Mushrooms are often grown and sold as though propagated from seed or on a plant, but these dark and delicious morsels are actually a fungus. Mushrooms thrive in moist, dark conditions that are also a great spot for bacteria to develop.
Whenever possible, buy clean fresh mushrooms and use them quickly or use our mushroom storage guide below to help them last longer.
Overall, the best way to store mushrooms is for as limited a time as possible in a breathable container. However, there are many different edible mushrooms available and each comes with specific spoilage risks.
SEE ALSO: Do Mushrooms Go Bad?
When shopping for mushrooms, it’s critical to review the condition of the mushrooms as best you can in the package. Bruised mushrooms are well on their way to becoming slimy.
How To Store Sliced Mushrooms
Sealed packages of sliced mushrooms have two risks to flavor and quality:
- The exposed cut areas will lead to water loss and shrinking
- The cut areas that are touching are prone to moisture build-up and slime.
If you’ve got sliced mushrooms, use them up. If it’s going to be a while, get them out of the sealed package and into a small paper bag. Be prepared for further shrinking during refrigerator storage.
SEE ALSO: Best Knife Brands for slicing mushrooms.
Sliced button mushrooms are a great addition to soups and stews, and can be sautéed into a delicious sauce to place over a meat course.
The more liquid that they lose, the more oil or butter they can absorb. However, they will lose their earthy mushroom flavor as they dry, so eat them up!
How To Store Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms should be stored in a breathable paper bag in the refrigerator.
- Wipe the caps gently with a damp paper towel.
- Before using your shiitake mushrooms, you’re going to have to remove the woody stems. It’s best to do this during the cleaning process so the tender caps don’t get damaged by adjacent stems.
- Transfer whole mushrooms to a paper bag and store in the refrigerator.
Shiitakes have a rich, hearty flavor. Don’t store for more than a few days before putting these amazing mushrooms to good use.
How To Store Portobello Mushrooms
Portobello gills can house bacteria, moisture, and dirt.
Portobello mushrooms are dark and earthy in color and in flavor. The underside of a portabella has tiny ribs or gills, and some find these gills distasteful.
If you like the gills and plan to use the mushrooms right away, the gills can be rinsed and the mushroom dried, gill side down, on a paper towel.
To store your Portobello mushrooms:
- Wipe down the cap to get any residual dirt off and then flip the mushroom.
- Pinch and pull the stem.
- Take a spoon and scoop out the gill material until you reach the flesh of the cap.
- Store in a paper bag in the fridge.
Now you can safely enjoy this earthy, rich mushroom.
How To Store Oyster Mushrooms
Again, a quick paper towel wipe down should be all that’s needed.
Place the mushroom in a paper bag and consider settling the bag in a clamshell container with air holes poked into it to keep the oyster mushroom from getting bumped around.
Be prepared for a new aroma; some oyster mushrooms produce an anise-like odor. Go gently with your seasonings and just enjoy the unique aroma and flavor of this versatile fungus.
Oyster mushrooms can grow to be quite large and need to be protected from bruising as well as moisture.
How To Store Morel Mushrooms
Morel mushrooms are rather unappealing to look at, but delicious to eat!
These smaller mushrooms can grow from one to four inches, depending on what point they’re picked during the season.
Because Morels have many natural crevices and holes throughout the flesh, they can easily harbor bacteria. Before consuming morels, we recommend immersing them in a dish full of salty water and swishing them around. This removes any bugs or dirt that are hiding in those nooks and crannies.
Avoid washing Morels until right before you use them, as excess water during storage will speed up deterioration.
Refrigerate Morel’s loose in a paper bag and eat within four days.
How To Store Dried Mushrooms
Once you’ve gotten as much water out of your mushrooms as possible, store them in tightly sealed jars and keep them in the dark so they stay as cool as possible.
Storing mushrooms away from the risks of air and water contamination will result in a dried mushroom you can use safely in the future.
Dehydrated mushrooms can be re-hydrated in milk, cream, stock or water. Whatever liquid you use, hang onto it! This liquid can be a great base for soup or gravy. We recommend storing them for no more than a year.
Oyster mushrooms are mostly water, so they’ll be greatly reduced just by air drying. However, particularly meaty mushrooms will need a boost from your best food dehydrator.
Whatever you do, make sure you don’t store your mushrooms until they’re completely dry and leathery.
Can mushrooms go bad even if they’re dried? Absolutely! Any moisture that remains in the meat of the mushroom will be a haven for bacteria and mold.
SEE ALSO: Is Food Dehydration Safe?
Pros And Cons Of Storing Mushrooms
- Mushrooms are very likely safe to eat fresh or cooked
- Mushrooms in the package are probably about the same age, have the same amount of water and will cook at the same rate.
- Button mushrooms have a mild flavor and take on new flavors easily when cooked in butter or oil.
- Flavor is quite uniform; may start to feel rather bland.
- If one mushroom goes bad, the rest are likely to fall in quick succession.
- The stems can dry quickly and become woody.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to read expiration dates on some packages because they simply aren’t there and a variety of conditions can affect a mushroom’s shelf life.
Grocery Store vs. Wild Picked Mushrooms
Unless the person who delivered your wild mushrooms is a known expert, DO NOT handle or cook with wild picked mushrooms.
While fresh morels are a delicious wild-picked option, there are several mushrooms that look like morels but may be hallucinogenic, poisonous or both.
Fresh mushrooms from the grocery store are a great addition to cold salads and hot pasta dishes. They can be stuffed, roasted, sautéed or dried. Keep them from getting too damp while waiting to cook them.
While the promise of unique wild mushroom flavor can be exciting, take care to never eat wild mushrooms unless selected by a well-trained mycologist, or mushroom expert.
Grocery Store Mushrooms
Grocery store mushrooms offer a little grace period to the home cook.
If the cap mushrooms you brought home were whole and unbruised, you should get up to seven days of healthy, dry-to-the-touch mushrooms for your favorite dishes before the mushrooms go slimy.
However, it’s important to remember that mushrooms are grown in a rather rough neighborhood. There are plenty of contaminants that may have come in contact with your mushrooms before you even open the package.
If you have the cooking time, put your fresh mushrooms to good use within a couple of days – your palate will thank you.
Whether you’re carefully selecting your own wild mushrooms, or picking up a package from the grocery store, you’ll be able to keep them fresher for longer by following our storage guidelines.
Keep them away from moisture and ensure they have adequate airflow, and you should be able to enjoy them for a week or more – just don’t forget to wash them thoroughly right before you are ready to use them.