How to freeze mushrooms

Cooking Basics

How to freeze mushrooms

Mushrooms are a versatile ingredient available fresh throughout the year at the supermarket, but their prime season stretches from June to October. If you know what you’re doing, you can forage for your own mushrooms in meadows, fields, parks and woods. Freezing mushrooms allows you to preserve their quality and enjoy their earthy flavour year-round. Here’s how you can master the art of freezing mushrooms, ensuring they remain a delicious ingredient for your dishes.

Preparing mushrooms for freezing

Before freezing, it’s crucial to clean your mushrooms properly to maintain their texture and flavour when thawed. The cleaning method recommended depends largely on the type of mushroom and how muddy they are.

Cleaning techniques for mushrooms

For lightly soiled mushrooms, a simple brush with a damp paper towel or a soft mushroom brush will suffice. This method prevents the mushrooms from absorbing excess water, which can degrade their texture.

If the mushrooms are particularly dirty, a quick, light rinse under cold water may be necessary. Be cautious not to soak them, as mushrooms are porous, and excessive water can make them mushy. Morels are an exception; given their structure, they require thorough rinsing to remove any sand from their crevices.

Prepping and packing mushrooms for freezing

Once clean, trim the ends of the stems and decide whether to freeze your mushrooms whole, sliced or quartered. Smaller mushrooms like button mushrooms freeze well whole, whereas larger varieties like portobellos work better sliced.

Arrange the prepared mushrooms on a baking sheet, spacing them out so they aren’t touching, and freeze them initially unwrapped. This step prevents the mushrooms from freezing together into a clump. Once they are individually frozen, transfer them to freezer-safe bags or containers. Expel as much air as possible before sealing to protect them from freezer burn.


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Freezing different types of mushrooms

Not all mushrooms freeze well in their raw state due to their high moisture content. For example, chanterelles should be cooked before freezing to avoid a bitter taste upon thawing.

Cooking methods for mushrooms before freezing

Boiling: Blanch mushrooms in boiling salted water for 2–3 minutes. This method is quick and helps preserve their colour and texture.

Sautéing: For a richer flavour, lightly sauté the mushrooms in a little olive oil or butter over medium heat. This not only enhances their taste but also reduces the moisture content, making them more suitable for freezing.

Steaming: Steaming for about 3 minutes is another effective method, especially for varieties like shiitake or oyster mushrooms, which can retain more of their texture and flavour.


Shelf life and usage

Properly frozen mushrooms can last up to 10 months in the freezer. However, the quality will be best if used within three months, especially if they were sautéed or steamed before freezing. Always label your freezer bags with the date of freezing to keep track of their shelf life.

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Thawing frozen mushrooms

When ready to use, there’s no need to thaw mushrooms if they’re going directly into a cooked dish like a stew or soup. If using them in recipes where cooking time is short, it’s best to thaw them first to remove any excess moisture. Place them in the fridge overnight or on the countertop for a few hours. Never thaw mushrooms at room temperature for extended periods, as this can lead to bacterial growth.

Ready to cook your mushrooms?

Now that you know how to freeze mushrooms effectively, why not try incorporating them into your recipes throughout the year? Whether you’re stirring them into a risotto, adding them to a hearty stew, or tossing them into a fry-up, mushrooms bring a depth of flavour that enhances any dish.