- Santa Cruz Fungi
Top 3 Ways to Store Mushrooms
There are several different ways to store mushrooms depending on the variety and the desired length of storage. Leaving them in a wax or paper bag long term isn’t an option give their short shelf life. We’ll break down the best way to store fresh mushrooms into three methods we recommend.
Storage Method: Dried
Some fresh mushrooms are better for drying than others but all mushrooms can be dried. Some mushrooms like porcini or candy caps are more flavorful after being dried. The downside of drying some mushrooms is that the texture can be lost. Morel mushroom, porcini, candy cap and black trumpet are some of the best dried mushrooms for long term storage.
How To Dry Mushrooms (2 Ways)
When drying, it is always best to start with clean mushrooms. For larger mushrooms, like porcini, chanterelle, or hedgehogs, you will want to slice them into fairly thick slices - about ½” - ¾” ( about 2 cm). Raw mushrooms have a high water content, they’re about 90% water and will lose about that much in size when dried. Low heat, air drying will take anywhere from four hours (for smaller whole mushrooms and thinner species like candy caps) to upwards of twelve hours for mushrooms like big or really wet porcini to completely dry.
Food Dehydrator Method
Clean your mushrooms and slice them to desired thickness (or recommendation above).
Arrange the mushroom slices in a single layer on the dehydrator trays.
Set it to 120-140°F (49-60°C) (some models only have “on”) and leave it to run for 6-12 hours, depending on the type of mushroom and the thickness of the slices. You may need to rotate the trays once or twice to ensure even drying.
Check the mushrooms periodically and remove any from the dehydrator that are dry and crisp. You’ll know they are ready if they snap like a cracker. If they have any flex, it’s best to let them keep drying.
Once the mushrooms are completely dry, allow them to cool and then store them in an airtight container, such as a mason jar.
Preheat your oven to 150-200°F (65-93°C).
Clean your mushrooms with a damp paper towel and slice them thinly.
Arrange the mushroom slices in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and leave the door slightly ajar to allow moisture to escape.
Check the mushrooms every hour and remove any that are dry and crisp. The drying process may take between 2-4 hours, depending on the thickness of the slices and the moisture content of the mushrooms.
Once the mushrooms are completely dry, allow them to cool and then store them in an airtight container.
When stored properly in this way you can keep your dried mushrooms for the rest of your life though it is probably best to eventually eat them or pass them off to someone else who may appreciate them more.
How To Rehydrate
When you are ready to use your dried mushrooms there are two ways. For smaller or less dense mushrooms (Black Trumpets or Morels)
Soaking them in room temp water for 20 minutes
For larger or dense mushrooms (Shiitake, Porcini)
Soaking them in room temp water up to 8 hours
Once they are hydrated and the texture appeals to you, drain them (consider using the water they were soaked in as it has yummy mushroom flavor) but make sure to strain out any bits or pieces leftover. Instead of straining, you can simply throw water and mushrooms right into a dish that has a good amount of moisture in it like a soup or a risotto.
Storage Method: In the Fridge
This is the most common way (and shortest term) to store fresh mushrooms if you plan on eating them in the near future. Most will not keep in a brown paper bag in the fridge for much longer than a week or two, depending on the type. Two exceptions to this rule are chanterelle and hedgehog mushrooms. If they are properly stored, you can expect them to last up to two months in the fridge.
Our recommended section of the fridge for storage is higher in the fridge away from potentially frosty crisper drawers. Keep the bag or container that they are in loosely closed as too much air flow will dry them out, leading to spoilage faster.
Storage Method: Freeze Mushrooms (2 Ways)
In our opinion this is an often under utilized way to store mushrooms. When done correctly you can retain the texture and flavor of mushrooms for up to a year in the freezer. Only maitake, crimini and portobello mushrooms can be frozen raw and still be acceptable to eat once defrosted.
Clean your mushrooms by gently wiping them with a damp paper towel or a soft-bristled brush. Avoid washing them in water as this can make them mushy and degrade their texture.
Slice the mushrooms to the desired size and shape. You can also leave them whole if you prefer.
Blanch the mushrooms by boiling them in a pot of water for 2-3 minutes. This will help preserve their color and texture. Drain the mushrooms and rinse them under cold water to stop the cooking process.
Pat the mushrooms dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels to remove excess moisture.
Arrange the mushrooms in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Make sure they are not touching each other.
Place the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze the mushrooms for a few hours until they are solid.
Once the mushrooms are frozen, transfer them to an container or plastic bag. Label the container with the date and type of mushroom.
Return the container to the freezer and store the mushrooms for up to 6 months.
When you're ready to use the frozen mushrooms, you can thaw them in the refrigerator overnight or use them directly in soups, stews, and casseroles without thawing. Frozen mushrooms may be softer than fresh ones after thawing, but they will still retain their flavor and nutritional value.
We prefer to sauté our mushrooms before freezing them as it makes for an easier meal later and preserves their texture for a very long time. While we have cooked well seasoned mushrooms to store in the freezer, we have found that keeping the recipe simple allows for a wider range of dishes down the line - because who knows what you will want to add them to in 6 months or a year!
Clean your mushrooms by gently wiping them with a damp towel or a soft-bristled brush. Avoid washing them in water as this can make them mushy and degrade their texture.
Slice the mushrooms to the desired size and shape.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of oil or butter. Once the oil is hot, add the sliced mushrooms and sauté them for 5-7 minutes until they are lightly browned and tender.
Once the mushrooms are cooked, remove them from the skillet and allow them to cool to room temperature.
Transfer the sautéed mushrooms to freezer safe container or bag. Make sure to remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn.
Label the container with the date and type.
Place the container in the freezer and store the mushrooms for up to 3 months.
When you're ready to use the frozen mushrooms, you can thaw them in the refrigerator overnight or add them directly to soups, stews, and casseroles without thawing. Sautéed and frozen mushrooms may be slightly softer than fresh ones, but they will still retain their flavor and nutritional value.
You can also try all three methods for mushroom storage when you have a larger batch! You’ll have some waiting in the freezer for longer term use, dried for years to come, and some in a brown paper bag in the fridge for this week’s dinner! Which do you think is the best method?