Stock up on mushrooms when they're in season (and cheap). Then, freeze them until you're ready to use them. Here's how:
Choose mushrooms that look and smell fresh. Mushrooms that are dry, shriveled, darkened, moldy, have bad spots or give off an unpleasant odor should be avoided.
Cleaning and Prep
Wash your mushrooms in cold water. Then, trim off the ends of the stems. Mushrooms over one-inch across should also be sliced or quartered.
Mushrooms need to be cooked before freezing. There are two ways to accomplish this:
Heat the mushrooms in a frying pan with a small amount of butter or oil over high heat. Cook for five minutes or until the mushrooms are fully-cooked and most of the liquid has evaporated.
To minimize the darkening effect of steaming, soak the mushrooms in a solution of one teaspoon lemon juice or 1-1/2 teaspoons of citric acid to one pint of water for five minutes. Then, steam following these recommended times:
Whole mushrooms - 5 minutes
Button mushrooms - 3-1/2 minutes
Quartered mushrooms - 3-1/2 minutes
Sliced mushrooms - 3 minutes
Allow the mushrooms to cool completely. Then, pack them in freezer-safe containers, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace for expansion; and freeze. Frozen mushrooms should be used within a year (sooner is better).
To Use Frozen Mushrooms:
Drop the frozen pieces directly into recipes that will be heated or thaw your mushrooms in the refrigerator before using.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind:
- Freezing will change the color and texture of mushrooms – making them both darker and softer
- Steamed mushrooms have a longer freezer life than sauteed mushrooms
- Washing mushrooms may make them soggy. Many people prefer to simply brush or to wipe them off