Wild mushrooms vary widely in size, shape, colour, texture and picking season with all wild mushrooms sharing incredibly delicate forms. Preservation techniques also vary---from drying and dehydrating to steaming, blanching, sautéing and pack or air freezing. Whether you like Morels or Chanterelles, with gentle hands and a little preparation, you can freeze your wild mushrooms for enjoyment throughout the year.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Lemon juice
- Ascorbic or citric acid
- Fry pan
- Plastic containers or jars
- Baking trays (optional)
Shake any dirt or bugs from your wild mushrooms and gently rinse with cool water or wipe with a cloth.
Select firm mushrooms that haven't aged or begun to decay. Cut off the base of the stem of your mushrooms and arrange into piles based on size. Once you have your piles sorted, cut any large mushrooms (1 inch wide or more) into halves or quarters.
Treat your wild mushrooms with an acidic solution of lemon juice, ascorbic or citric acid in water to keep them from turning dark. Use 3 tsp of lemon juice or 1/2 tsp of ascorbic or citric acid in a quart of water if you blanch your mushrooms. If you steam your mushrooms, dip them into 1 tsp lemon juice or 1 1/2 tsp citric acid in a pint of water for approximately 5 minutes before steaming.
Steam or blanch whole mushrooms no longer than 5 minutes and pieces or buttons no longer than 3 to 3-1/2 minutes.
Pour cool water over the mushrooms and drain.
Sauté the wild mushrooms in margarine, butter or oil instead of steaming or blanching. Cut them into smaller sizes and sauté in an uncovered fry pan for approximately 3 minutes. Air cool.
Pack your mushrooms into plastic freezer containers or freezer jars leaving a slight amount of headspace for expansion. Seal tightly, label (type of mushroom and date) and freeze.
Tips and warnings
- Place mushrooms individually in a layer on a flat baking or baking tray before freezing to help preserve their form when defrosted.
- Breading mixture can be applied before freezing.
- If you are allergic to citrus, use only ascorbic acid in Step 3 instead of lemon juice or citric acid.
- Always prepare wild mushrooms as soon as possible after picking because they can decay quickly.
- Handling or transporting mushrooms roughly can cause bruising or damage.
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