Mushrooms are a delicious addiiton to your dinner, whether served raw or cooked, or whether made into a sauce or covered in a glistening garlic butter. There are dozens of different varieties of mushrooms to eat – from the fancier shiitake mushrooms to the more staple button mushroom or chestnut mushroom.
Can you freeze mushrooms?
There’s plenty of food items that can be frozen for later use.
Freezing doesn’t necessarily kill nutrients so it’s a great way to store food without resorting to using use chemical preservatives.
Dr Joanna McMillan said: “Freezing is a really amazing way of preserving our food because you don’t have to use chemical preservatives.
“It’s actually one of the oldest means of preserving foods. I think we under-utilise the freezer in today’s age where we think everything that’s fresh is better for us and it’s actually not the truth.”
To keep mushrooms longer, you can freeze them but this may affect their quality.
In general, fresh mushroom keep for a week in the fridge before showing signs of deteriorating.
These include going soft, slimy or brown.
Mushrooms contain nutrients like B vitamins, copper, potassium, and vitamin D and while freezing doesn’t affect the calorie, fibre, or mineral content of foods, it can reduce the content of water-soluble vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, and folate.
Mushrooms have a high water content which means their texture can be affected when frozen.
Once thawed after freezing, they can become soft and mushy.
That doesn’t mean they don’t make a good ingredient for soups, casseroles, or blended dishes.
There are ways of helping mushrooms retain their freshness, texture and nutrients.
If you don’t want to freeze them raw there two methods you can use for preparing mushrooms before freezing.
Steam blanching helps preserve produce before it’s frozen by destroying enzymes that can increase how quickly foods spoil go off.
It also stops common foodborne bacteria Listeria and Salmonella from working, which improves the safety of the mushrooms, and furthermore, blanching food may help preserve nutrients.
Blanching times vary depending on the size of the mushroom, so it’s a good idea to either sort them by size or cut them into similar-sized chunks before steaming.
To prevent discolouration during the blanching process, first soak your fresh mushrooms in a mixture of 480ml of water and one teaspoon of lemon juice for five to 10 minutes.
Or you can steam your mushrooms using a mixture of 960ml of water and one teaspoon of lemon juice.
Then ring a pot of water to a boil and place a steamer basket inside and add the mushrooms to the basket and let them steam for three to five minutes.
Remove the mushrooms and out them immediately into a bath of ice water for the same amount of time that you steamed them, strain the water, place the mushrooms in airtight, freezer-safe bags, and store them in the freezer.
Sauteing is a method of dry heat cooking that uses a small amount of fat and relatively high temperature to soften and brown food quickly.
In a large skillet, add fresh mushrooms and a small amount of hot oil or butter and bring to medium-high heat.
Cook them for approximately five minutes, until almost fully cooked; the mushrooms should become tender but not squishy.
Remove your mushrooms from the skillet and place them on a paper towel or plate to cool. Once thoroughly cooled, place them in an airtight, freezer-safe bag and store them in the freezer.
Frozen mushrooms prepped using any of these methods can be used in many ways.
You can keep mushrooms in your freezer for up to 12 months. They can be added to dishes you’re going to thoroughly cook.
Alternatively, allow them to thaw in the refrigerator until softened enough to use.