If you are exploring a wider variety of plant-based diets, you should include mushrooms into your grocery list. These edible fungi are not only nutritious and tasty but also a versatile food ingredient.
Mushrooms enhance and complement many dishes, you name it – from making risotto, stir-fries, omelets, on steak, and even for a veggie burger! Mushrooms are also commonly used as a meat substitute, making them a staple for many vegetarians and vegans.
Whether you bought mushrooms in bulk from last weekend’s sale or you have leftovers from last night’s dinner, at some point you might ask yourself: Do mushrooms go bad? How long are mushrooms good in the refrigerator?
If you have similar questions, we got you covered! In this article, you will find answers to the most commonly questioned topics on mushrooms’ shelf life, storage methods, and most importantly how to tell if mushrooms have gone bad. Read on!
How To Store Mushroom
There is a wide variety of mushrooms, from the most popular button mushroom, cremini, baby bella, portobello, shiitake, shimeji, and the list go on.
Mushrooms are delicate ingredients and can be tricky to handle if you don’t know the tricks. Some varieties can be quite pricey, so it would be a pity to let them go to waste. Hence, proper storage is important to keep them fresh longer and safe to eat.
Mushrooms are available in different forms: fresh, pre-sliced, dried, canned.
First thing first, fresh mushrooms belong in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, dried and canned mushrooms can be kept in the pantry or cabinet. Make sure the spot is cool, dry, and away from heat and sunlight. Store dried mushrooms in a glass jar or a sealed container.
The key to storing fresh mushrooms is to allow some air circulation. Don’t keep mushrooms in a sealed container, otherwise, the moisture will speed up the degradation process.
Fresh mushrooms are typically packed in a cardboard or plastic container covered with ventilated plastic. You can simply store them in the original package if you plan to use them immediately.
Alternatively, transfer them into a paper bag and roll the top loosely. Clean and wipe any excess moisture, and toss any slimy or bad mushrooms. The small pores from the bag allow air circulation to prevent mushrooms from drying out.
Another option is to store fresh mushrooms in a container, cover it with plastic wrap, and poke some holes for airflow.
Can you freeze mushrooms?
Yes, freezing mushrooms can significantly improve shelf life. Raw mushrooms do not freeze well. Mushrooms should be cooked before freezing.
First, wash them thoroughly to remove dirt and soil. Whether to slice or not, both options are fine.
Next, sauté or steam for a few minutes to wilt them. Allow cooked mushrooms to dry, and quickly transfer them into a freezer bag or container. Consider dividing mushrooms per serving size.
To thaw frozen mushrooms, simply move them into the refrigerator and leave overnight. In some cases, thawing may be unnecessary, for example, if you will use them for soup.
How Long Do Mushrooms Last?
Mushrooms are perishable foods. They will go bad at humid conditions and hot temperatures. Naturally, mushrooms don’t last very long, unless frozen or dried.
Some fresh mushrooms are packed with “sell-by” or “best-by” dates on the package. However, if you buy in bulk or at a farmer market, you won’t find this date. Thus, your date of purchase is useful to keep track of your supply.
For fresh mushrooms, the quality determines how long they will last in your refrigerator. Buy good quality mushrooms that are plump, no slime, or discoloration, with caps still intact. Next to that, if mushrooms have been in the store for a while, they will last shorter in your refrigerator.
With proper storage in the refrigerator, fresh mushrooms will maintain its peak quality up to a week in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, frozen mushrooms can last up to a year.
Pre-sliced mushrooms deteriorate more quickly than the whole ones, so it’s better to use it within 3 to 5 days. Cut or buy pre-sliced mushrooms shortly before use since they tend to get brown quickly, just like potatoes.
Cooked mushrooms should be consumed within 3 to 4 days. This is the general consensus for a cooked meal. Take a look into other ingredients that go bad the quickest to know if the dish is still good or not.
When it comes to canned mushrooms, observe the “best-before” date printed on the label. Of course, they won’t go bad or rotten instantly a day after the date. Canned mushrooms may stay good for a few weeks to months beyond the date. But, inspect the package and other signs of spoilage before using them.
How To Tell If Mushrooms Have Gone Bad
There are some tell-tale signs of spoiled mushrooms. Use your common sense to pass your judgment.
First, check the appearance. Observe for any visible molds, slime, brown spots or wrinkles. These are clear indications that mushrooms have gone off and are unsafe to eat.
When stored too long in the fridge or exposed to moisture, mushrooms tend to get slimy. After a while, mushrooms can also dry out and start to shrivel. At this point, mushrooms have lost the nutrients and are not suitable for consumption.
Second, give mushrooms a whiff. If mushrooms develop an unpleasant smell, that’s another indication that you should get rid of them.
Mushrooms are easy to get bruised. If mushrooms are partly bruised and slightly discolored, as long as no other signs of spoilage are seen, feel free to remove the affected part and use the rest. However, if mushrooms are full of dark spots, there’s no better option than discarding them.
For canned mushrooms, the first thing to check is the packaging. Don’t use it if the package is damaged in any way – leaked, dented, bulged, rusted, or spurting liquid after opening. Next, the above-mentioned guidelines are applicable to check if canned mushrooms are good or not.
Moldy mushrooms are spoiled and unfit for eating. These are not worth being on your plate since they have lost the nutrients and will also potentially give you food poisoning.
Although not all molds are dangerous, we never know. So, it’s better to stay on the safe side.
Yes. Contrary to popular belief, it is perfectly fine to wash mushrooms to remove soil and other debris, especially when they are particularly dirty.
Rinse mushrooms with running water and dry them with a paper towel. Do it when you need to use them. No need to wash if you’re going to store them in the fridge for later use.
Mushrooms are widely available at reliable sources such as your local supermarkets, groceries store, or farmer market. If you decide to go for mushrooms hunting, you should do it with someone with experience or expertise in this field.
When you go out foraging in the forest, you’ll likely find both edible and non-edible mushrooms. Non-edible mushrooms contain natural toxins that can be poisonous and deadly.
Distinguishing edible mushrooms from poisonous ones is not an easy task for amateur eyes, so you might want to stay away from these ones.
Mushrooms are not only tasty but also nutritious. Unfortunately, fresh mushrooms are perishable and won’t last very long in the refrigerator.
If you don’t plan to use fresh mushrooms within a week, consider freezing them for up to a year. Alternatively, you can also opt for dried or canned mushrooms for longer shelf life. After all, good hygiene and storage conditions are the most important in keeping your food supply fresh and safe to consume.
*Photo by AndreySt/depositphotos