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Old 08-17-2021, 11:21 AM   #1
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Mushroom Question

Though this is my first source for everything cooking, I do check some other cooking forums/blogs on and off.
This one place I was reading a post about mushrooms and one comment cut my attention. The person suggested to freeze mushrooms before adding them to soup. Supposedly freezing mushrooms before cooking intensifies the flavor.
I've never heard that. My father was an avid wild mushroom hunter/picker (what's the correct English word?). My parents would can, dry, pickle, make all kind of dishes with them. I have never seen them freezing mushrooms, if only for preservation. But never ever did they say that freezing helps with flavor.
Anybody have an opinion on that? Please share your experience.

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Old 08-17-2021, 11:41 AM   #2
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I have no direct experience, Charlie. I think what happens when you freeze whole mushrooms then thaw them is that they will release a lot of water. The freezing causes the cells that hold moisture in the mushrooms to rupture and release their water. With water released from the mushrooms, their flavor is concentrated.

In reality, I'm not sure that would make a difference because water in mushrooms is evaporated when you cook them and that also concentrates the flavor.
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Old 08-17-2021, 11:50 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieD View Post
Though this is my first source for everything cooking, I do check some other cooking forums/blogs on and off.
This one place I was reading a post about mushrooms and one comment cut my attention. The person suggested to freeze mushrooms before adding them to soup. Supposedly freezing mushrooms before cooking intensifies the flavor.
I've never heard that. My father was an avid wild mushroom hunter/picker (what's the correct English word?). My parents would can, dry, pickle, make all kind of dishes with them. I have never seen them freezing mushrooms, if only for preservation. But never ever did they say that freezing helps with flavor.
Anybody have an opinion on that? Please share your experience.
Charlie, freezing will burst the cell walls of the mushroom, as the water in the cell walls expand. When the mushrooms are the thawed, they will weep moisture, leaving them somewhat dryer. Water has no flavor, except for flavor compounds dissolved in it. If anything, that water loss, at least as it seems to me, will carry away some of the mushroom flavor, and adversely affect the texture.

Drying mushrooms will also remove water, but not the flavor. The flavor will be concentrated. frying does the same thing, removes water while concentrating the flavor. Frying also causes the Maillard reaction, which adds even more flavor.

That's my take on it.

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Old 08-17-2021, 11:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieD View Post
Though this is my first source for everything cooking, I do check some other cooking forums/blogs on and off.
This one place I was reading a post about mushrooms and one comment cut my attention. The person suggested to freeze mushrooms before adding them to soup. Supposedly freezing mushrooms before cooking intensifies the flavor.
I've never heard that. My father was an avid wild mushroom hunter/picker (what's the correct English word?). My parents would can, dry, pickle, make all kind of dishes with them. I have never seen them freezing mushrooms, if only for preservation. But never ever did they say that freezing helps with flavor.
Anybody have an opinion on that? Please share your experience.
I agree with Andy about the mushrooms. Regarding your father, I think the word you're looking for is forager
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Old 08-17-2021, 12:37 PM   #5
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Mushrooms are 92% water, so by freezing them, you´re simply getting an ice cube with 8% mushroom flavour! I don´t imagine freezing would intensify the flavour too much; if I want to intensify them, I fry them gently in butter, with no salt, until they lose their liquid and begin to brown.
Still, since I´d never heard of freezing mushrooms, I went to an expert, Amy Farges, who said yes, most varieties can be frozen.However, rather than thawing them or putting them in soup, she suggested roasting them for 45 mins to an hour.
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Old 08-17-2021, 03:03 PM   #6
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Thank you everybody. That is pretty much what I thought myself.
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Old 08-17-2021, 07:54 PM   #7
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Interesting question, CharlieD. I also haven't heard of freezing fresh, uncooked mushrooms, but often cook them, when I get deals on them in soup season, and freeze in various amounts, or quartered, sliced, or chopped. And I use a method I learned from ATK, that steams the mushrooms briefly, then boils the water off - the mushrooms will release even more - then only a couple tsp of oil is needed to sauté them, as they don't absorb the oil, as when fresh.

Mycology is a fascinating field, and it's amazing how much of the fungi is actually underground, never to be seen (like truffles). The mushrooms we see are just brief, above ground parts, activated usually by a lot of rain, flooding, or temperatures, like spring types. As much as I'd like to, I'm not going to take my chances with wild mushrooms!
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Old 08-17-2021, 08:46 PM   #8
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My first thought on the question was that perhaps, because the mushroom was frozen then thrown into a hot liquid, the quick initial release of aroma and taste made it seem more intense because it was a "burst of flavour", so to speak.
IMHO
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