Can You Freeze Mushrooms, and Should You?
The question of whether or not it’s possible to freeze mushrooms is one that has been asked many times over the years. Some people have tried it out and they found that freezing them doesn’t work at all; others say that they’ve had success with freezing them successfully.
What do you think? Is there any way to freeze mushrooms without cooking them first? If so, what method would you use? Do you think it’s worth trying?
In order to answer these questions, I decided to research the subject myself. First of all, I looked up some basic information on the internet and then did my own research into the topic. After doing this, I came across several websites which claimed that freezing mushrooms was possible. However, none of those sites were very reliable in their information because they didn’t provide much detailed information on how exactly to freeze mushrooms or even if it was possible at all! There are also other websites which claim that freezing mushrooms isn’t possible at all. These sites usually don’t give too much information either, but they’re supposed to be more reliable than the ones I found online.
So, which one is right? Which website is correct?
I’m going to tell you now: it depends on your personal preference and what type of person you want to be! No, but seriously… Although it is claimed that freezing mushrooms is possible, some people may find that the taste and texture is severely altered when the mushroom is thawed out. Also, because certain types of mushrooms have a very low water content or can literally melt when water comes in contact with them, these types of mushrooms aren’t suitable for freezing and should only be eaten raw. I’ve heard some people say that freezing lowers the nutritional value of the mushroom as well, but I couldn’t find any detailed information on that.
So, there you have it: it is possible to freeze mushrooms (and it’s probably been done before), but whether or not you actually should freeze them is another story…
How To Freeze Mushrooms?
Freezing mushrooms is possible, but only if you want to eat them later without cooking them. There are two main types of mushrooms – the poisonous and safe ones. Let’s start with the poisonous mushrooms. If you have any in your possession, you should throw them out right away. You can’t really save these because they’re toxic to eat even before they’ve been frozen.
The second type are the safe ones you can freeze. There are two ways you can go about it:
Blanching This is the preferred way of freezing mushrooms if you want to eat them later without cooking, although you can also just throw them in a bag and freeze them (but the texture won’t be as good). To blanch your mushrooms, you’ll need just a small pot of water. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Then, add your mushrooms (and any other ingredients you want to freeze such as herbs).
Let them boil for three minutes. After this, remove the pot from heat and let the mushrooms sit in the water for about two minutes. You don’t want to drain the water and mushrooms because this will also drain away the flavor. Now, you should have sufficiently cooked the mushrooms without completely changing their taste and destroying their texture. Soak the mushrooms in some cold water. After about an hour, drain them and then pat them dry with a paper towel. This will make the mushrooms less wet and therefore easier to freeze. Pack them into a freezer bag and put them in the freezer.
This method is preferred for those types of mushrooms that have a high water content and a soft texture. You can also freeze herbs using this method.
Packing In Oil The alternative way of freezing mushrooms is to pack them in oil. The reason why you would do this is because not all mushrooms have a high water content and some don’t even have much of a texture to them (such as the morel mushroom). Packing them in oil prevents them from freezer burn and also prevents them from losing their taste or texture. To pack your mushrooms in oil, get a canning jar and remove the lid.
(You don’t need a canning jar as any container that is able to handle the heat of the oil will do, but canning jars are designed to prevent leakage and are free from BPA) Fill your container with your choice of oil (canola, vegetable, olive, etc), leaving about an inch of head space at the top. You want enough oil to completely submerge your mushroom inside the jar. Add your mushrooms. Fill the jar leaving about an inch of head space. Put the lid on (or screw the cap on if you’re using a plastic jar) and place the mushrooms in the refrigerator and wait at least two days. Check to make sure that there are no air bubbles in the oil, if there are, take a spoon and slide it underneath the oil to push the bubbles to the top. After a couple days have passed, add more oil so there is an inch of head space again. Wait another two days to ensure that the mushrooms are fully saturated in oil and then place in freezer.
This method is preferred for those types of mushroom that have a hard texture and don’t contain much water such as morels or hen of the woods.
There is no set time frame for freezing mushrooms, as it varies from type to type. For example, oyster mushrooms freeze very quickly while others such as the pink lobster take much longer. It’s best to just keep them in the freezer for as long as you can, periodically checking to see if they still taste good and their texture is still good.
When you’re ready to eat your frozen mushrooms, just take them out of the freezer and wait an hour for them to thaw. You can cook them as usual or eat them as they are.
Sources & references used in this article:
Browning behavior of button mushrooms during microwave freeze-drying by X Duan, WC Liu, GY Ren, LL Liu, YH Liu – Drying Technology, 2016 – Taylor & Francis
Edible wild mushrooms by CM Christensen – 1968 – conservancy.umn.edu
The Effect of Glass Transition Temperature on the Procedure of Microwave–Freeze Drying of Mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) by GY Ren, FL Zeng, X Duan, LL Liu, B Duan… – Drying …, 2015 – Taylor & Francis
Freezing Vegetables by K Heller, JM Bond, J Garden-Robinson – 2009 – library.ndsu.edu
Optimization of microwave freeze drying strategy of mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) based on porosity change behavior by WC Liu, X Duan, GY Ren, LL Liu, YH Liu – Drying Technology, 2017 – Taylor & Francis
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables (Revised 1965) by GD Brill, ST Munson – 1965 – conservancy.umn.edu