Despite the fact they are not farmed directly for purchase, morel mushrooms are one of the most popular types of mushrooms available. Morel mushrooms are picked from the wild, meaning you will only be able to get fresh morels during the time they are in season.
You will be able to buy morel mushrooms for the rest of the year however they will only be available in the dried variety. If you prefer your morels undried there is one way you can access them during the offseason, and that is by freezing them.
It might not be something that you immediately think of, but freezing morels can allow you to eat mushrooms that have not been dried throughout the year.
The process is surprisingly simple and definitely worth it if morels are your favorite type of mushroom.
We’ve put together this handy guide to talk you through the process of freezing your morels, with an additional section advising you on how to defrost them when you want to eat the mushrooms in the future.
Follow this guide and freezing your morels will be easy.
How to freeze morel mushrooms
The process of freezing morel mushrooms is very simple to follow. However, the condition in which you freeze the mushrooms is vitally important to ensure you preserve the unique taste and consistency of the morels.
Freezing the mushrooms raw will do the most damage to the flavor, so you should cook the mushrooms before freezing. However, it is advised that you cook the mushrooms until they are almost ready to cook, but not quite done before you freeze them to preserve the flavor and texture.
There are a few different ways you can cook the mushrooms to prepare for freezing. You should follow the one that suits your preference of cooked mushrooms the best to ensure you enjoy them in the future.
The three main ways you can use to cook the morels are blanching, steaming, and sauteing. All of these are very simple to do and ensure the taste of your mushrooms will not be affected by freezing.
If you choose to Blanche the morels you should bring a pan of water to a boil. Once the water is at the boiling point you should add the whole mushrooms to the pan and leave to cook for approximately 5 minutes before taking off the heat.
Alternatively, you may decide to steam the mushrooms. To do this you should simply place the whole mushrooms in the steamer and leave for 5 minutes, until they are almost cooked, then take them out.
Your final option is sauteing the mushrooms. To do this you should add butter to a pan on medium heat and leave to melt. Once the butter has melted you should add the mushrooms and saute on medium-low heat for roughly 5 minutes until nearly cooked.
Immediately after the mushrooms have almost cooked, no matter the method used, you should leave them to cool and drain them if necessary.
Once they have cooled you should lay the morels out on a baking tray and lay flat in the freezer until frozen. Once the mushrooms have frozen you can take them out of the freezer and transfer from the tray into an airtight container or freezer bag.
Label the container/bag with the date of storage then place it in the freezer ready for future use.
How to defrost morel mushrooms
As morels are a seasonal vegetable, freezing can be a good way to ensure you have morel mushrooms available all year round.
Alternatively, freezing is also a great way to extend the shelf life of the vegetables. Once frozen, you will be able to enjoy the mushrooms for up to 12 months so freezing extends the shelf life significantly.
Defrosting morel mushrooms is an easy process, however, you must do it correctly to ensure no damage to the texture of the mushrooms.
The best way to defrost mushrooms is by transferring the container holding them from the freezer into the fridge. Most foods will need to be left to defrost overnight before you can use them, however morels take a lot less time to defrost.
One hour after being placed in the refrigerator, your morels will be ready to use. You will most likely be using the mushrooms within another dish, so if the mushrooms still appear slightly frozen there is no need to worry as the cooking process will finish the defrosting process.
The most important thing to remember when defrosting morel mushrooms is that you should do it slowly. You should never try to speed up the defrosting process by leaving the mushrooms on the countertop or even worse placing in the microwave.
Morels must be defrosted slowly to preserve the texture and taste of this fine vegetable.
Factors to consider
With everything that you freeze, there are some factors you should consider before you decide to freeze. Morel mushrooms are no different, so let’s look at what you should think about before freezing your mushrooms.
The first thing you should consider is which way you are going to cook the mushrooms before freezing. As we’ve already mentioned, you cannot freeze raw morels, so you have to cook them before you can freeze them.
We’ve outlined a few ways you can cook the mushrooms, but you must choose the way that works best for you. You should consider the ways you will use the mushrooms once defrosted and pick a cooking method that works with this.
Additionally, you should consider whether you want to freeze the mushrooms whole or cut them before. This is totally up to you, preparing prior to freezing will reduce the amount of preparation when you need to use the mushrooms in the future.
However, you might prefer to freeze the mushrooms whole if you have not decided how you want to cook them once defrosted. The best way will depend on your personal preference so consider both options before freezing.
The answer is yes, morel mushrooms can be frozen.
The freezing process is really simple and a great way to ensure you have access to these yummy mushrooms even while they are out of season.