Compared to other mushrooms, morel mushrooms are not easy to come by naturally in the supermarket. Most people will have to source their morel mushrooms at local markets, which can be expensive if you do not live near a cheap market, or the mushrooms are not in season.
The next time you are craving some morel mushrooms, try stocking up and freezing the mushrooms. You could save several more market trips and have your own supply of the mushrooms when they are out of season.
To freeze morels, you need to cook them first. You can either steam them or saute them. Once cooked and cooled, portion them out into freezer bags or airtight containers before freezing them.
How to Freeze Morel Mushrooms
There are a few ways to freeze morel mushrooms. All the methods are straightforward, with the main difference being how you plan to use the mushrooms once defrosted.
Here are the best 2 methods for freezing morel mushrooms:
How to Freeze Steam Morel Mushrooms
The easiest way to freeze morel mushrooms is to steam-blanch them. This method is also the best for freezing morel mushrooms that you intend to store for a longer time:
- Prepare Some Boiling Water
In a decently sized pan, add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to some boiling water. The lemon juice’s acidity will help to stop the natural decay of the mushroom’s enzymes in the freezer.
- Blanch For 5 Minutes
You only want to partway cook the morel mushrooms, so do not leave the mushrooms in the boiling mixture for longer than 5 minutes. This will be enough time for the lemon to work its magic.
- Steam For Another 5 Minutes
To really lock in all of the mushroom’s nutrients, steam them for up to (but no longer than) 5 minutes. The steam will make the mushrooms juicy without making them mushy when cooked.
- Leave to Cool
You will need to let the mushrooms cool down before freezing them. Otherwise, they may develop harmful bacteria and will not last long in your freezer.
- Store in an Airtight Container
In a container, layer the cooled mushrooms on top of each other as gently as possible, as they will be prone to bruising. Don’t use a freezer bag as the mushrooms will likely move around and bruise.
So long as your container is airtight, steamed morel mushrooms can be frozen for 12 months.
It is best to avoid steaming morel mushrooms again if you have used the steaming method to freeze them. Instead, leave the mushroom in your fridge to defrost naturally, then add them to your recipe.
How to Freeze Sauteed Morel Mushrooms
If you want to accentuate and lock in morel mushroom’s natural flavour, you can always sautee them before freezing them:
- Soak in Salt Water
This step can be skipped if you are not a fan of salty mushrooms. Allowing your morel mushrooms to soak in lightly salted water for 1 or 2 minutes before sauteing them will help to bring forth the mushroom’s natural flavour better.
- Heat Some Butter
On medium heat, melt some butter (roughly 2 tablespoons for larger batches of mushrooms) until the butter has nicely melted and is starting to brown slightly.
When the butter is ready, keep the pan’s heat to a low medium and gently drop in your mushrooms. You don’t want the mushrooms to burn, but neither should you constantly move them around. Leave them to cook for about 5 minutes or until they have produced a brown liquid.
- Time to Bag Up
Store both the morel mushrooms and as much of the brown liquid as you can gather in a freezer bag. The liquid will act as a protective layer for the mushrooms and help keep the mushroom’s flavour locked in place.
- Cool and Freeze
Leave the bags open on your counter until they are cool, and then seal them tightly before storing them in your freezer.
Sauteed morel mushrooms can be enjoyed for up to 12 months.
You will not want to add frozen sauteed mushrooms directly to a pan, as the melting ice will make the mushrooms an odd texture. It is better to wait an hour until the morel mushrooms (and brown liquid) have defrosted in the fridge and then add them directly to your recipe.
How to Freeze Morel Mushrooms Successfully
Below are a few tips to keep in mind if you want to freeze morel mushrooms successfully:
- Thoroughly Wash Beforehand -Morel mushrooms need to be properly washed before being cooked, so you might as well do this before you freeze them. Gently shake the mushroom, careful not to bruise them, and run them under cold water to rinse away any dirt.
- Avoid Slicing Before Freezing – Some may be tempted to chop up their morel mushrooms into manageable slices before freezing to make meal preparation later on easier. However, if you slice them beforehand, you will lose much of the mushroom’s flavour in the freezing process. It is best to leave the mushrooms whole for freezing.
- Defrost Naturally – A sudden temperature change will shock morel mushrooms and ruin their flavour. Allocating extra defrosting time before you use morel mushrooms will greatly affect their taste.
- Keep Away From Smelly Foods – Fresh morel mushrooms are known to absorb smells into their flavour, which is also true of frozen morel mushrooms. When storing your morel mushrooms in the freezer, place them away from foods with strong odours to avoid changing the mushroom’s flavour and smell.
Do Morel Mushrooms Freeze Well?
Though you should avoid freezing raw morel mushrooms, partly cooked morel mushrooms freeze very well.
Steaming or sauteing the mushrooms will heighten and lock in the mushroom’s great flavour and allow you to store the mushrooms for up to a year.
Freezing Morels FAQs
Do you still have a question or two about freezing morel mushrooms? Then see if these help you out?
No, you should avoid freezing raw morels. If you freeze morels raw, you’ll ruin their texture. This is why it is a good idea to saute or steam them before freezing.
If kept wrapped and away from moisture, morels will keep for around 3 days in the fridge. Beyond this, they turn slimy. This is why freezing them is such a good idea!
Acacia may be a freelance writer by day, but they are a food fanatic by night. They are always trying out new recipes or finding different ways to elevate classical dishes. But their biggest culinary aim is to educate others on the basics of the kitchen so that they too can enjoy delicious food.