The Big Question: Can you freeze fresh mushrooms?

I'm going to come right out and say it... I'm cheap!

Ok, ok cheap is a bad word, let's just say that I am frugal, and it's because of this frugalness that I try to extend the food that I buy and use it to it's full potential rather than throwing it away.

In order to use up all the food I buy, I often make my recipes in big batches and freeze them, because let's face it I am also lazy.

So what happens when you have a package of mushrooms in your fridge that is on the brink of going bad? The first thing you likely think is, "I can't freeze fresh mushrooms," and to that I would respond, you are mostly correct.

Technically you cannot freeze mushroom in their natural state. They are made up of over 90% water so when you freeze them they turn to mush. But... you can however freeze fresh sauteed mushrooms!

Saute + Freeze = Good!
  • To start, simply rinse the mushrooms in a colander under cool running water to remove any particles of peat moss. Don't soak the mushrooms, they will absorb water and increase the risk of getting freezer burnt (yuck!). Pat them dry immediately with paper towels.
  • Slice or chop the mushrooms (if using pre-sliced mushrooms, you are one step ahead). Heat 1 tbsp of  olive oil in a fry pan over medium-high heat. Add mushroom to hot pan and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until mushrooms are brown and tender. If you want flavoured mushrooms can also sauté with garlic, onions, and/or spices, or even make a duxelle.
  • Allow mushrooms to cool, then transfer to a small freezer container. Pushing the mushrooms to the bottom of the container and sticking a small piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the mushrooms will help prevent freezer burn, and make sure the lid's on tight! Label the containers with the date. They can be kept for approximately 2-3 months.
Uses
When ready to use your frozen mushrooms simply pop them out of the container and drop the frozen block into the frying pan. Add ½ tbsp of oil and sauté until mushrooms are warm. There is no need to pre-thaw the mushrooms. If using in a recipe, sauté mushrooms until warm, then add other ingredients.

Pros
• The is the best method to use when you want to maintain the taste and texture of a fresh sauté.

Cons
• If the mushrooms are not packed tight into the container, air will start to cause freezer burn.
• Freezer burn can slightly alter the taste and texture of the mushrooms.

Recipes you could use frozen fresh mushrooms in:
Creamy Mushroom Lasagna with Three Cheeses
Provencal Poached Salmon Dinner
Rustic Salmon Quiche

2 comments:

Nancy said...

This is great information. I was always told that you could not freeze mushrooms at all.

Anonymous said...

terrific tip, thanks,
Deborah