March 14

Can You Freeze Mushrooms – Should You?

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Mushrooms bring a welcome heartiness to a wide range of dishes. Packing complex umami flavor and a toothsome bite, they make up the backbone of favorites like mushroom risotto or mushroom stroganoff. They are also an essential pizza topping and soup component!

Although they last only about a week in the fridge, frozen mushrooms keep up to a year. Check out the recommendations below to freeze mushrooms properly so you’ll never be without a handful to toss in your recipe.  

Should You Freeze Mushrooms


Mushrooms-Cast-Iron

Should You Freeze Mushrooms?

There are two excellent reasons to freeze mushrooms. The first is to prolong their shelf life; freezing keeps mushrooms stable for up to a year.  

However, freezing is also a space-saving technique.  Mushrooms take up a lot of space on a shelf or in a crisper drawer. With the small amount of prep work required to freeze them, frozen mushrooms occupy much less square footage! This means you can have a large amount on hand without taking up valuable space. 

Flavor/Textural Changes

The steps required to freeze mushrooms cause them to darken, shrink, and achieve a softer texture. While this is desirable for most dishes, it would not be ideal for a salad; use fresh mushrooms for salad toppings!

How to Freeze Mushrooms Properly


Mushrooms freeze best if you spend a little time preparing them first; do the work now, and there will be no effort required later when it’s time to cook with them.

First, pop off the stems and gently remove any remaining dirt with a soft brush or cloth. If necessary, rinse them briefly under cold water. Be careful; washing them too much may cause them to become water-logged and can promote freezer burn.

Then, slice or quarter any mushroom larger than one inch in diameter. At this point, you may choose to freeze the mushrooms directly. However for best results, the mushrooms should be cooked first either by steaming or sauteing.


Related Article: Best Saute Pans for the Home Cook


Sauteing Mushrooms Beforehand

To saute mushrooms, heat 1 Tbsp of butter or oil in a pan, and toss the mushrooms in the hot oil. Continue tossing them intermittently for about five minutes or until they appear fully cooked and are no longer releasing liquid. 


Steaming Mushrooms Beforehand

If you prefer to steam them, first soak the mushrooms in a solution of ½ tsp lemon juice per 1 pint of water for five minutes.

This step is optional, but it will help maintain the color of the mushrooms. Drain the lemon juice solution, then steam for 3 to 3 ½ minutes before quickly transferring the mushrooms to cold water.

Drain the water as soon as the mushrooms have cooled. Steamed mushrooms retain their quality in the freezer slightly better than sauteed mushrooms.


Lastly...

Whichever route you choose--sauteing or steaming--once you have cooked the mushrooms, allow them to cool and drain, then spread them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper or parchment paper in the freezer.  

Once they have fully frozen, use a spatula to scoop them into Ziploc bags labeled with the date. Squeeze as much air as possible from the bags as you seal them to help the mushrooms last longer. They will be ready to use next time you’re cooking!  

How to Thaw Mushrooms


It will rarely be necessary to thaw mushrooms before using them. Measure out the quantity you need from your freezer bags and drop them directly into your warm dish; the heat of the other ingredients will quickly melt them. 

If you have pre-cooked the frozen mushrooms, they will not release enough moisture to affect the recipe.  

Uses for Frozen Mushrooms


Frozen mushrooms make a great addition to soups, casseroles, stews, or curries. Try them on a pizza, inside a quesadilla, or as a bruschetta topping! Include them in pasta and rice dishes for appealing texture contrast.  

Frequently Asked Questions


Can you freeze cooked mushrooms?

Yes! In fact, it is best to cook mushrooms (usually by steaming or sauteing them) before freezing.  It is acceptable to freeze fresh (uncooked) mushrooms, but their quality is preserved longer if you cook them first.

How to Blanch mushrooms?

In the case of mushrooms, blanching is the same as steaming. You can see recommendations for how to steam mushrooms above. For many vegetables, blanching involves submerging them briefly in boiling water. 

However mushrooms have very delicate flesh, and so it is best to use a steaming technique instead.  Both methods accomplish the goal of inactivating enzymes (to prevent breakdown and discoloration) and reducing surface populations of pathogenic bacteria. 

Can I freeze sauteed mushrooms?

Absolutely!  Sauteeing is one of the best ways to prepare mushrooms for freezing. See our recommendations above

Concluding


Freezing mushrooms is definitely a viable way of keeping a delicious food fresh for as long as possible. We hope this guide was helpful.

If you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate to leave a note below.

Cheers!

Caitlin


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About the author

Caitlin is a Ph.D student and chocolate researcher at Colorado State University. Her research in the Food Science program focuses on chocolate fermentation (that’s right, it’s a fermented food!) and small-batch post-harvest processing techniques. When she is not acting in her capacity as resident chocolate guru, she researches other fermented foods and beverages like beer, sausage, and natto. Caitlin was drawn to fermented foods while living in rural Spain for six years, where she was exposed to traditional, time-honored practices of food preservation. At home, she practices Bollywood dance for fun and is followed everywhere by two small pet rabbits.

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