrooms and don’t want to lose them by drying, freezing is a great option. And it can be done within minutes – read this article for more information on how to do it successfully at home.
1. Get the right tools.
2. Pick the mushrooms you want to freeze and clean them gently with cold water (do not soak). Gently tap or pat dry with kitchen paper towels or a lint-free cloth. You can also rinse them under cold running water, but do it quickly as you don’t want to lose any spores that are lying on the bottom of your basket.
3. Slice the mushrooms into thin slices, no more than 1/4″ (1/2 cm) thick – thinner if possible. If you have large flat mushrooms such as Oyster Mushrooms, cut them in half or quarters instead. We like to cut shiitake caps into strips, as they are large. Large porcini mushrooms can be cut in half lengthwise, but this is optional.
4. Generously lay the mushroom slices on tray or plate covered with kitchen paper towels or a lint-free cloth to dry them off before putting into your freezer bags/containers for storage – more about that later.
5. Once the mushrooms are dry, you can put them in freezer bags/containers and pop them into your freezer to store for later use.
6. There is one important thing to be aware of when it comes to freezing mushrooms: NEVER EVER throw frozen mushrooms straight from a bag/container/plate into boiling water or onto a hot frying pan – you will end up with boiled or fried mush instead! Always thaw them out in the fridge overnight before cooking or grilling then proceed as usual, briefly heating in a water or broth first rather than frying immediately in a very hot pan which will just overcook and ruin your meal!
TIP: If you’re going to use your frozen mushrooms within 3 months, consider leaving them in their original bags, laying the bags on a tray to freeze them flat. Once they are frozen, you can stack your bags one on top of another for easier storage in the freezer.
7. To defrost your mushrooms simply put them into fridge overnight or during the day if you’re planning on using them that evening or tomorrow morning – depending on where you live, it’s likely going to be ready by lunch time already. Alternatively, run cool water over your frozen bag/container until you start seeing some mushy spots and leave it immersed in cold water until it is half defrosted – this will speed up the process considerably! Then take out as many pieces as needed with gloved hands (definitely don’t use bare hands) and either fry, cook or grill as usual.
8. You can also boil/steam your mushrooms with a pinch of salt and sugar, but do it for no longer than 3 minutes – boiling them any longer will overcook and ruin the texture!
TIP: If you’re not going to use your boiled/steamed mushrooms within 4 hours of boiling/steaming, place them in an ice bath (large bowl filled with water and ice) instead before storing them in fridge for later use. This way they won’t get overcooked and keep their nice texture and structure!
TIP: if you don’t plan on using all the frozen mushrooms within three months after freezing, we suggest you cut fresh lemon into wedges or halves then lay it on top of your frozen mushrooms in the bag/container before popping it back into the freezer. This will help to prolong their lifespan and protect against dehydration and freezer burn.
9. Before using, simply take them out of the freezer and leave them on a counter or wherever you plan on cooking for about 30 minutes to defrost. No need to thaw them out like with meat, fish etc! If you’re going to use them within 24 hours after taking out from the freezer (for example: fry, cook or grill) then they don’t need any time at all – just pull them out as you prep your other ingredients and start cooking! And that’s really all there is to know about freezing homegrown shrooms…
Bringing them to boil for 10 minutes or so before freezing is usually not necessary as they are going to be cooked anyway. But if you’re going to use them raw – in salads, spreads etc – it’s a good idea to give them a quick blanch beforehand.
10. And lastly, mushrooms need not necessarily be only frozen whole! Indeed, they can very easily be diced/sliced/minced and put into freezer bags/containers instead before being popped into the freezer for later use. This way you will have easy access to smaller portions which is especially useful for cooking with!
11. When using pre-frozen sliced mushrooms all that needs to be done is adding them directly into stews, saucy dishes or soups, while halved mushrooms are great for making casseroles, pies and lasagnas – just bake them in the oven with your favourite ingredients! Freezing diced/minced mushrooms is useful when making spaghetti sauce, sauces for noodles or rice dishes or even eggs bhurji.