How to preserve mushrooms

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how to preserve mushrooms” and discuss the different methods of preserving mushrooms. 

How to preserve mushrooms

Mushrooms can be preserved by: 

  • Refrigerating: Fresh mushrooms can be preserved by refrigerating.
  • Freezing: Both fresh and cooked mushrooms can be frozen.
  • Pickling: Mushrooms can be pickled in a brine solution.
  • Dehydrating: Fresh mushrooms can be dehydrated in a food dehydrator.

Mushrooms are best eaten fresh, however, in certain situations they must be preserved.

Refrigerating fresh mushrooms

Fresh mushrooms can be refrigerated as follows:

  • Clean the mushrooms by brushing off dirt with a brush or a soft cloth. Do not wash the mushrooms as this will make them mushy and the added moisture may cause spoilage.
  • Place the mushrooms in a paper bag. The paper bag will absorb excess moisture.
  • Fold over the top of the bag.
  • Keep the bag in the main compartment of the refrigerator.

Freezing fresh mushrooms

Fresh mushrooms can be frozen as follows:

  • Clean the mushrooms by brushing off dirt with a brush or a soft cloth. Do not wash the mushrooms as this will make them mushy and the added moisture may cause spoilage.
  • Trim the stems of the mushrooms.
  • If the mushrooms are of a large variety, they can be cut into halves or quarters before freezing. Smaller varieties can be frozen whole.
  • Place them in a zip-lock bag and push out the air. Excess air in the bag will make them mushy.
  • Seal, label and freeze the bag.

Frozen mushrooms can be either thawed or added directly to dishes. They can be thawed by leaving them in a refrigerator overnight. Thawing will make the mushrooms soggy so it is best cooked straight from frozen.

Freezing mushrooms raw is said to decrease their nutritional content, so it is preferable to freeze cooked mushrooms.

Freezing cooked mushrooms

Mushrooms can be frozen after they are sauteed, fried or blanched.

Freezing steam blanched mushrooms: Mushrooms can be blanched in steam before being frozen. This will increase the shelf-life. Blanching may also reduce the loss of nutrients during freezing. Before blanching, mushrooms can be immersed in water and lemon juice to reduce discolouration. 

Freezing sauteed mushrooms: Mushrooms can be sauteed in oil or butter and then frozen. Sauteing uses a low amount of fat and high heat so it is believed to preserve the nutrient content in food.

Freezing fried mushrooms: Mushrooms can be deep-fried in oil or butter and then frozen. Deep-fried mushrooms will have a higher content of fat.

Pickling mushrooms

To preserve mushrooms by pickling :

  • Clean the mushrooms by washing them in running water.
  • Slice the mushrooms if needed.
  • Place the herbs needed for pickling in a mason jar.
  • Make a brine solution by heating water, vinegar and spices. A recipe for pickling with the ingredient quantities can be found here.
  • Add the mushrooms to the brine solution and bring it to a boil.
  • Simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Pour the mixture into a clean pickling jar.
  • Allow the mushroom pickles to cool down.
  • Once cooled, seal the jar and place it in a refrigerator.

Dehydrating mushrooms

Dehydration is the best way to preserve the flavor of mushrooms. Mushrooms must be dehydrated using a food dehydrator at 110°F (43°C). To preserve mushrooms by dehydration:

  • Preheat the dehydrator to 110°F (43°C).
  • Clean, wash and cut the mushroom into even slices. The thickness of one slice should be about ¼ to ½ an inch.
  • Place the sliced mushrooms on the trays of the dehydrator with spaces in between the slices for airflow.
  • Time for dehydration can vary from 3 to 7 hours. The mushrooms are ready when the slices are crispy and brittle. Check the mushrooms every hour after the 3-hour mark.
  • Once dehydrated, place the mushrooms in an airtight container.

Dehydrated mushrooms can be rehydrated before being used in a dish. To rehydrate, simply soak in boiling water for 20 minutes.

Shelf-life of preserved mushrooms

Different methods of preservation result in different shelf-life. The preservation method with the longest shelf-life is dehydration.

  • Refrigerated: Fresh refrigerated mushrooms have a shelf-life of about 1 week.
  • Frozen: Frozen raw mushrooms have a shelf-life of about 2 months. Frozen sauteed mushrooms have a shelf-life of 3 months.
  • Pickling: Shelf-life depends on the pickling technique. Quick pickled, refrigerated pickles have a shelf-life of about 1 month.
  • Dehydrating: Dehydrated mushrooms have a shelf-life of 6 months to 1 year.

How to identify spoilt mushrooms

  • Smell: Fresh mushrooms have an earthy smell. Rotten mushrooms have a pungent smell.
  • Texture: Fresh mushrooms are firm while rotten mushrooms feel mushy and slimy to touch
  • Color: Spoilt mushrooms may develop uncharacteristic dark, mushy spots.

Conclusion 

In this brief guide, we answered the question “how to freeze mushrooms” and discussed the main methods of preserving mushrooms. We also discussed the shelf-life of preserved mushrooms and the methods to identify if mushrooms have gone bad.

References

https://www.thespruceeats.com/how-to-store-mushrooms-1389342#:~:text=Place%20whole%2C%20 unwashed%20 mushrooms%20in,t%20get%20soggy%20or%20moldy.

https://www.wikihow.com/Preserve-Fresh-Mushrooms
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/can-you-freeze-mushrooms#how-to-thaw-them

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.