Can You Freeze Portobello Mushrooms?

Portobello mushrooms are very likeable to mushroom and food enthusiasts for their intense flavor and meat-like texture. They are also perfect for vegans and vegetarians because of the meaty texture, and they can be used in place of meat.

While portobello mushrooms contain few calories, they have high nutritional benefits. They are also a good source of fiber and contain lots of water too. Foods like portobello mushrooms allow you to eat large portions without consuming many calories.

Yes, you can freeze portobello mushrooms and thaw them later when you are ready to eat. However, the way you freeze and store these mushrooms can affect the texture and taste. Mushrooms turn slimy when stored improperly, and portobello mushrooms do the same.

How to freeze portobello mushrooms

Before you can freeze these meaty mushrooms, you have to ensure that they are prepared properly. Prepping, when it comes to portobello mushrooms, also involves a deep cleaning process.

Unlike cleaning other mushrooms, portobellos require an extra touch of care.

How to clean portobello mushrooms

If you want to clean your portobellos properly so you can freeze them, here are the steps you need to take:

  • Use a damp paper towel to gently wipe any dirt or debris from the portobello.
  • A damp paper towel should easily clean your mushrooms without the loss of flavor that occurs when mushrooms are cleaned in running water.
  • Remove the mushroom stem. You can use a sharp knife to cut it out or just twist them with your fingers.
  • Use a spoon to gently scrape away the dark brown gills found underneath the mushroom cap.

The gills are edible but they can hold dirt. Also, the gills have a dark, dull color that will dull the color of everything in your dish. Now that your mushrooms are cleaned, here are a few ways to ensure they are prepped for freezing.

Prepping portobello mushrooms for freezing

There are a few ways to prep portobellos while retaining their flavor so you can freeze them with ease. Before going into that, note that it is possible to freeze your mushrooms while they are still fresh.

Freezing fresh portobello mushrooms

When frozen fresh, portobellos keep their flavor fully. However, frozen fresh mushrooms should only be used in soups, stews, and casseroles. As soon as they are cleaned, here are the steps you can take to ensure your fresh portobellos are frozen properly:

  • Ensure the mushroom is clean by brushing off visible debris. 
  • Trim the stem ends and remove the gills on the underside of the mushrooms.
  • Wrap each of the clean Portobello mushrooms in cling wrap.
  • Place them in a heavy-duty, resealable plastic bag.
  • Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing.
  • Write the date before sticking it flat in the freezer.
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Freezing fresh chopped portobello mushrooms

It is also possible to chop up the mushrooms before they are frozen. If you prefer your portobellos chopped, here are the steps to do that:

  • Ensure the mushroom is clean by brushing off visible debris. 
  • Trim the stem ends and remove the gills on the underside of the mushrooms.
  • Once the Portobello mushrooms are clean, chop them into equal sizes.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay the chopped Portobello mushrooms evenly.
  • Make sure the pieces are not touching each other.
  • Stick the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze for an hour or two.
  • After an hour or two, place the chopped Portobello mushrooms in a heavy-duty, resealable plastic bag.
  • Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing.
  • Write the date before sticking it flat in the freezer.

Flash-freezing portobello mushrooms

Alternatively, if you would like to flash freeze your portobellos, here are the steps to do so:

  • Ensure the mushroom is clean by brushing off visible debris. 
  • Trim the stem ends and remove the gills on the underside of the mushrooms.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay the Portobello mushrooms evenly.
  • Make sure the mushrooms are not touching each other.
  • Stick the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze the mushrooms for an hour or two.
  • After an hour or two, place the Portobello mushrooms in a heavy-duty, resealable plastic bag.
  • Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing.
  • Write the date before sticking it flat in the freezer.

Freezing sautéd portobello mushrooms

The key to retaining the firmness of portobellos when frozen is to sauté the mushrooms first. Here are the steps to do so perfectly:

  • Ensure the mushroom is clean by brushing off visible debris. 
  • Trim the stem ends and remove the gills on the underside of the mushrooms.
  • Slice the mushrooms into equal sizes then sauté in butter over high heat in a skillet.
  • Do not cook the mushrooms fully. Leave the mushrooms half-cooked so they’ll cook fully once you’re using them for your recipe.
  • After sautéing the mushrooms, place them on a plate, remove the excess oil and pat the leftover oil dry with paper towels.
  • Leave the sautéed mushrooms to cool completely.
  • Place them in a heavy-duty, resealable plastic bag.
  • Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing.
  • Write the date before sticking it flat in the freezer.

