You gathered a bountiful harvest of mushrooms this year, but you're not sure if you'll be able to use all of them before they go bad. Fortunately, freezing mushrooms is quick and easy. With a little effort, you'll have a delicious batch of mushrooms in the freezer that you can take out every time you feel like making fried mushrooms, pasta with mushrooms, or a savory mushroom pizza. Here's how to properly prepare and freeze your mushrooms so you can enjoy them all year round.
1. Prepare Your Mushrooms
Prepare your mushrooms the same way you would if you were about to start cooking. This frees up some freezer space and makes it much easier to cook your mushrooms later on. Separate your mushrooms from the cluster, cut off the stems, and slice them into smaller equally sized pieces to make them more manageable. You can also lightly rinse your mushrooms to get rid of dirt and debris.
The Spruce Eats recommends checking your mushrooms to make sure they're firm and fresh, with no rot or mold spots. If a mushroom looks questionable, throw it away.
2. Cook Your Mushrooms
Before you freeze your mushrooms, they'll need to be fully cooked. The easiest method is by cooking them in a pan over the stove. Heat the stove on "high," and pour some oil in the pan. Cook the mushrooms for a few minutes until they're browned. Adding seasonings is not recommended, as you don't know how they'll affect the flavor of future dishes.
If you'd prefer to steam your mushrooms, Leaf recommends arranging your mushrooms in a pot, bringing the water to boil, and then reducing it to a simmer. Cover the pot for about 15 minutes to steam the mushrooms.
3. Freeze Your Mushrooms
Now that your mushrooms are fully cooked, it's time to flash freeze them. Place the mushrooms on a cookie tray and stick them in the freezer. Once they're frozen, you can package them in freezer bags. Make sure you squeeze out as much of the air as possible before placing the bags in the freezer. If you have a vacuum sealing machine, you can use that to create compact, airtight freezer bags.
And you're done! Now you've got a stash of delicious, fully cooked mushrooms in your freezer. To defrost your mushrooms, you can either thaw them out in the freezer or drop them directly into the dish you're cooking. Your mushrooms will stay fresh for up to a year although you'll probably use them long before that. You can fry, cook, steam, saute, bake, and stir-fry your frozen mushrooms just as easily as you would fresh mushrooms that you just harvested from the forest.