Mushrooms are often grown and sold as though grown 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.
Whenever possible, buy clean fresh mushrooms and use them quickly or use our mushroom storage guide below to help them last longer.
How Long Do Mushrooms Last In The Refrigerator?
Oddly enough, the greatest threat to mushroom in the refrigerator is moisture.
While mushrooms need a consistent source of moisture to thrive in the wild, refrigerated mushrooms will grow an appalling crop of slime if left in a moist environment.
Once mushrooms are slimy, they should be discarded.
The paper bag storage method is a simple way to protect your mushrooms from sliming.
Experts with Better Homes and Gardens suggest a quick wipe down with a damp paper towel to clean away any dirt on your capped mushrooms. Transfer them to a paper bag and refrigerate.
Perforated plastic wrap will work on grocery store mushrooms, or you can poke a few holes in the store container and consider it perforated.
When working out how to keep mushrooms fresh, airflow is the key.
You'll have about a week before you're facing slimy mushrooms, so plan your next favorite mushroom dish and have fun preparing it!
If you've been gifted with fresh morels, a quick rinse with lightly salted water should clear away the dirt and any bugs. Trim away the bottom of the stem and pat them dry, then use them as you would mushrooms in your favorite recipes and cold side dishes.
Portobello mushroom gills located under the cap may need a rinse if you notice sand inside the gills.
Be sure to wrap your portobellas in paper towels and store in the refrigerator so they can dry completely.
Waterlogged mushrooms will not darken and develop the rich, earthy flavor while cooking if they've soaked up a lot of water.
SEE ALSO: How To Wash Mushrooms
How Long Do Mushrooms Last In The Freezer?
Many mushrooms, such as shiitakes, won't survive the freezing process and will turn into sludgy lumps upon thawing.
However, if you saute your mushrooms before freezing them, they can easily be added into soups and sauces for lush flavor.
Experts with Healthy Eating recommend cleaning your shiitakes with a damp cloth and drying them on paper towels. Once dry, you can remove the stems and saute the mushrooms in butter or oil with the spice of your choice in your best nonstick cookware.
Shiitakes don't turn the deep brown of portobellos, they turn a beautiful gold.
- Use the spice combinations that suit your future cooking plans most effectively.
- Saute your mushrooms until they're an even gold and all the fluid is evaporated from the pan.
- Once the mushrooms cool, freeze them in an airtight container.
How To Store Different Types Of Mushrooms
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.
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.
Do mushrooms go bad enough to make you sick? Yes they can. Once they're slimy, they're covered in bacterial waste and need to be discarded.
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 awhile, 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 mushooms.
Sliced button mushrooms are a great addition to soups and stews, and can be sauteed 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 can also be stored in a breathable paper bag in the refrigerator.
Wipe the caps gently with a damp paper towel and transfer them to a bag.
Before using your shiitake mushrooms, you're going to have to remove the woody stems. Consider doing this during the cleaning process so the tender caps don't get damaged by adjacent stems.
How long do mushrooms last in fridge? In a breathable container, you've got about a week.
However, 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 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.
Portobello gills can house bacteria, moisture, and dirt.
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.
- Then take a spoon and scoop out the gill material until you reach the flesh of the cap.
- Now you can safely enjoy this earthy, rich mushroom.
How to Store Oyster Mushrooms
Oyster mushrooms can grow to be quite large and need to be protected from bruising as well as moisture.
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 per experts with Mushroom Appreciation. Go gently with your seasonings and just enjoy the unique aroma and flavor of this versatile fungus.
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 rehydrated in milk, cream, stock or water. Whatever liquid you use, hang onto it! This liquid can be a great base for soup or gravy.
How long do dried mushrooms last? Authorities with Forest Mushrooms recommend storing them for no more than a year.
How To Dry Mushrooms
Food storage experts with PermaCulture remind mushroom fans that oyster mushrooms are mostly water, so they'll be greatly reduced just by air drying. However, particularly meaty mushrooms will need a boost from a 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.
Pros and Cons Of Storing Mushrooms
As previously stated, grocery store mushrooms offer a little grace 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.
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.
Grocery Store 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.
Fresh mushrooms from the grocery store are a great addition to cold salads and hot pasta dishes. They can be stuffed, roasted, sauteed 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.
Did you enjoy this guide? Let us know in the comments with your favorite types of mushrooms and mushroom recipes.
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