Mushrooms are a low-calorie food that’s packed with lots of essential nutrients and health benefits. They are packed with flavor and can be enjoyed in so many different ways. While they are a great addition to our meals, they don’t stay fresh for long.
It isn’t always possible to consume all of the mushrooms before they go bad, sadly. It is important to learn how to preserve them or keep them for longer.
Is it possible to freeze your baby bella mushrooms and still retain the flavor and freshness? Absolutely, and there are several ways to achieve this. The right approach largely depends on if the mushrooms are cooked or raw so let’s delve right in.
How to freeze baby bella mushrooms
While freezing the mushrooms will extend their shelf life, the process could affect their texture and flavor. Frozen food will typically lose some of its nutritional value over time and mushrooms are no different. Note that the mushrooms will retain their caloric and mineral content.
First of all, It’s important to choose/buy fresh mushrooms. If your mushrooms look dry or moldy and/or smell like they’ve gone bad then it’s best to dispose of them. You should only try to freeze mushrooms that are still in good condition.
You can choose to freeze cooked or raw baby bella mushrooms but cooked ones are better frozen.
Cleaning and prepping your baby bella mushrooms
Run the mushrooms through some cold water to rinse them and then trim off the ends of the stems. Alternatively, you could wipe off any dirt with a damp cloth especially if you’re going to freeze raw mushrooms.
Can you freeze cooked baby bella mushrooms?
Freezing cooked mushrooms is generally preferable to freezing them raw. Raw mushrooms have higher water content and the freezing process can affect the texture over time. Here are some ways you can cook your baby bella mushrooms for freezing.
Steaming is a great way to prepare the mushrooms for freezing while preserving the nutrients. To prevent the mushrooms from browning, mix two cups of water with a tablespoon of lemon juice. Leave the mushrooms in the mixture and let sit for a maximum of 10 minutes.
Steaming your baby bella mushrooms
- Fill a pot with some water and bring it to a boil.
- Fill a separate bowl with iced water.
- Once the water is at boiling point, put a steam basket inside or over the pot.
- Put mushrooms in a steam basket and allow to steam for three to five minutes.
- Place the mushrooms in a bowl of ice water for another three to five minutes.
- Drain the water and put the mushrooms in freezer-safe or airtight bags.
- Store them in the freezer.
Unlike Steaming, blanching involves dipping the mushrooms directly in boiling water. Serves the same purpose as steaming.
Blanching your baby bella mushrooms
- Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil.
- Fill a separate bowl with iced water.
- Place Mushrooms in boiling water and leave for four to five minutes.
- Transfer mushrooms from boiling water to the iced water using a strainer spoon.
- Leave the mushrooms to cool for four to five minutes.
- Drain off the water and transfer the mushrooms to a paper towel or kitchen towel to dry.
- Put the blanched mushrooms in a freezer-safe bag or airtight container and place them in the freezer.
Sautéing your baby bella mushrooms involves cooking them in hot oil or butter before freezing. This method can prevent the loss of essential vitamins and minerals.
Sautéing your baby bella mushrooms
- Put fresh mushrooms in a skillet.
- Add a little butter or oil.
- Bring to cook on medium to high heat.
- Cook the mushrooms for about five minutes or until almost cooked.
- Strain the mushrooms from the oil and put them on a plate or paper towel to cool.
- Place in a freezer-safe bag or airtight container and place in the freezer.
Note that steamed/blanched baby bella mushrooms have a longer freezer life than sautéed.
Can you freeze baby bella mushrooms without cooking?
Yes, you can freeze fresh or raw baby bella mushrooms. As mentioned earlier it is important to note that freezing raw mushrooms will affect the texture. The mushrooms will become mushy after thawing due to their high water content.
Raw frozen mushrooms are best enjoyed in soups and stew since the mushy texture would not be a problem.
Freezing fresh baby bella mushrooms without cooking
- Use only fresh mushrooms and dispose of any spoilt ones.
- Brush or wipe off any dirt and trim the stems.
- Dice up the mushrooms or chop them into slices.
- Place them on a large plate or cookie sheet and make sure they do not overlap.
- Put in the freezer and flash freeze for two hours.
- Remove from the freezer and store your mushrooms in freezer-safe or airtight containers.
Tip: Flash freezing helps to freeze the water content to minimize any effects on the texture. It also prevents the baby bella mushrooms from freezing together in a lump.
How long will frozen baby bella mushrooms last?
Cooked mushrooms have a freezer life of ten to twelve months in the freezer and five days in the refrigerator. Cooked mushrooms left out for more than two hours have to be disposed of, it would be unsafe to eat.
Uncooked mushrooms can last in the freezer for ten to twelve months and up to seven days in the refrigerator. If the mushrooms look discolored or smell funny then they should be discarded.
How to thaw baby bella mushrooms
Freezing your mushrooms will keep them good for as long as ten months. Mushrooms do not necessarily need to be defrosted to use in your meals. They can be added directly while cooking without thawing.
If you’re trying to fix a quick meal, it is advisable to thaw the mushrooms in the refrigerator overnight. This is because the baby bella mushrooms need to be properly cooked.
Baby bella mushrooms are packed with minerals that can help maintain a healthy immune and cardiovascular system. They can also improve bone health, and potentially prevent chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis.
Being able to freeze baby bella mushrooms means that you never have to run out of them. Freezing will prolong their shelf life and help retain the amazing health benefits. Remember that pre-cooking the mushrooms is a better option than freezing them raw.
Now you know how to properly freeze your mushrooms and how to use them as well. You can use this to your advantage and stock up on your baby bella mushrooms.