As a mushroom lover, I often buy more shiitake mushrooms than I can use before they go bad. I hate to waste food, so are shiitake mushrooms something that can be frozen, or will that ruin them?
Can You Freeze Shiitake Mushrooms?
Yes, you can freeze shiitake mushrooms for up to 6 months. You’ll need to clean them fully beforehand then you can wrap them in cling film and bag them up before freezing them.
Do Shiitake Mushrooms Freeze Well? Yes
Can You Refreeze Shiitake Mushrooms? Yes
How to Freeze Shiitake Mushrooms
Freezing shiitake mushrooms is a great way to extend their shelf life and ensure that you always have some on hand for your favourite dishes. Here’s how I freeze shiitake mushrooms:
Before freezing, it’s important to clean the mushrooms thoroughly. I avoid washing them as they can absorb water and lose their texture. Instead, I use a clean, damp paper towel to wipe any dirt or debris off the mushrooms.
I prefer to slice the shiitake mushrooms before freezing them. This makes them easier to use later on – it’s one less job to do down the road. I slice them to the desired thickness and set them aside.
After slicing, I let the mushrooms air-dry for a few minutes. This helps to remove any excess moisture and prevents them from sticking together in the freezer. You could also dab them with a paper towel.
Next, I wrap the sliced mushrooms in a layer of plastic wrap or aluminium foil. This helps to protect them from freezer burn and keeps them fresh.
- Bag Up
Once wrapped, I place the mushrooms in a freezer bag. I make sure to label the bag with the date and contents to easily identify them later on.
Finally, I place the freezer bag in the freezer and freeze the mushrooms for up to 6 months.
3 Tips for Freezing Shiitake Mushrooms
Now you know how to freeze them, I’ve got my 3 top tips which I strongly recommend following when freezing shiitake to have the best results:
Avoid using oil or butter when freezing shiitake mushrooms, as this can change their texture. Although some people recommend cooking them beforehand, I find this can lead to slimy or mushy mushrooms.
Cook From Frozen
If you have sliced them up then you won’t need to thaw them to cook them. Pop them into a pan over a low heat and thaw then turn the heat up and cook as you usually would.
Label Clearly With the Variety
Most mushrooms look the same once they’re frozen so, when labelling your shiitake, ensure you include the type of mushroom in the bag. This will save you a headache further down the line!
How Long Can You Freeze Shiitake Mushrooms?
When it comes to freezing shiitake mushrooms, it’s good to know that they can be frozen for a relatively long time. If you store them properly, they can last for up to 6 months in the freezer without losing their flavour or texture.
Personally, I like to freeze shiitake mushrooms in small portions so that I can easily take out what I need for a recipe without having to thaw the entire batch. As they last so long in the freezer, having a few smaller bags of mushrooms is perfect.
Shiitake mushrooms will keep for around 2 weeks in the fridge. It’s a good idea to keep them in a paper bag as this will absorb moisture – the enemy of mushrooms!
How Do You Defrost Shiitake Mushrooms?
As someone who frequently freezes shiitake mushrooms, I have found that defrosting can be just as crucial as freezing.
Here are a few methods I have found effective for thawing shiitake mushrooms.
Thaw Shiitake Mushrooms in the Fridge
If you have the time, the best way to thaw shiitake mushrooms is to place them in the fridge overnight.
Transfer the frozen mushrooms from the freezer to the fridge, and let them thaw slowly. This method ensures that the mushrooms retain their texture and flavour.
Thaw Shiitake Mushrooms in Water
If you need to thaw shiitake mushrooms quickly, place them in a bowl of room-temperature water.
Ensure the mushrooms are sealed in a plastic bag or container to prevent water from entering. Change the water every 30 minutes to ensure that the mushrooms thaw evenly.
This method can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
Thaw Shiitake Mushrooms in the Microwave
If you’re in a rush, you can also thaw shiitake mushrooms in the microwave. Place the frozen mushrooms in a microwave-safe dish, and microwave them on the defrost setting for 2-3 minutes.
Check the mushrooms every 30 seconds to ensure they don’t start cooking. This method is quick, but it can affect the texture and flavour of the mushrooms.
I prefer the fridge method whenever possible, but the other methods can be helpful in a pinch. No matter which method you choose, use the thawed mushrooms as soon as possible to prevent them from spoiling.
Can You Refreeze Shiitake Mushrooms?
Yes, but it’s not recommended unless you follow some caveats.
You can thaw and refreeze shiitake 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 the mushrooms will become 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 Shiitake Mushrooms Freeze Well?
I have found that shiitake mushrooms freeze surprisingly well but you will find the texture changes a bit. The freezing process can cause the mushrooms to become slightly softer and more fragile.
Additionally, the freezing process can cause some of the mushroom’s liquid content to evaporate, leading to a slightly more concentrated umami flavour.
A great tip is to use frozen shiitake mushrooms in liquid-based dishes such as soups, stews, stir-fries, and sauces. The mushrooms will absorb some of the liquid, which will help to maintain their texture and flavour.
If you’ve still got questions about freezing shiitake mushrooms or mushrooms in general, then these may help:
Yes, it is possible to freeze dried mushrooms but it’s worth considering whether there’s much point. Remember, dried mushrooms have a shelf life of around a year, if not longer!
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