I say, great question! People who prefer to buy fresh mushrooms in bulk, or when they are on sale, often need a way to preserve the mushrooms, as their self life in the refrigerator is only about 5-6 days (if kept in a brown paper bag).
Freezing fresh mushrooms is a great way to keep large quantities and a way to have Canadian mushrooms readily available in your home.
Fresh mushrooms cannot be frozen without being cooked first as they are made up of over 90% water. Here are some tips, pros and cons to freezing fresh mushrooms.
Sautéing and Freezing Fresh Mushrooms
This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to freeze fresh mushrooms. To start, simply rinse the mushrooms in a colander under cool running water to remove any particles of peat moss. Do not soak the mushrooms as they will absorb water and increase the risk of getting freezer burnt. Pat them dry immediately with paper towels.
Slice or chop the fresh mushrooms, or if using pre-sliced mushrooms – you are one step ahead. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil (per 8oz of mushrooms) 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 wish to have flavoured mushrooms you may also sauté with garlic, onions, and/or spices.
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, making sure the lid is on tight will also help to prevent freezer burn. Be sure to label the containers with the date. They can be kept for approximately 2-3 months.
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.
– The is the best method to use when you want to maintain the taste and texture of a fresh sauté.
– 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.
For more information on the many ways to prepare fresh mushrooms visit the Serve & Enjoy page on the Mushrooms Canada website.