We recommend keeping your morels in the refrigerator in a not-too-tight container. Do not put your morels inside the bag, they can clump together.
Washing your morels in a large container a few times before putting them in the refrigerator helps to remove the dirt accumulated on them, but dry them beforehand.
To dry your morels, wrap them in a paper towel and remove the wetness on them without pressing too hard.
If you’re not going to cook the morels straight away, it’s not recommended to wash them as soon as you pick them because they spoil more quickly when wet. Some of the other ways to store your morel mushrooms are by drying them out completely or freezing them.
What Are The Best Long-Term Storage Techniques?
If you’re thinking of keeping your morels for a long time, you’ll need to employ a few storage techniques to keep the morels intact and tasty.
Fortunately, it is possible to store morels in a way that preserves their taste by applying the appropriate drying and freezing techniques. Here are some tried and tested techniques.
- Simple Dehydration
- Batter and Freeze
- Sauté and Freeze
What is Dehydration Technique?
One of the best ways to store morels is through dehydration. Dehydrating the morels to a completely dry consistency will allow you to achieve the desired result for long-term storage.
You have dried your morels sufficiently if they feel brittle to the touch and easy to snap, like a cracker. A straightforward dehydration machine will do this well.
If you do not have a dehydration machine, place the mushrooms in a tray dryer and set the temperature as low as possible, and operate for 8 hours. Small mushrooms dry in a short time and large mushrooms take longer.
Always try and dry the same size mushrooms together, so you don’t over-dry some and under-dry others. This may require you to dry them in batches, or cut them if you have oddly sized morels.
After your morels are completely dry, you should store them in a closed container. Never put dried mushrooms in the refrigerator.
Drying morels removes all moisture and protects the mushroom from developing harmful bacteria. Before cooking, place the morels in water for 2-3 minutes to return the moisture.
What is Batter and Freeze Technique?
Freezing and storing morels is one of the best ways for preserving their freshness. But they require a little preparation beforehand, it is not as simple as placing them in the freezer raw.
- Cut the morels in half and then dust them with flour. the flour will soak up any moisture that is released once the morels are defrosted.
- Place the floured morels on the tray and freeze them. After the freezing process is finished, put them in a bag and store them in your freezer. They can be stored this way for up to 6 months.
The reason we recommend using a tray instead of freezing them together in a bag is to prevent the morels from sticking together during the freezing process.
Make sure to leave enough room on the tray for each morel, and that none of them are touching.
What is Sauté and Freeze Technique?
If you want your morels to retain the taste and freshness for longer, and also require little to no cooking when defrosted, the sauté and freeze method is for you! This method is a little different and interesting than other methods.
- Cut your morels in half and sauté them with butter, your cooking time should not exceed 5 minutes.
- Let your sautéed morels cool down and wait. After your morels have cooled, put them in bags and place them in the freezer.
The most important point to note here is that the morels you freeze will be stuck together in heaps. Our advice to you is to separate your morels into portions and bag them before proceeding to the freezing process.
What Are The Other Methods For Drying Morels?
If you don’t have a dryer, you can also dry your morels in the oven. All you have to do is place your morels on a tray and run your oven on the lowest setting.
Allow your morels to dry completely for 3-4 hours. Be mindful that ovens retain heat even when they are turned off. If your morels are exposed to heat for more than the required amount of time, they can burn.
Another alternative method for drying your morels is to dry them in the sun. The benefit of this method is that when morels are exposed to sunlight, the Vitamin D value in them increases significantly.
If you want your morels to be neatly shaped, thread them on a string and hang them outside on a sunny day. Your stringed mushrooms will keep their original shape.
How Do You Clean Your Morels Before Preserving Them?
Since your morels may have soil and insects on them, you need to clean them well before storing them.
While some people think it’s okay to just store morels instead of cleaning them, morels covered in dirt will be infested with pests if they aren’t cleaned thoroughly, and the pests will also be preserved!
To avoid this, here’s what to do when cleaning your morels.
- Cut the morels in half and wash them in a clean, soap-free waster with your fingers so that the water can get in well. Since morels are empty inside, this should be simple and easy to achieve.
- Fill a bowl with water and add 2 teaspoons of salt to it and soak your morels in saltwater. Take it out after 4-6 minutes. Do not leave them longer than this or else they can become waterlogged.
Using this method, dirt and small insects will be removed thanks to the salt. Finally, rinse your mushrooms in cold water using a colander to remove any excess saltwater, dry them, and store.
How Long Can You Preserve Morels Before Cooking?
Morels should be consumed within 3-4 after being collected. Otherwise, they will start to deteriorate.
You can store your morels in a large container in the refrigerator, with the lid not too tight, with moist paper towels on them.
Storing your morels in the fridge will help them last a few extra days, storing them in the freezer using the appropriate methods will extend their lifespan to 6 months, the same for dried morels.