Yes, You Can Freeze Mushrooms—Here's How
Fresh mushrooms keep for up to a week in the refrigerator, but we all know how disappointing it is to discover your 'shrooms have turned soft and smelly. Before that happens, do yourself a favor and freeze them—mushrooms can be frozen for up to nine months and used in a variety of cooked dishes. Read on for three ways to freeze mushrooms, plus how to thaw them and the best recipes for making the most of your mushroom stash.
How to Freeze Raw Mushrooms
Freezing raw mushrooms is super easy, but because they contain so much water, they can turn quite mushy, which means they're best used in dishes that are more about their flavor than their texture, such soups, stews and casseroles. Start by chopping cleaned mushrooms into slices or chunks that are ½ inch or smaller, then spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze for a couple of hours or until solid. Next, transfer the mushrooms to an airtight freezer bag, label, date and freeze for up to nine months. Taking the time to flash-freeze mushrooms means you can pull out exactly how much you need rather than defrosting a whole bag.
How to Freeze Steamed Mushrooms
To preserve some of mushrooms' signature firmness, it helps to steam them before freezing, though it's a bit of a fussy process. Sort the mushrooms by size or cut them to a similar size—½ inch or smaller is best—then give them a quick five-minute soak in acidulated water (1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice per 2 cups of water) to prevent browning.
Using a steamer basket set over boiling water, steam the mushrooms for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on their size. To cool, plunge them into ice water, then spread in an even layer on a baking sheet and let dry. Next, transfer the mushrooms to airtight freezer bags, leaving some room for expansion, and being sure to date and label the bags—they can be frozen for up to nine months. You can portion mushrooms based on how you're likely to use them or press them into a thin layer so they lay flat in the freezer and you can break off as much or as little as you need. Mushrooms frozen this way can be used in a wide range of dishes, including pasta, pizza, stir-fries and quiche.
How to Freeze Sautéed Mushrooms
Mushrooms can also be sautéed before freezing, which helps keep them firm and is a quicker, easier process. Cut or slice the mushrooms into pieces ½ inch or smaller, then sauté in a small amount of butter or oil, seasoning as desired, until evenly browned. Spread the mushrooms in a single layer on a baking sheet and let cool to room temperature, then transfer to airtight freezer bags, leaving some room for expansion, and being sure to label and date the bags. As with steamed mushrooms, it's best to portion mushrooms based on how you'll use them or to press them into a thin layer so you can break off exactly what you need. Sautéed mushrooms can be frozen for up to nine months and used similarly to steamed mushrooms, but because sautéing concentrates flavor, they're ideal for more mushroom-focused dishes, such as mushroom pasta sauce or mushroom risotto.
How to Thaw and Use Frozen Mushrooms
If you're using frozen mushrooms in a dish that will cook for a while, such as a soup, stew or casserole, you can toss them in frozen without any defrosting. For dishes that don't simmer or bake for that long, such as pizza, pasta or quiche, it's better to thaw mushrooms in the refrigerator first—it won't take long! You can add frozen mushrooms directly to a stir-fry, but it's best to toss them in gradually, so they don't lower the temperature of the dish too much.