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Are you wondering how to preserve your foraged chicken of the woods mushrooms? Is freezing an option or should it be avoided?
How to Freeze Chicken of the Woods
Freezing chicken of the woods is very simple. Despite the fact that it’s not meat, it freezes in much the same way thanks to its meaty texture:
- Wilt in Butter: Wilting the mushrooms allows the texture to be maintained when frozen. Essentially, you remove some portion of the moisture, allowing the slightly cooked flesh to freeze more evenly.
- Portion Out: Portion out the chicken of the woods into vacuum-sealable bags, ensuring not to freeze more than you would want to thaw and eat in one sitting.
- Vacuum Seal: Vacuum seal the chicken of the woods mushrooms in a bag to be sure that they retain as much flavour as possible. If you can’t vacuum seal then squeeze out as much air as possible.
- Freeze: Freeze the mushrooms in the centre of your freezer, ensuring they are as far as possible from any solid ice that might be present along the walls and floors of your freezer.
3 Tips for Freezing Chicken of the Woods
Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing chicken of the woods to have the best results:
Remember They ABSORB FlavourChicken of the woods will absorb flavor in the freezer if it’s allowed to be a little more open. This is because mushrooms are naturally quite spongy. Avoid this from having an impact by ensuring they’re as sealed as they can be. You can also use this to your advantage by freezing them with thyme, sage and garlic.
Go as Airtight as PossibleOf course, not everyone has a vacuum sealing machine. If you don’t have one, then we recommend you use the most airtight method at your disposal – a freezer bag can work well, as long as you press as much air out of it as possible.
Butter is BestButter isn’t essential for wilting the mushrooms, but we’d personally recommend it. Butter has a high water content. This means that it will tend to freeze before the mushrooms would, and will remain spread throughout the mushrooms themselves.
How Long Can You Freeze Chicken of the Woods?
You can freeze chicken of the woods for around 6 months before you notice any level of degradation.
Any degradation that you see will likely tend to be more on the scale of textural change than anything else – it may become soft and rubbery.
How Do You Defrost Chicken of the Woods?
The simplest way to defrost chicken of the woods is to place the sealed bag in the centre of your fridge overnight.
That will allow any level of ice to melt, while also ensuring it’s stored at a safe temperature thereafter.
Can You Refreeze Chicken of the Woods?
Yes, you can refreeze chicken of the woods.
The only items you cannot refreeze are fish, meat, and raw dairy – these can all grow bacteria, while thawed, and then spread that bacteria to other items in your freezer.
It is totally safe to thaw and refreeze chicken of the woods, though repeated freezing might result in slow textural degradation.
Does Chicken of the Woods Freeze Well?
Yes, chicken of the woods does freeze well.
It’s got quite a unique cellular structure, meaning that the mushrooms tend not to get freezer burned, leading to a well-preserved mushroom when it’s thawed out.
If you’ve still got questions about freezing chicken of the woods or foraged mushrooms in general, then these may help: