Many mushroom lovers ask: Can you freeze mushrooms? You can with certain mushrooms if you use one primary method, which we discuss in this article
Mushrooms are quickly gaining the notoriety they deserve as delicious and nutritious food items that add a lot of flavor to meals. However, the refrigerator shelf life of mushrooms is typically not more than 7-10 days, which is why many mushroom eaters ask: Can you freeze mushrooms?
Yes, you can freeze mushrooms. However, it is important to follow a certain process for the best results. We share this simple process below. But first, let’s look at some of the nutrition information behind mushrooms, which is one of the big reasons people want to store these mushrooms instead of letting them go to waste.
Many people wonder if you can freeze mushrooms because they want to eat these healthful edibles at a later time
Mushrooms are rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. For instance, some popular species of edible mushrooms contain between 19% and 35% protein. Mushrooms also contain all of the necessary amino acids essential to human health, which are uncommon in most plant-based foods. Mushrooms are high in B vitamins, and can be very high in vitamin D, especially if they are left to dry in the sun.
Furthermore, mushrooms contain many essential minerals, like iron, phosphor, copper, potassium and selenium. Mushrooms are one of the richest natural sources of selenium, not to mention one of the only items you’ll find in the produce aisle that has it. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that protects humans from heart disease and certain cancers. One serving of mushrooms can provide a quarter of your daily selenium needs.
Can you freeze mushrooms? Yes, and here’s how the professionals suggest you do it
This information on freezing mushrooms comes from “So Easy to Preserve”, 6th edition from 2014, which was extracted and shared on the website of the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
First, you need to prepare the mushrooms. Select the mushrooms that are in the best condition, preferably free from spots and decay. If you are working with large mushrooms, like wine cap or portobello, be sure to cut the mushrooms into smaller pieces no larger than 1” across. Remove the mushroom stems and clean the mushrooms by gently washing or brushing to remove any dirt or debris.
Once the mushrooms are prepared, you will then need to decide how you want to heat the mushrooms. In order to freeze mushrooms properly, most of them need to be cooked prior to being placed in the freezer. The recommended methods are to steam or fry the mushrooms. Here’s a look at each method:
Steaming mushrooms: Whole mushrooms can be steamed for five minutes. If you have smaller mushrooms or have cut the mushrooms into pieces, then it will probably only take 3 ½ minutes to steam them properly. Cool the mushrooms and drain them once the steaming process if complete. Once cooled and drained the mushrooms can be packaged. Be sure to leave headspace of about a half of an inch. Seal the package and place in the freezer.
Note: The book also describes an anti-darkening treatment that is recommended if you are steaming the mushrooms. It seems this is particularly valuable if the mushrooms are showcased in culinary dishes because they will have a better color. Add one teaspoon of lemon juice or 1 ½ teaspoons of citric acid to a pint of water to make the anti-darkening solution. Then dip your mushrooms into this solution for five minutes before steaming.
Frying mushrooms: Use an open frying pan with a cooking fat like butter. Heat the mushrooms for a similar time as you would with the steaming directions above. Cool the mushrooms and drain. Once they are drained and cooled you can package, seal, and place into your freezer.
The publication states that steamed mushrooms will last longer overall than the mushrooms cooked in the fat, so take that into account before heating your mushrooms.
Can you freeze mushrooms? Chicken of the woods mushrooms can be frozen without be cooked first
I have had experience freezing chicken of the woods mushrooms that were wild harvested. The heartiness of the mushrooms allowed me to freeze them without cooking them first. They froze well and were delicious once I eventually ate them.
Can you freeze mushrooms? You can, but be sure to follow the methods mentioned above to increase the longevity of your frozen mushrooms. When you go to add your frozen mushrooms to a dish, make sure you add them while frozen instead of thawing them first.
It’s also important to realize that many mushrooms can be dried and that serves as another great way to save the mushrooms for the future. Check out this article on eating dried mushrooms if you want to discover some of the benefits in doing so.
Resources for this article
- "So Easy to Preserve", 6th ed. 2014. Bulletin 989, Cooperative Extension Service, The University of Georgia, Athens. Revised by Elizabeth L. Andress. Ph.D. and Judy A. Harrison, Ph.D., Extension Foods Specialists.
- National Center for Home Food Preservation. Accessed 3/20.2019.