Even if you are not a mushroom lover, you will likely recognise the wrinkled morel mushroom. Though a wild mushroom that is rarely farmed, morels are treated as a prize in the cooking world. But because they are a wild mushroom, you can only harvest or buy fresh morels in the Spring.
Morels brought outside of Spring are likely to be dried so that they can be used throughout the year. But you may find that freezing your fresh morels is the better option if you know how.
How to Freeze Morels
Before you freeze your morels, you have to cook them.
Otherwise, their flavour and texture will change vastly once frozen, making them very different from the fresh-tasting morels you want to cook with. Here are two ways you can cook and freeze morels:
How To Freeze Boiled Morels
Morels are so sought after because their taste is much more complex and nuttier than the average mushroom.
As such, you don’t want to overcook the morels before freezing them, otherwise, they will lose their flavour too quickly. To avoid this, you can boil the morels first:
- Ready Water
In a large pot, bring some water to a boil.
- Add Morels
Once the water has started to bubble, carefully drop in your morels.
Set a timer for 5 minutes and leave the morels to boil.
After 5 minutes, remove and drain the morels completely and set them on a paper or kitchen towel.
Allow the morels to cool completely until they are at least room temperature.
- Bag Up
Transfer the boiled morels to a sturdy freezer bag. Then push all of the air out of the freezer bag and secure it shut.
Label the freezer bag with a use-by date and leave the morels in your freezer for up to 1 year.
To defrost your boiled morels, you only need to drop them back into boiling water or a hot pan and cook them until fully defrosted. Then add them to your dish as you would usually.
How To Freeze Sautéed Morels
Once you get more confident with handling morels, you can sauté them before freezing them to really enhance the mushroom’s flavour and make sure that they taste just as delicious once defrosted:
- Soak Mushrooms
Lightly season some water in a bowl and leave the morels to soak for up to 5 minutes.
- Heat A Pan
In the meantime, heat up a frying pan on medium heat with a couple of tablespoons of butter added to it.
Reduce the pan’s heat to a medium low and add the morels directly from the water to the hot pan. Sautee them for around 5 minutes.
- Leave To Cool
Once you see that the morels have released some of their own liquid, turn off the heat and leave the morels to cool until at least room temperature.
- Bag Up
When the morels are cool to the touch, transfer the mushrooms along with a couple of tablespoons of their released liquid to a freezer bag.
Label the freezer bag with a use-by date (up to 1 year), and then leave the morels to freeze until you are ready to use them again.
Allow your sauteed morels to defrost by themselves in the fridge. Depending on how many mushrooms you defrost, this can take up to 2 or more hours. They don’t need to defrost all the way before you add the morels to your dish.
How to Freeze Morels Successfully
Mushrooms have not had a good history of being frozen due to their natural moisture content.
That is why you must cook the morels before freezing them to release some moisture, which is a simple enough task. However, to ensure that your delicious morels do not lose their flavour when frozen, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Wash Thoroughly – The last thing you want to discover when biting into your cooked morels is gritty dirt. Trying to wash frozen morels can be tricky, so wash the morels thoroughly before you prepare them to be frozen.
- Don’t Cook All The Way – It is vital not to cook your morel mushrooms completely before freezing them as this will affect their taste and texture as much as freezing the morels raw would. Only briefly cook the morels as detailed above.
- Leave To Cool – Allowing the morels to cool before you freeze them is crucial in ensuring that they do not lose their texture once frozen. The moisture from hot morels will become condensation once they freeze, soaking into the morels and changing their texture. So the colder, the better.
- Chop Up – Like with their cleaning, cutting your morels to their desired size will be much easier before you freeze them. Not only will this save you prep time when it comes to using the morels, but you can also be sure of clear cuts without ruining the texture of the mushrooms.
- Double Bag – If your freezer tends to burn your food more often than not, then it may be an idea to double bag up the morels before you freeze them. This will offer extra protection against cold and freezer burns.
Do Morels Freeze Well?
If you have made sure to cook your morels before you freeze them partly, then they can freeze exceptionally well for a mushroom.
They will retain their natural flavour and meaty texture, but not if they are frozen raw.
Freezing Morels FAQs
Do you have further questions about freezing morels? Then these FAQs might help:
Purists will say it’s a waste of money freezing morels. However, if you’ve got more than you can use then freezing them is certainly better than throwing them away.
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.