How to freeze morel mushrooms is one of the most important tips you can learn when dealing with such a popular fungus. The morel mushroom is one of the most popular and great tasting mushrooms out there. They are so good that once found, are worth preserving for later or future use.
But it’s not all about simply freezing morel mushrooms and leaving it at that. There is so much more to correctly storing morel mushrooms. That is why we’ve put together this article on how to freeze morel mushrooms in 3 ways so you can learn and understand the benefits of freezing morel mushrooms properly.
Why it is Vital to Know How to Freeze Morels Mushrooms
As already mentioned, you cannot just chuck your morels, or any kind of mushrooms for that matter, into the freezer and be done with it. Of course, you could because they will still be edible.
But, if you’re a true mushroom lover, then you will understand the importance of preserving the nutritional value of these great superfoods.
Fresh morel mushrooms are obviously the tastiest and the most nutritious, just like with fresh veggies and fruits. Unfortunately, all mushrooms only last for about a week in the fridge.
After that, they will drastically lose their nutritional content, or worse, their taste. So, you either want to make use of your morels during this time-frame or prepare them for storage in the fridge.
Can you freeze morel mushrooms?
All mushrooms consist mostly of water. Because of this, if you were to freeze them raw or as they are, they’ll most likely come out mushy. This would be fine if you want to use them for soups, stews or even casseroles.
But if you want to use these frozen mushrooms for other recipes, then you need to do something to them before being stored.
Knowing how to store morel mushrooms is vital if you care about getting the most out of this amazing food. It might require a lot more effort to prepare morels for preservation.
But when you truly appreciate mushrooms, it won’t matter how long it takes. What’s important is keeping the taste and value of each mushroom piece.
How to Freeze Morel Mushrooms
There are three ways that you can prepare your morels before freezing them. Each of these three methods offers different benefits. So, which you choose can depend on what you want to do with the morels in the future or the type of meal you want to create out of them.
Be sure to plan how you’ll use the morels well ahead of time, because the way you prepare them now will make a significant difference later.
The most common method is sautéing, which is all about cooking your morels quickly at a high temperature. Your focus here is on cooking the morels quickly, fully, and properly, which shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes.
Because you’ll be freezing them after they’ve cooled down from being cooked, you don’t have to worry too much about the ingredients needed for the sautéing. All you will need is either oil or butter to heat up in the pan or skillet.
Depending on your taste, you can sprinkle a hint of salt and pepper to the mushrooms, or even add some onions and bits of garlic.
To store your morels, you can place them in a freezer bag or container. If you’re packing them in bags, just leave a little bit of space just in case they expand. Otherwise, your aim is to remove the air as much as possible.
The good thing about sautéing morels is that they will become firmer. Frozen-sautéed morels work great in stir-fry recipes, pasta, and also pizza. The only downside with them is that they don’t last as long in the freezer, so you’ll need to use them within 9 months.
Method #2: Blanching
If you love to add morels to soups, then you will want to go with this method of freezing. Blanching is also known as parboiling. This means that you are partially boiling your food before they are thoroughly cooked.
Because you’ll be boiling your mushrooms, you have the added benefit of getting rid of any dirt and bacteria. So, if you’ve collected your morels from the wild, then you won’t need to clean them beforehand.
The first thing to do is to prepare a pot of boiling water. Just as it reaches boiling point, add the mushrooms. You will then need to wait until the water re-boils. When it does, let the mushrooms cook for a couple of minutes before taking them out.
One thing to note is that if you have different sized mushrooms, make sure to cut the bigger ones into smaller pieces. That way, all the mushrooms can boil evenly within a 1-2 minute time-frame.
After you’ve taken out the mushrooms, place them into a bowl of cold water. Once the mushrooms are cold enough to touch, you can then drain them and begin storing your morels in the freezer. Blanching morels can last a little longer than the sautéed ones, remaining edible for up to a year.
Method #3: Steaming
The final method is steaming. This involves using steam instead of liquid, or even the skillet to prepare the mushrooms. If you’re not sure about what recipe to use your frozen morels for, then steaming would be the safest option.
This is because steamed mushrooms retain more of their flavor and texture. So, you can use frozen-steamed morels for either soups or stir-fry recipes.
To get started, you’ll want to heat a pot of water. You will also need something to hold your morels above the water without touching it, as well as a lid to cover the pot. This is so that the steam is cooking the mushrooms rather than the water.
If you’re using whole mushrooms, they will need to be steamed for about 5 minutes. If they’re cut into smaller pieces, then you’ll only need them steamed for a few minutes. Just remember to make sure that no mushrooms can slip or drop into the water while being steamed.
Once your mushrooms have reached their time limit, you will need to transfer them into a bowl of cold water to cool down. After they have cooled off, you can start packing them for the freezer. Just like with blanched morels, steamed morels can also last up to a year in frozen storage.
Follow your recipes
The fantastic thing about being able to store morels in the freezer is that you can enjoy them even out of season, which is spring. Following your mushroom recipes is always the best advice if you want to get the most out of your beautiful morels.
So, it would be wise to have a pack of sautéed, blanched, and steamed morels in the freezer just to have all the options available.
Now that you know how to freeze morel mushrooms 3 different ways, you can be confident with how you choose to store them for much longer than normal. You can rest assured that when you finally decide to use them, they will be just as good as when you bought them.
They will not only offer almost the exact same health benefits, but they will also retain their taste and texture. So, if you’re a big fan of mushrooms, then it will be worth the effort and investment to properly store them for later use.