I’m a big fan of mushrooms. They can be added to so many dishes or become the star of the show. If you’re like me, you’ll know just how easy it is to buy too many of them… So, how do you store them for the longer term?
Can You Freeze Mushrooms?
Yes, you can freeze mushrooms for up to 4 months. They freeze better as part of a complete dish (such as a casserole), as they lose some texture when thawed. Frozen mushrooms are best used in soups, stews, casseroles, stir-fries, and sauces
Do Mushrooms Freeze Well? No
Can You Refreeze Mushrooms? No
How to Freeze Mushrooms
So you’ve got a pile of ready-to-freeze mushrooms in front of you. Then here’s precisely what you need to do with them:
- Clean and Discard
Clean your raw mushrooms with a brush to remove any visible dirt. Now is also the time to discard any which aren’t perfect. Freezing mushrooms won’t improve their texture or hide blemishes, so discard any mushrooms which aren’t near-perfect now.
- Slice, Dice or Skip
You now need to prepare your mushrooms. I recommend doing the least number of cuts possible. If you can leave them whole, that’s perfect but you can also freeze sliced mushrooms.
- Portion Into Bags
Place your mushrooms into a freezer-safe bag and seal it up. As you get to the end of sealing it, squeeze out as much air as you can from the freezer bag.
Alternatively, you can freeze mushrooms in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent them from sticking together. Then, place them in a labeled bag or freezer-safe container and place back in the freezer.
Place the bag in the freezer. After 30 minutes, you can give the bag a gentle shake to stop them clumping before returning to the freeze. This is to avoid having to flash-freeze them.
Yes, it’s possible to freeze cooked mushrooms. Once cooked, allow your mushrooms to cool before portioning them into freezer bags, sealing them, and then storing them in the freezer.
How Long Can You Freeze Mushrooms?
I wouldn’t leave mushrooms in the freezer for much longer than 4 months. The longer you leave them in the freezer, the greater the chance they will become mushy then thawed out.
There is also a chance that some of the mushrooms’ nutritional benefits will degrade if left in for longer.
As always, make sure you label your mushrooms with the date on which they need to be used.
Most mushrooms will last for around 2 weeks in the fridge. Once cut or sliced, they will only last for a few days. Mushrooms will have a particularly strong fish-like smell when they begin to go off.
How Do You Defrost Mushrooms?
Mushrooms can be thawed using different methods depending on how quickly you need them and how you plan to use them. Below are three common methods for thawing mushrooms: refrigerator thawing, cold water thawing, and cooking them directly from frozen.
In the Fridge
This is the safest method but requires planning ahead as it is the slowest thawing method. The benefit of this method is that it is very hands-off. It’s just a waiting game.
Remove the frozen mushrooms from the freezer. Keep the mushrooms in their original packaging or if they are loose, transfer them into a bowl or plastic bag to prevent any possible leakage.
- Place In the Fridge
Place them on a shelf in your refrigerator. Avoid putting them on the door as the temperature tends to fluctuate there.
Allow the mushrooms to thaw slowly. Depending on the amount and size, it could take anywhere from several hours to a day. Once thawed, they should be cooked within 24 hours for best quality.
In Cold Water
This method is faster than thawing mushrooms in the fridge but requires more attention. It’s an active thawing method:
Remove the frozen mushrooms from the freezer. If they are not already in a watertight bag, put them in one to prevent them from getting waterlogged.
Fill a bowl or your kitchen sink with cold water and submerge the bag of mushrooms in it.
- Change Water
Change the water every 30 minutes to ensure it stays cold. The mushrooms should thaw in 1-2 hours, depending on the amount and size. Once thawed, they should be cooked immediately for best quality.
When using this method, DO NOT use hot or warm water to try to speed the process up. This will just thaw the outside of the mushrooms leaving the insides completely frozen.
This method can be used if you do not have time to thaw your mushrooms.
Remove the frozen mushrooms from the freezer.
Add the mushrooms directly into your cooking process. Be aware that cooking time may be longer since the mushrooms are frozen.
Remember always to use your thawed mushrooms as soon as possible and never refreeze thawed mushrooms, as it could lead to potential bacterial growth and degradation of quality. Also, if the mushrooms have any signs of spoilage such as a foul smell, unusual color, or slime, they should not be consumed.
Can You Refreeze Mushrooms?
Yes, but it’s not recommended unless you follow some caveats.
You can thaw and refreeze mushrooms only if they’ve been kept at or below refrigerator temperatures during thawing. It’s worth noting, with each repeated thaw and freeze, the texture of your mushrooms will become more and more damaged.
There is an increased risk of foodborne pathogens if you refreeze partially thawed raw or blanched vegetables.
When you freeze mushrooms, the water inside them expands and can cause the cell walls to rupture.
This can lead to a mushy texture once they’re thawed.
Previously cooked mushrooms should be used once thawed. Best practice is to only thaw as much as you’ll eat.
Do Mushrooms Freeze Well?
Yes, but frozen mushrooms are best used in soups, stews, casseroles, stir-fries, and sauces. I would avoid eating them as the main element of a dish (such as on toast).
Because mushrooms have a high water content, they can become quite mushy when they are frozen and then thawed.
This works fine when you’re cooking them in a sauce until they fall apart as the texture won’t impact you.
But if you were planning on storing your mushrooms in the freezer and then eating them as the main element of a dish, it’s time to think again.
Pick the Right Varieties
All mushrooms can be frozen, but some varieties freeze better than others. Chestnut, button, and portobello mushrooms generally freeze well compared to wild and exotic types….but we have a full list.
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