Can you freeze mushrooms without cooking them first?

In this brief guide we will answer the following question, “can you freeze mushrooms without cooking them first?”. In this article, you will get to know the proper ways of freezing raw mushrooms. We will also get to know the benefits and side effects of freezing uncooked mushrooms and how to thaw them safely. Can you freeze mushrooms without cooking them first?

Yes, you can easily freeze mushrooms without cooking. Freezing uncooked mushrooms can be a convenient way to preserve them for later use.

The canned mushrooms that are available in the market are raw, and storing the raw mushrooms and fresh ones without cooking them is easy and they do not go bad easily.

Fresh mushrooms only last 1 week in the refrigerator. On the other hand if you freeze them they will stay put for up to 12 months in the freezer (1,2).

What are the proper ways to freeze your uncooked mushrooms?

Freezing uncooked mushrooms properly is easy. It becomes a lot easier when you are freezing canned mushrooms. They are usually pre sliced; you only need to freeze them as it is. Here we will discuss ways of freezing both types of mushrooms.

  • Canned mushrooms can be frozen putting them in an airtight container, seal it properly and store in the freezer. You should not store canned food in the can because of metal corrosion in cans (3,4,5). 
  • When you are freezing the raw fresh mushrooms first you need to buy clean and healthy mushrooms. Avoid buying mushrooms that have black patches on them; this might be a sign of spoilage (6).
  • Wash your mushrooms properly to remove all the dirt from them.
  • Cut the mushrooms into slices or the choice of the piece that you want to add to your dish (6,7).
  • Evenly spread the mushrooms on the tray lined with aluminium foil. This will avoid the sticking of mushrooms to each other.
  • Keep them in the freezer for a few hours. Once they are frozen, put them out and store them properly in the air-tight box (3,6).
  • You can also blanch or steam your mushrooms before freezing them.
  • For blanching, you can add them to the boiling water and after 3-4 minutes put them out of the water and transfer them to the ice-cold water (6,7).
  • After this take a kitchen towel and pat dry them and store them in the freezer in a ziplock bag.

What are the benefits of freezing uncooked mushrooms?

Following are the benefits of freezing raw mushrooms (2,3,6):

  • Freezing mushrooms increases their shelf life for up to 12 months and preserves some nutrients.
  • Freezing the mushrooms decreases the enzymatic browning which occurs right after cutting the fresh mushrooms.
  • Mushrooms are prone to microbial damage, if your mushroom is brown and has patches on it, it means it has been contaminated with microbes.

What are the side effects of freezing uncooked mushrooms?

A few negative effects of freezing raw mushrooms may affect their overall texture and quality. Particularly in sensitive mushroom species, cell damage brought on by the creation of ice crystals during freezing might result in a change in texture (8,9). 

Once thawed, this may cause the consistency to become slightly softer or mushier. Also, freezing might result in moisture loss in mushrooms, which will somewhat reduce their juiciness. Some people may detect a tiny difference in flavor between frozen and fresh mushrooms, suggesting that freezing can change the flavor profile of mushrooms (9).

Moreover, freezing mushrooms can cause reduction of some nutrients such as protein and the decrease of free amino acids (cysteine, tyrosine, glutamine, alanine) (10).

How to safely thaw frozen uncooked mushrooms?

To safely thaw frozen uncooked mushrooms and maintain their quality and minimize the risk of bacterial growth, start by moving the frozen mushrooms from the freezer to the refrigerator, and give them some hours or overnight to gradually thaw them. 

Refrigerator thawing is more safe since it maintains a consistent temperature and lessens the potential for bacterial growth (11). 

If you want to hasten the thawing process, put the sealed bag or container of mushrooms in a bowl of cold water. Just make sure the water stays cold and is changed every 30 minutes to keep the temperature safe (11). 

Mushrooms should not be quickly thawed at room temperature or in warm water as this can encourage the growth of dangerous bacteria (11). 

You can use the mushrooms right away after they have thawed. But, before incorporating them into your preferred dish after they have thawed, drain any extra liquid.

Do uncooked mushrooms go bad in the freeze?

In general, no. Freezing can extend the shelf life of uncooked mushrooms for about 1 year or more. However, overtime uncooked frozen mushrooms can eventually develop freezer burn from surface moisture evaporation that results in dehydration (8). 

The texture, flavor, and general quality of the mushrooms may vary as a result of freezer burn, and degradation of flavor and nutrient quality may also occur as a result of prolonged freezing due to enzymatic and chemical interactions (9). 

That’s why it is recommended to eat frozen mushrooms typically within 6 months to 1 year, to ensure they remain at their best quality.

Conclusion 

In this brief guide we answered the above question, “can you freeze mushrooms without cooking them first?”. In this article, you got to know the proper ways of freezing raw mushrooms. We also got to know the benefits and side effects of freezing uncooked mushrooms and how to thaw them safely. 

References 

1. Li, Y. et al. Shelf life predictive model for postharvest shiitake mushrooms. Journal of Food Engineering, 2022, 330.

2. Castellanos-Reyes K, Villalobos-Carvajal R, Beldarrain-Iznaga T. Fresh Mushroom Preservation Techniques. Foods. 2021;10(9):2126. 

3. Freezing and Food Safety. USDA, 2013.

4. Shelf-Stable Food Safety. USDA, 2015.

5. Montanari A, Zurlini C. Influence of side stripe on the corrosion of unlacquered tinplate cans for food preserves. Packag Technol Sci. 2018, 31(1), 15–25.

6. Preserving Mushrooms. Oregon State University Extension Service, 2013.

7. Falandysz J,et al. Effect of drying, blanching, pickling and maceration on the fate of 40K, total K and 137Cs in bolete mushrooms and dietary intake. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2022;29(1):742-754.

8. Jaworska, G., Bernas, E. Effects of pre-treatment, freezing and frozen storage on the texture of Boletus edulis (Bull: Fr.) mushrooms. Int J Refrigeration, 2010, 33, 877–885.

9. Marçal, S. et al. Impact of postharvest preservation methods on nutritional value and bioactive properties of mushrooms. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 2021,110, 418-431.

10. Kumar K, Mehra R, Guiné RPF, et al. Edible Mushrooms: A Comprehensive Review on Bioactive Compounds with Health Benefits and Processing Aspects. Foods. 2021;10(12):2996. 

11. The Big Thaw – Safe Defrosting Methods. USDA, 2013

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