Freezing steamed portobello mushrooms

While sautéing the portobellos will ensure that the firmness remains, preserving the flavor requires steaming. Here are steps on how to prep your mushrooms for freezing with steam:

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  • Ensure the mushroom is clean by brushing off visible debris. 
  • Trim the stem ends and remove the gills on the underside of the mushrooms.
  • Chop the mushrooms or leave them whole.
  • If you want to preserve the color of the mushrooms, soak them first in a lemon juice and water solution.
  • Place the mushrooms in a steamer basket or a double boiler and steam for several minutes.
  • For whole mushrooms, steam for five minutes. For chopped or sliced mushrooms, steam for three minutes.
  • Soak them in a pot of ice water. This will stop the cooking process.
  • After the ice bath, shake the excess water and pat the steamed mushroom dry with paper towels.
  • Place them in a heavy-duty, resealable plastic bag.
  • Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing.
  • Write the date before sticking it flat in the freezer.

Freezing blanched portobello mushrooms

A little butter in a skillet will improve firmness, while some steam will preserve the flavor. However, blanching will stretch out the shelf life of portobello mushrooms.

These steps will help you blanch or parboil your portobellos before you freeze them:

  • Ensure the mushroom is clean by brushing off visible debris. 
  • Trim the stem ends and remove the gills on the underside of the mushrooms.
  • Chop the mushrooms or leave them whole.
  • Place the clean mushrooms in a colander and boil a pot of water.
  • Submerge the colander into the boiling water and blanch for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Do not cook the mushrooms fully or they’ll turn soggy once defrosted!
  • After 1 to 2 minutes, give the mushrooms an ice bath. This will stop the cooking process.
  • After the ice bath, shake the excess water and pat the steamed mushroom dry with paper towels.
  • Place the mushrooms in a heavy-duty, resealable plastic bag.
  • Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing.
  • Write the date before sticking it flat in the freezer.

How to freeze stuffed portobello mushroom caps

It is possible to freeze the stuffed mushroom caps. You can store the cooked caps in an airtight container in the fridge, but not for longer than three days.

If you need them to stay longer than three days, here’s how to freeze them:

  • First, allow the cooked mushrooms to cool completely.
  • Once they’re cool, place the stuffed mushrooms in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  • Transfer them into your freezer.
  • Once the mushrooms have frozen, transfer them to airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags.
  • Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing.
  • Write the date before sticking it flat in the freezer.

How to thaw frozen portobello mushrooms

If you need to use your portobellos for a dish soon, but they’re frozen, it is easy to thaw them. There are two helpful ways to thaw your portobellos: using a refrigerator or leaving it out to thaw.

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To use a refrigerator, here are the simple steps:

  • Take out the mushrooms from the freezer.
  • Let them sit in the fridge overnight.
  • Remove the mushrooms from the fridge and cook like fresh mushrooms.

To leave it out to thaw, here are the simple steps:

  • Take out the mushrooms from the freezer.
  • Place them on a paper towel on a plate.
  • Let them sit for 1-2 hours to ensure that the mushrooms are defrosted.
  • The excessive moisture is absorbed by the towel.
  • Now you can cook them just like fresh mushrooms.

How to store portobello mushrooms

If you don’t want to freeze your portobellos, you can store them too. Whenever you purchase portobellos, they should be stored in the refrigerator immediately. This will ensure that their firmness remains intact.

There are several ways to store fresh mushrooms. These methods should keep the mushrooms fresh for about seven days:

  • in their original packaging
  • in paper bags
  • wrapped in paper towels
  • in a resealable plastic bag

How to choose good portobello mushrooms at the market

If you want to freeze your mushrooms, you need to ensure they’re up to standard first. Here are a few tips you should look out for when choosing portobello mushrooms at the market.

Choose portobellos outside the packaging: It is easier to inspect mushrooms outside their packages. If you buy packaged portobellos, there’s no way to inspect what you’re paying for.

Choose portobello mushrooms that have whole, intact caps that feel very firm. The caps should have a smooth appearance, with minimal discoloration or dry patches.

When you pick up a portobello mushroom, it should look plump and feel firm. Avoid any mushrooms that feel moist or slimy.

Keep an eye out for dry, clean gills. Flip the portobello over and look at the gills (the light, feathery “ribs” under the cap).

How long can portobello mushrooms last in the fridge?

In most stores, fresh mushrooms are sold in the refrigerated section, which is what you should do to your portobellos as well.

Fresh mushrooms often last between four to seven days or even ten days in the fridge. Once they’re nearing the seventh day, it’s best to cook them, as this would give you another three to five days.

In conclusion

Portobello mushrooms are tasty and have great texture, but it will all be for nothing if they’re not frozen properly. You can decide to freeze the mushrooms raw or cook them a little first.

Thawing the portobello mushrooms is easy to do, as you just need to move them from the freezer to the fridge. It is also possible to thaw them by leaving them at room temperature.