Mushrooms lose their viability after being picked, no matter what kind they are. Since they contain a lot of water, they tend to get slimy and go bad quickly. If you store your mushrooms the right way, you can make sure they stay fresh and use them for a more extended period.
Check out how long mushrooms last, the signs you should look for to tell if they have gone bad, and tips on how to store them properly. This content is applicable and effective for magic mushrooms too!
What Are Mushrooms?
Mushrooms belong to the fungi kingdom, which is different from plants and animals. They regenerate through a process called germination, much like how plants make new seeds. Moreover, they do not need food or light to grow as plants and animals do. Instead, they eat the nutrients that they make themselves.
One of the most versatile ingredients, mushrooms have a high water content, a sponge-like texture, and a mild taste. Since mushrooms have a lot of water, putting them in the fridge for more than a few days can make them sticky or even cause dark spots and mold to grow. There are different ways to store mushrooms in the fridge, which will help you get the most out of them.
How Long Do Mushrooms Last?
Fresh mushrooms can quickly lose their quality if you do not keep them clean and dry. Generally, frozen and store-cooked mushrooms typically last longer than fresh whole mushrooms. However, every kind of mushroom, such as shiitake mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, and even magic mushrooms, still has its own shelf life.
Some mushrooms are known to last longer than others, but some may go bad faster. Their shelf life may depend on how they were prepared and the temperature and humidity of their environment. Below you can see how different mushroom preparation methods affect their shelf life.
- Whole mushrooms: Whole mushrooms last up to two weeks in the fridge. If these are store-bought mushrooms, you should consume them within seven to ten days after the purchase date.
- Sliced mushrooms: Sliced mushrooms that are often bought from the grocery store can last up to a week, but some batches can go bad in as little as five days.
- Cooked mushrooms: Cooked or sautéed mushrooms last longer than fresh ones. They can last anywhere from seven to ten days in the refrigerator if properly stored. However, it is important to remember that cooking mushrooms with other ingredients that go bad quickly may cut their shelf life short.
- Marinated mushrooms: Mushrooms that have been marinated have been dipped in olive oil (often with lemon juice and other spices) and then put in airtight containers, covered, and stored properly in the fridge. Most marinated mushrooms can be kept in the fridge for 10 to 14 days.
- Dried mushrooms: Dried mushrooms can last up to three years if stored properly. They can be stored at room temperature on the counter or in the pantry, which saves more energy than putting them in the fridge.
- Frozen mushrooms: Even though raw mushrooms can be frozen, when they are thawed, many lose their shape and become mushy. Before you freeze fresh mushrooms, you can help keep their texture and flavour by cooking, blanching, sautéing, poaching, or steaming them. After that, put each on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and put it in the freezer for a few hours, or until it is completely solid. Before putting the mushrooms in the freezer, seal them in an airtight, vacuum-sealed plastic bag. This will keep them from getting the freezer burned.
How to Keep Mushrooms Fresh
Fresh mushrooms last for a short time since they have high moisture levels, which may lead to molds, dark spots, and wilting. How you store your fungi will also significantly affect how long mushrooms can last.
The best way to store mushrooms will differ depending on how you prepare them. Even before you start to cook them, you should look for signs that they are going bad, like wrinkles, slime, black spots, or a bad smell. Mushrooms that have grown mold should be thrown away.
You can store mushrooms in the packaging they came in. Nevertheless, putting them in a different container, like freezer-safe containers, could make their shelf life much longer. Here is a summary of how to store mushrooms so they do not go bad quickly.
- Do not wash your mushrooms before storing them in the fridge. If you wash or soak your mushrooms before storing them, they might soak up too much water, reducing their shelf life. Use a damp paper towel to remove any dirt or grime on the mushrooms.
- Prepare your mushrooms. It is vital to decide if you will store your mushrooms whole or in slices, affecting how long they will stay good to eat. If you want to freeze mushrooms, you can blanch them or sauté them first, or you can do both.
- Choose the container you will be using. Choose the best container to store your mushrooms in. Fresh mushrooms should be kept in a container that has paper towels in it to soak up any extra moisture. If you wrap your raw mushrooms in a paper towel and then put them in an open plastic bag, they will stay fresh longer. When mushrooms are cooked, they should be stored in an airtight container, just like any other cooked food. If you do not plan to use or cook mushrooms immediately, you should change the paper towels often.
- Give the mushrooms some breathing room. Keep mushrooms in a place that is airy but not too dry. Putting them in a paper bag with the top partially rolled up and storing them in the fridge is a common way to store them.
