Mushrooms in a jar filled with oil

The Best Ways to Preserve Your Mushrooms!

Hello fellow fungi enthusiasts! I've spent countless hours in both the lab and the great outdoors studying our fungal friends, and I’ve learned a thing or two about how best to keep them fresh and tasty long after they've been plucked from the earth. Whether you're a seasoned forager or a culinary experimenter, this guide will walk you through the best practices for mushroom preservation that are both scientifically sound and kitchen-tested.

Understanding Mushroom Types

First things first, not all mushrooms are created equal—especially when it comes to preservation. Common edible mushrooms like morels, chanterelles, and porcini each have unique characteristics that influence how you should treat them. For instance, morels are great for drying due to their spongy structure, which allows them to rehydrate beautifully, while the fleshy nature of porcini makes them ideal candidates for freezing. Understanding these traits will help you choose the most effective preservation method and ensure the best possible outcome.

Pre-Preservation Steps

Before you even think about preservation, proper cleaning and preparation of your mushrooms are crucial. It's tempting to rinse them under a faucet, but water can make them soggy and prone to spoilage. Instead, use a soft brush to get rid of any dirt or debris. When it comes to sorting, I always recommend separating them by size and type—this uniformity is key when drying or freezing. For large specimens, slicing them into even pieces ensures that they dry or freeze uniformly, which is vital for maintaining texture and flavor.

Preservation Methods

Now, onto the main event: preservation! Here are some of the most effective methods:


mushrooms in a dehydrator

This is my go-to method because it really concentrates the flavors. You can air dry mushrooms by stringing them up in a dry, well-ventilated area, but this can take several days. Oven drying at a low temperature (around 150°F) is quicker, and using a dehydrator is even more efficient. Whichever method you choose, ensure that your mushrooms are completely moisture-free before storing them in an airtight container. They can last for months, even years, if dried properly! If you would like step by step instructions check out our blog "Dry Mushrooms Like a Pro with These Simple Steps!"


mushrooms in a ziplock bag in the freezer

If you prefer the fresh taste, freezing is your best bet. Blanching mushrooms before freezing can kill bacteria and enzymes that cause spoilage, though some purists prefer to freeze them raw to better preserve their natural flavor. Vacuum sealing helps prevent freezer burn, and flash freezing individual pieces on a baking sheet before bagging them keeps them from turning into a clumpy mess. If you would like step by step instructions check out our blog "Freeze Mushrooms the Right Way for Longevity!"


pickled mushrooms

For something a bit tangy, pickling mushrooms is a delightful option. A simple brine of vinegar, water, and salt, along with spices like garlic, dill, and pepper, can transform bland mushrooms into a zesty treat. Make sure to follow proper canning procedures to avoid any food safety issues. If you would like step by step instructions check out our blog "Pickling Mushrooms: A Delicious Way to Preserve Your Foraging Finds."


Dehydrated mushrooms

Less common but highly effective, especially for long-term storage, is salting. Layering mushrooms with dry salt or soaking them in a brine pulls out moisture and inhibits bacterial growth, effectively preserving them. If you would like step by step instructions check out our blog "Preserve and Enhance: Mastering the Art of Salting Mushrooms for Year-Round Flavor".

Storing in Oil

mushrooms in a jar filled with oil

Storing mushrooms in oil, or making a mushroom "confit," is a less common but incredibly tasty preservation method. It involves cooking the mushrooms slowly in a large amount of oil, which both cooks and preserves them. The oil should cover the mushrooms completely to create an anaerobic environment where bacteria cannot thrive. I recommend using a light olive oil or vegetable oil for the best results. If you would like step by step instructions check out our blog "How to Preserve Mushrooms in Oil: A Time-Tested Technique for Mushroom Enthusiasts".

Innovative Preservation Techniques

For those with access to more sophisticated equipment, cryogenic freezing and vacuum drying are cutting-edge methods that preserve the texture and nutritional value of mushrooms much better than traditional methods. Cryogenic freezing involves flash freezing with liquid nitrogen, while vacuum drying removes moisture under reduced pressure, which allows for drying at lower temperatures, thus better retaining flavor and texture.

Tips for Using Preserved Mushrooms

Rehydrating dried mushrooms is an art—soak them in warm water or broth for at least 30 minutes to bring them back to life. Cooking with frozen mushrooms? Throw them directly into the pan; there's no need to thaw first, which helps preserve their texture. Pickled mushrooms are fantastic in salads or as part of a charcuterie board, offering a zesty flavor that can enhance a variety of dishes.

Safety Considerations

A word of caution: always be absolutely sure of a mushroom’s identity before picking and eating them. Mushroom poisoning can be severe, so when in doubt, leave it out! Additionally, maintaining cleanliness during the preservation process cannot be overstated—always sterilize your jars and tools to prevent contamination.


Preserving mushrooms can be a delightful way to extend the life of these wonderful gifts from nature. Each method has its nuances, but with a bit of practice, you’ll find the one that best suits your culinary style and taste preferences. Don't be afraid to experiment, and most importantly, have fun with it!

Remember, there's no greater joy for a mycologist than sharing the love and knowledge of fungi. Happy foraging and preserving!

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