Can you Freeze Portobello Mushrooms?

Q. I’ve recently discovered portobello mushrooms, and now I can’t get enough of them! I’m trying to cut back on my meat consumption, and I find that portobello mushrooms are a great substitute for meat in many recipes. I even make burgers out of them! I sometimes find large packages of them on sale at my local supermarket, but I have hesitated to buy them because they don’t last very long in the fridge. I’m curious to know if I would be able to successfully freeze portobello mushrooms, or if they would lose their unique texture after thawing. Can you freeze portobello mushrooms?

A. I like your idea to substitute portobello mushrooms for meat in recipes. Such a great idea! I understand your concern about purchasing large packages of mushrooms. Mushrooms of all types tend to get slimy if not eaten quickly enough, and that’s not appetizing for anyone! Luckily, you can freeze portobello mushrooms successfully with a little bit of effort.

First, wipe the mushrooms clean with a paper towel or special mushroom cleaning brush (yes, they exist!). Don’t wash portobello mushrooms, as that will negatively affect the way it freezes. Simply brush the dirt off the mushrooms. Next, I recommend removing the gills on the underside of the mushrooms. Most recipes call for them to be removed, and it’s easier to do so on a fresh, firm portobello mushroom than on one that has already been frozen. If you are planning to use your mushrooms chopped up in a recipe, then chop them up now. Once your mushrooms are prepped, they are ready to be frozen.

For portobello mushrooms that have been chopped, place the chopped pieces either in a freezer bag or in a hard-sided freezer safe container. Seal the container, then label and date it. Place the mushrooms in the freezer. If using freezer bags, be careful not to place anything heavy on top of the package. If freezing the portobello mushrooms whole, I recommend wrapping each mushroom individually in a double layer of plastic wrap, before placing them in freezer bags. Seal the bags, then label and date them before placing them in the fridge.

For best results, I recommend using frozen portobello mushrooms within a few months of being frozen. To use frozen mushrooms, simply remove from the freezer and add directly to recipes when using chopped pieces. For whole portobello mushrooms, allow to thaw in the refrigerator before cooking with them. For best results, use within 24 hours of being thawed.

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