I don’t know how to describe how much I love mushrooms. I mean, they are a must in most of my dishes because of the number of proteins and nutrients they provide, and of course, their delicious taste. Especially, the Morel mushrooms. I do love every shape and form of mushrooms, but the Morel mushrooms are simply my favorite.
Since they are not present the whole entire year, I had to learn how to store Morel mushrooms, so that I can enjoy them whenever I want. Call it an addiction or whatever, but the most important thing is that I was successful. So, to answer your question of “Can you freeze Morel mushrooms?” Yes. You sure can.
Freezing might be your only efficient solution to store your Morel mushrooms. I am going to share with you the exact detailed steps you need to follow so that you can enjoy these amazing mushrooms all year long.
What is a Morel mushroom?
Morel mushrooms are these earthy fungi from the Morchella genus that grow in the wild. There are no certain conditions you can grow them in. That probably explains the reason why there are so many different Morel varieties that really differs in shape, size, and color. However, they all share the same honeycomb texture and appearance, and the same cap that is attached to the stem.
How to freeze Morel mushrooms:
Before we go on with the detailed steps of freezing morel mushrooms, it is important to know that the only way you can retain the taste and texture of your mushrooms is to avoid freezing the raw Morel mushrooms. You have to first prepare them for freezing, or else you will risk turning them into plastic, tasteless, and mushy mushrooms.
There are two ways to prepare your mushrooms for freezing:
- The sauté method
- The boiling method
Sautéing your mushrooms for freezing:
Bear in mind that this method is best suited for one-pound mushrooms, since it is best to prepare your mushroom in 1-pound batches. Start by filling a large bowl with salted water and dumping your mushrooms inside it for 1-2 minutes. Don’t forget to stir occasionally.
Place a pan on medium heat flame, then add 2 tablespoons of butter. Drain your mushrooms from the salted water, then transfer them to the pan after adjusting the heat to medium-low. Cook the mushrooms for about 5 minutes. The mushrooms should be a little softer with most of their liquids released.
Transfer the mushrooms with their liquids to two freezer bags, which will be enough for each pound of mushrooms. The liquid helps preserve the mushrooms, and also retains all their flavors.
Place the bags in the freezer after tightly sealing them. Your mushrooms should be good in the freezer for about a year or so.
Boiling your mushrooms for freezing
It is much simpler than the sauté method. All you have got to do is just boil your mushrooms in a large pot for about 5 minutes, then transfer your mushrooms to a freezer bag, release as much air as you can. Seal the bag, then put it in the freezer immediately. That’s it!
How I Fix Morel Mushrooms to Eat and Store
Step 1: cleaning them:
Since they grow widely in forests, it is highly recommended to clean them before you attempt to freeze them. You can do so by thoroughly removing the dirt and the stones using a sharp knife, then soaking them overnight in a bowl filled with cold water containing a tablespoon of salt.
After they are soaked enough in cold water, you will have to rinse them with clean water to remove the leftover dirt and salt.
Step 2: Cut
Start roughly cutting the mushrooms into either, halves, in the case of small ones, or quarters in the case of large ones. Wrap them in paper towels to drain all excess water.
Step 3: Batter
- Prepare your batter mixture by whisking an egg, a quarter cup of milk, and a pinch of salt together.
- Carefully coat each mushroom piece with the egg mixture. Make sure it is completely covered in the batter.
- Drain all the excess batter before you dump them into a bag filled with flour. Shake the bag containing the flour and the coated mushrooms to make sure every bit of the mushroom is covered.
- Now, it is ready to either be fried or frozen!
Step 4: Cook
You have two options regarding cooking Morel mushrooms, either deep fry it in a high smoke point oil like canola or any vegetable oil you prefer. Or you can stir fry them in a pan with a chunk of butter. Both ways will result in some luscious and amazing mushrooms. However, it is not advised to eat mushrooms with an alcoholic drink. I know, mushrooms are amazing with a beer bottle, yet it might lead to some negative effects if ingested together.
Tips and Tricks
These are some of the best tips that I have gathered after my numerous trials of freezing my mushrooms.
- Avoid stacking mushrooms on top of each other, or else they will start leaving bruises on each other because of their fragile phase after boiling or Sautéing.
- Avoid using any water while thawing the mushrooms, as water will affect their flavor negatively.
- Tightly seal the freezer bags containing the mushrooms, and place them away from any other stored food, as mushrooms are easily affected by surrounding smells.
- Since they grow widely in the forests, it is highly recommended to clean them before you attempt to freeze them. You can do so by shaking them well, then rinsing them with water thoroughly before leaving them to dry completely.
How to defrost Morel mushrooms:
Slow defrosting of your Morel mushrooms should be your only way when you want to cook your frozen ones. I don’t recommend transferring them straight from the freezer to the oven or the microwave or even leaving them on the counter. Mushrooms are delicate food that needs special conditions for freezing and thawing.
The best way to defrost Morel mushrooms is by moving them from the freezer to the fridge for at least an hour. After the hour you can serve them in a dish, cook them, or do whatever you like.
Frequently asked questions:
Are there other ways to preserve Morel mushrooms?
Drying your mushrooms is the key whenever freezing isn’t an option. There are three ways you can dry your Morel mushrooms:
- Air drying
- oven drying
- Use a food dryer.
You have to start by cleaning your mushrooms as mentioned before, using salted water for not longer than a minute or two.
Now, you can either place them in a food dryer for 10 hours at 110 degrees, or you can hang them from their stems using a thread in a dark and dry room for about 24 to 48 hours.
Or for a third option, just tie the thread with the hanging mushrooms to the rack inside the oven and adjust the oven’s temperature to low, while keeping the oven door slightly ajar to allow the air to circulate. This process should take from 8 to 10 hours.
How do I store dried Morel mushrooms?
Since dried Morel mushrooms are usually easier to store, because of the fact that there is a low percentage of water inside them, hence the less chance of spoilage. They can just be sealed in an airtight container and left on a counter at room temperature. Or you can go for freeze-drying, which should give you about a year.
How long do dried morels keep?
The secret to storing dried Morels is keeping them dry. If you managed to do so, then, theoretically speaking, it could stay forever without spoiling.
How do I rehydrate my Morel mushrooms?
Whenever you want to cook your dried mushrooms, you can just go ahead and add 2 cups of water for every ounce of dried mushrooms. Let them soak for at least four hours before you drain them and cook them as you normally would. The drained water can be used to make mushroom soup or broth.