- Keep the store-bought mushrooms unopened in their original packaging. One of the best ways to store things is to keep them in their bags or containers. If they come in a cardboard box wrapped in plastic, you do not have to put them in a different container. You can use the box they came in. Make sure you do not break them open until you are ready to use them.
- Freeze the mushrooms. You can put mushrooms in the freezer so you can use them later. However, mushrooms retain a lot of water, so it is much harder to freeze them when they are raw. If you do this, make sure to freeze them on parchment paper first, and then move them right away to an airtight bag. You can also cook them first before storing them in freezer bags.
How to Tell if the Mushrooms Have Gone Bad
Here are some clear signs that your mushrooms need to be thrown out and replaced with new ones:
They Are Slimy
The most important rule of thumb to remember when figuring out if the mushroom is no longer fresh is if it feels slimy. If you keep the mushrooms in the fridge or at room temperature for longer than the recommended two weeks, they will get a slimy film. Even though the mushrooms might not be definitively dangerous right now, it will be best to throw them out.
They Have Wrinkles
Sometimes, older mushrooms do not get slimy. Instead, they dry out and get wrinkles. Even though mushrooms are already pretty moist, it is fine to let them dry out a little bit, but you do not want them to wrinkle too much.
When mushrooms are getting close to the end of their shelf life, some water in them may evaporate, causing wrinkles. Mushrooms left at room temperature for a long time and allowed to dry out on their own often act this way. If they look like they have shrunk a lot, it is best not to eat them at all.
They Have Developed Dark Spots on Them
If the mushrooms are developing dark spots, this is a sign that they are starting to go bad. Mushrooms that have been in the fridge for too long will have bruises on the cap. It is better to eat them while they are still good than to risk getting sick from food that might have gone bad.
They Have Been in the Fridge for More Than Two Weeks
When it comes to mushrooms’ shelf life and how long they can be kept, most people agree that about two weeks in the fridge is the longest they can be kept. Of course, you should use your best judgment. If you bought them over two weeks ago and they still look, smell, and feel fine, you can probably still eat them safely.
Most of the time, all you need to do to tell if mushrooms have gone bad is take a quick look at them, touch them, or give them a sniff. Another important test is to find out how long they have been in the fridge. A good rule of thumb for mushrooms is to throw away any that have been in the fridge for more than two weeks, especially if there are other signs that they have gone bad.
They Have an Odor
Your mushrooms should not smell too strong in any way. If you can smell them, they probably have gone bad already. You might be able to smell something like mushrooms if you get close enough, but the smell should be very mild and not too strong.
When a mushroom has gone bad, it will have a strong, unpleasant smell of fish. Most of the time, this is followed by a slimy film and spots on the surface of the fungi. The strong smell alone will be enough to convince you that your mushrooms should be thrown away.
They Have Moulds
Check the mushrooms carefully for any signs of mould, especially on the bottoms. Mushrooms have a lot of water, making them a good place for mould to grow if stored incorrectly. You should throw away the whole bag if several mushrooms have mold.
Risks of Eating Mushrooms That Have Gone Bad
Fresh mushrooms bought in a store typically do not have a date by which they must be eaten. However, if the mushrooms are showing signs of deterioration, it is likely that they are no longer safe to eat. The results of eating spoiled mushrooms can be the same as with eating any other mouldy or otherwise spoiled food.
Mushroom poisoning is rare, but eating food that has gone bad can increase your chances of getting an upset stomach and diarrhea. Even if the risks are not as high, it is best not to eat spoiled mushrooms or ones that have been around for more than two weeks unless they have been dried or frozen first. Even though the risks are not as big, this is still true.
In a nutshell, mushrooms do not last as long as other foods, so you should eat them as soon as possible after you buy them. To be safe, throw away any mushrooms that have been in the fridge for too long or show signs of going bad.
Fresh mushrooms need to be kept in the fridge. If you leave them at room temperature for more than a day, they will not be safe to eat. Putting fresh mushrooms in the fridge the right way should last about a week before they start to go bad. They will keep their quality and freshness for a longer time if they are stored in a paper bag or a plastic container with holes punched in it to keep out too much humidity.
If you cook your mushrooms, they will last another three to four days longer in the fridge. If you do not think you will be able to use all of your mushrooms within the next week, you can pickle, freeze, or dry them to make them last longer.
If you want to know if a mushroom has gone bad, check if they develop dark spots, wrinkles, and an unpleasant smell. If you have any reason to think that the mushrooms you have are not fresh enough to eat, you should throw them away rather than risk getting sick.