So today I took an inventory of our freezer to see which types of mushrooms survived deep freeze better than others. I was quite disappointed to see that the only species that really “made it” throughout the winter was Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sp.). In fact, 90% showed no signs of degradation at all, however I did note a trend that the fresher it was frozen the better it held up. This is very promising as Chickens don’t dehydrate well *at all* (they become papery and gritty when they’re rehydrated, no matter for how long). Chicken “ends,” i.e. the bits that are corky to begin with and are destined for making into broth, work well when they’re dehydrated and then boiled in water to make soup, however they need to be scooped out after they’ve imparted their flavor to the broth as they are simply inedible.
All of our Oysters (Pleurotus sp.), Honey Mushrooms (Armillaria sp., including E./A. abortivum), Meadow Mushrooms (Agaricus campestris), and Puffballs (Calvatia sp., Vacellum sp. etc) didn’t make it through the winter months without serious freezer burn or going stale, no matter how well-packed they were.
All of our Hen of the Woods (Maitake / Grifola frondosa) that was in the freezer didn’t do so well either, but the dried Hens are still great, sealed in airtight mason jars.
This upcoming year I’ll be experimenting with more dehydration.