Ever cook with frozen mushrooms? While fresh mushrooms are always our go-to suggestion, it’s not always practical to keep them stocked up.
While certainly delicious, fresh mushrooms don't last long. They have a shelf life of about a week by the time they make it to your refrigerator. Can fresh mushrooms be frozen? They sure can, and, even better, freezing mushrooms means always having these tasty fillers handy. You can actually sneak extra nutrients into your meals and cut down on calories by mixing mushrooms into everyday dishes. But, surprisingly, not many people have had frozen fresh mushrooms before, or even realized that they could.
Here, we'll explain how to freeze mushrooms, as well as how to use frozen mushrooms once you’re ready to cook. We'll even dive into proper thawing methods and how to cook frozen mushrooms for the highest nutritional value and best taste.
First, Why Freeze Mushrooms?
If you have access to a nice mushroom supplier, it may seem counterintuitive to opt for frozen mushrooms. However, there are a lot of benefits to freezing your fresh fungi, such as:
- Reducing waste - Sometimes you can’t eat all the fresh mushrooms you purchased. While expired mushrooms can be composted, most end up in the trash.
- Cost savings - Buying mushrooms in bulk typically translates to money saved. Stock up on mushrooms during a sale, and stash a few frozen bags away to get your money’s worth.
- Similar nutrients - If you freeze mushrooms the right way, you get similar nutritional benefits to fresh benefits. While some B vitamins and antioxidants may be lost during cooking, our instructions make sure you maintain as much of the fungi’s original nutritional integrity as possible. Having frozen mushrooms on hand also means instantly adding a pop of nutrients is simple.
- Convenience - Some days, convenience is king. What’s better after a long hard day than having cooked and ready-to-use mushrooms at your fingertips?
How to Cook with Frozen Mushrooms
When thawing and reheating your mushrooms, a few tips will ensure what you pull out of the freezer is delicious and nutritious. Remember these expert tips.
1. Always freeze mushrooms correctly
It’s not hard to freeze mushrooms, however, the first mistake people make is not properly preparing them for the freezer.
If you try freezing nearly expired mushrooms, they may become slimy when thawed. Or, if you don’t sauté them prior to freezing, they could take on a rubbery texture post-freezer. It is always better to freeze mushrooms after they have been cooked instead of trying to freeze them fresh because they have such a high moisture content.
So, how you prepare your mushrooms for freezing has an immense influence on taste, nutritional profile, and texture. Be sure to read one of our most popular blogs, How to Freeze Mushrooms in 5 Easy Steps, for step-by-step instructions straight from the fungi experts at Monterey regarding how to prepare and freeze them properly.
2. Know how long to freeze
Always date your freezer bag or container. Even the best-prepared mushrooms can get freezer burned if kept under frigid temperatures for too long.
How long do mushrooms last in the freezer? If correctly prepared and stored, your mushrooms can last up to six months. Check out these tips for storing your mushrooms in the freezer to ensure they are properly preserved for long-term freezer storage.
3. Use mushrooms straight from the freezer
How long can mushrooms last in the fridge after freezing? Not usually more than a day.
Mushrooms aren’t like meat—you don’t necessarily need to take them out of the freezer to thaw before cooking with them. In fact, if you move your frozen mushrooms to the fridge for a few days or leave them out on the counter at room temperature for a few hours, they may not fare well. During the thawing process, mushrooms naturally release water, which translates to soggy mushrooms once they defrost.
The one exception to this rule is if you’re making blended burgers or blended meals. Frozen mushrooms would be hard to incorporate into the blend. In this case, you can place your mushrooms in the fridge for up to 24 hours before making the meal. But be warned: any longer and you may compromise their texture, taste, or freshness.
4. Don’t sauté, microwave, or bake frozen mushrooms
Remember, if you sautéed your mushrooms prior to freezing, they don’t need to be “recooked.” Simply warm up your mushrooms by mixing them in as you approach your meal’s finish. If you recook your mushrooms, you risk compromising their nutritional value, flavor, and texture.
Uses for Frozen Mushrooms
Check out these excellent ways to make use of frozen mushrooms:
- Soup - If making soup, stick the frozen mushrooms right in the warm broth
- Pasta sauce - Add them right to the crushed tomato in your pot after cooking
- Gravy, stir-fry, or stroganoff - Simply add the mushrooms after cooking the recipe ingredients and then heat gently to gradually warm to temperature
- Juicy blended burgers - Mix thawed diced (¼-inch or smaller) mushrooms with ground meat
Don't be afraid to get creative. Mushrooms are such a versatile recipe ingredient. Use your ready-mushrooms to top pizza, include them in omelets, and add delicious goodness to your quesadillas. These foods cook relatively quickly, which is just enough time for the mushrooms to thaw and warm up with the rest of the food.
Consider Marinating or Dehydrating Instead of Freezing
Want to save more mushrooms from the compost bin? In addition to freezing, there are other ways you can store your mushrooms to extend their shelf life.
Consider marinating or dehydrating your extra mushrooms instead. Check out our Italian Marinated Mushrooms Canning Recipe to jar zesty fungi for later use as toppings for your favorite salad or pizza. Then, read these tips for turning your fungi into nutritious mushroom powder to use in smoothies, lattes, yogurt, and more.
Short on time? Here’s a simple way to create marinated mushrooms you can snack on during the coming week:
- Sauté 8 oz of sliced mushrooms with a sprinkle of salt for about 5 minutes,
- Add 1/2 cup of Italian dressing
- Continue cooking over medium heat for 4 more minutes, stirring occasionally
- Allow to cool slightly, then transfer to a sealed container and store for up to one week in the refrigerator
Blending Frozen Mushrooms
Learn more about the power of the blend by downloading our Everything You Need to Know About Blending Mushrooms ebook. It even includes some tasty recipes!