Can You Freeze Raw and Cooked Mushrooms?
Food conservation is vital to avoid food poisoning or, at the very least, to prevent ruining a meal. With many foods, it is fairly obvious when they have spoiled. For example, we may notice they smell very bad or they have some mold on them. Mushrooms can be a little trickier to discern as they essentially are a type of mold. Whether morel mushrooms, chanterelles, portobello or standard closed cup mushrooms, we want to preserve them for as long as possible.
At oneHOWTO, we ask can you freeze raw and cooked mushrooms? By answering this question, we will find out the best way to preserve any type of mushroom so it can last as long as possible.
Can mushrooms be frozen raw?
You may be reading this article because you wonder, can you freeze raw mushrooms? The answer is indeed yes. Being a seasonal product, freezing the mushrooms will allow you to enjoy them and consume them at other times of the year. Freezing uncooked mushrooms is perfectly fine, but you need to know the appropriate way to it and to ensure you take any necessary precautions.
To freeze raw mushrooms, the most important thing is to place them in a hermetically sealed freezer bag. Don't wash them before you do so. Washing them adds extra moisture which will not help with their preservation. Wipe them with a clean cloth, but otherwise leave them as they come. Don't overfill the freezer bags. Although them to have some space, preserving the flavor and texture as best you can in the process. To best maintain their aroma, flavor and texture, it is recommended you freeze them near -20 ºC (-4 ºF).
In terms of how long can you freeze raw mushrooms, you can safely keep them for 6 to 9 months. After this time, they should still be fine to eat, but they may have worsened in quality. Nothing is better than fresh new mushrooms.
If you don't want to freeze your mushrooms, but want to keep them for as long as possible, you can find help in our article on how to keep mushrooms fresh.
Can cooked mushrooms be frozen?
Mushrooms can be frozen both raw and cooked, although it is best to do so cooked. There are different methods to ensure that they best retain all their flavor, texture, aroma and other properties. Here are the most important:
Freezing blanched mushrooms
Blanching means immersing food for a short time in boiling water, but not cooking them through. This is one of the best methods to prepare mushrooms for later freezing. Depending on the mushroom, it could be blanched for two to six minutes. Later, you should let them cool to room temperature and dry them with absorbent paper
After this time, place the blanched mushrooms in a sealed freezer bag. Ideally, you should label the freezer bag with the date of blanching. Blanched mushrooms can be kept for up to 6 months at a temperature of -18 ºC (0 ºF).
Freezing stewed mushrooms
When you sauté, cook or stew the mushrooms, you help the water they contain to evaporate, as long as you do not leave them in sauce or broth. For example, you can sauté them with a little oil at a low temperature and then pack them in vacuum or zip-lock bags that you can freeze. In addition, thanks to this method you will always have the mushrooms ready to prepare other recipes and you can even freeze them with a sauce.
The shelf life of fried or sautéed mushrooms at an average temperature of -18 ºC (0 ºF) ranges from 3 months to 1 year in a normal freezer.
It doesn't matter what type of mushroom you want to freezer. However, some large mushrooms will take a little longer to blanch. Once mushroom which won't need much cooking time is the chanterelle. Another preservation method for mushrooms is drying and you can learn more in our article on how to dry yellow foot chanterelle mushrooms.
Can creamy mushroom sauce be frozen?
As we have stated above, it is completely fine to freeze cooked mushrooms in a sauce. As long as you put it in a sealed Tupperware, it should preserve fine. However, when it comes to creamy mushroom sauce, there is a little difference.
Creamy mushroom sauce is one of the most popular types of mushroom sauce. It can be eaten with rice, pasta or even used to sauce various meats. Unfortunately, some dairy products are not known to freeze well. Of course, ice cream will freeze totally fine, but often foods with heavy cream or milk can crystallize and spoil the sauce. For this reason, if you want to freeze a mushroom sauce, make it without the cream first. Then add cream to the sauce you want to keep, but not the one you cant to freeze.
If you like the sound of a creamy mushroom sauce, but haven't tried it yet for yourself, check out our recipe for porcini mushroom cream sauce.
How to freeze mushrooms correctly
To preserve mushrooms, it is necessary to freeze them properly. To do this, as we have seen, you must follow some basic steps to maintain their flavor, aroma and natural texture. This way, they should be able to last for several months in the freezer. Although we have already indicated what should be done depending on the case, here are some steps to freeze the mushrooms correctly:
- The best way to freeze mushrooms is by cooking them beforehand. Although you can freeze them raw, you must bear in mind that 94% of the mushroom is water, so the ice which forms will cause them to increase in volume. In doing so, they break their fibers, which can cause their texture to change and may even affect their flavor.
- The first thing you should do when freezing them is to clean them, removing all the dirt and soil that has remained in them. These remains can be removed with the help of a knife, kitchen paper or a cloth and even with a brush. It is very important not to wash or immerse them in water, since humidity is not favorable when freezing.
- Next, you must select the cooking method that best suits your use later. As we have seen, for example, you can sauté them, grill them or blanch them.
- Once you have cooked the mushrooms, you should put them in a zip-lock bag or, ideally, in a vacuum pack bag. In addition, if you have plastic boxes or Tupperware that close hermetically, they can be a great way to store mushrooms in the freezer for long periods.
- Put the bags or Tupperware in the freezer and you will have them ready to prepare in any preparation and enjoy them at any time.
While it won't make the mushrooms keep for as long as freezing, the fat of a mushroom pâté can preserve them a little longer. Also, it is absolutely delicious. See for yourself with our recipe for homemade mushroom pâté.
How to defrost mushrooms
Thawing mushrooms is just as important as freezing them properly. Now that you know that mushrooms can be frozen, it is necessary to give you some tips so that when you take them out of the freezer and prepare to consume them, you don't lose any of their quality.
In this sense, to defrost the mushrooms correctly if you have frozen them raw, we advise you to place them on a rack with a tray underneath. This way you get rid of any water as they thaw. Preferably defrost the mushrooms in the fridge so that they thaw more slowly. Once they have removed all their water and have recovered their texture, they are ready to cook and eat.
Since you shouldn't eat mushrooms raw, you can place the mushrooms directly into your dish. When you put them in will depend on their size and the cooking time. Of course, you can also defrost mushrooms in the microwave if you put them on the low or defrost setting. How long they need in the microwave depends on their volume.
Now you know how to freezer raw and cooked mushrooms, you might want to know what other options are available to you. Our article on how to best preserve mushrooms does exactly that.
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