Imagine you have come across this really amazing stir-fry recipe on the internet. You go out to the store you purchase a pack or two of mushrooms to add to your stir-fry.
You get home and end up only adding a handful to the dish you are preparing, and you are finally you are left asking yourself do mushrooms go bad? How am I supposed to store the leftover mushrooms I have? How do I tell when they are spoiled? Do not fret, we will endeavor to answer all these questions in this article.
Since there exists a variety of mushrooms, the length or duration of freshness tends to vary from time to time. The most commonly consumed mushrooms throughout the world are cremini, portobello, and white button mushrooms. Although they look different, they are the same (this is due to the age of the mushroom).
White button mushrooms are the freshest and youngest among them, then cremini and portobellos have been left to mature for a long time.
Stored in the refrigerator, fresh whole mushrooms can last up to a maximum of 10 days while sliced mushrooms only last 7 days. If cooked, the mushrooms last between 7 – 10 days.
Shelf Life of Mushrooms
Starting with fresh whole mushrooms, these usually last between four to seven days in the refrigerator. Although sometimes they can last for as much as ten days. Once the mushrooms are cooked, they can be stored for a further three to five days in the refrigerator.
If you bought store-bought mushrooms that are canned, they always come with an expiration date printed on the label by the manufacturer. Since these mushrooms are canned, they can easily last for a couple of months. Once the canned jar is opened ensure to finish the whole can in between four to seven days.
When it comes to dried mushrooms, they oftentimes also come with an expiration date printed on the label as well. If the packaging comes with no date on it, it is safe to assume that the mushrooms will retain their optimum quality for about a year. They may not get spoiled, but the mushrooms will without a doubt worsen in quality over time and become bland.
It is worth noting that harmful bacteria can grow quickly in warmer temperatures, for this reason, cooked mushrooms should be thrown out if they have been left out in the open for more than 2 hours at room temperature.
How to Store Mushrooms
There is more to consider when storing mushrooms than just simply placing the mushrooms in your refrigerator.
It is recommended to store mushrooms in a way that allows them to have air but without drying them out too much. It is best to keep the mushrooms whole and unpeeled and place the mushrooms in a resealable zip-lock plastic bag and then placing them in the fridge.
This will stop them from absorbing too much moisture and therefore getting slimy and subsequently going bad.
As stated above, it is better to use resealable plastic bags when storing the mushrooms. It is also wise to note that lining the plastic bag with kitchen towels will enable the mushrooms to not absorb too much moisture as the kitchen towel will capture the excess moisture. Ensure that you change out the kitchen towels often since if they stay too long, they will become wet and cease to serve their purpose.
One of the most effective storage techniques of most food items is to just keep the items in the sealed containers. If you happen to transfer the mushrooms from the packaging they come in, ensure that the new container is a resealable one.
Remember that it is also recommended that you keep your mushrooms away from foods with strong odors since they tend to pick up strong scents. If you do not want to bruise your mushrooms while in storage, let there be nothing else stacked on top of the mushrooms.
Additionally, you can choose to pickle your mushrooms in the same way that you would pickle a cucumber or other types of vegetables. Boil the mushrooms in a mixture of vinegar and water along with any spices you would like to add to flavor the mushrooms after that put the mushrooms in a jar with an airtight lid.
They should keep well in the refrigerator for about a month or so. The only downside of this method of preservation of mushrooms is that they will have a strong briny vinegar taste from the vinegar mixture. As such, they are not generally ideal for use in most recipes and can mostly only be eaten as a side dish on their own.
How to Tell If Mushrooms Are Spoiled
As with everything else in the kitchen, the best way to tell whether or not your mushrooms have gone bad is by relying on your senses.
In any case, always remember to use your best judgment when deciding whether to throw a packet of mushrooms out. Some of the key ways to tell if your mushrooms are spoiled are;
- The mushrooms have become slimy to the touch; The sliminess on mushrooms is usually attributed to them staying in the refrigerator for too long and thus absorbing way too much moisture. Even though at this point the mushrooms are not dangerous to consume, it is still advisable to throw them out.
- The mushrooms have wrinkles or creases on them. Sometimes, the opposite of the above happens and instead of the mushrooms becoming slimy due to having too much moisture, they end up drying instead. Drying out your mushrooms is acceptable, just ensure to not let them dry out too much as this will make them too wrinkly and it then means they have stayed out for too long.
- The mushrooms are changing in appearance and becoming darker or are developing dark spots on them. Dark spots are a definite sign that your mushrooms are starting to go bad. They usually indicate that something is growing on the mushrooms. Even though you have stored your mushrooms in the refrigerator, make sure to keep checking on them. If you do notice the change in color, throw them out, and do not attempt to consume them.
- You have had the mushrooms around for two weeks or more. When it comes to the general compromise in terms of shelf-life of mushrooms, it is agreed that having them for about two weeks in the refrigerator is the upper limit. Exercise your common sense though since at times it can be just over two weeks the mushrooms still look, smell, and feel fresh. In that case, they are probably still safe to consume.
- The mushrooms emit an odor. Generally speaking, your mushrooms should not have a noticeable or strong odor coming from them. If you can smell them, they have probably gone bad. This is of course premised on the fact that you are taking a strong whiff from the mushrooms. They will definitely have the normal “mushroom” smell (it is usually light and subtle) but if you open the container or packaging the smell emanating causes you to turn your head, then it is a given, throw the whole container away immediately.
Can You Freeze Mushrooms?
Long story short, yes you can freeze mushrooms. The secret is that when it comes to mushrooms, they can end up retaining quite a little bit of water. Because of this characteristic, it can be even harder to attempt to freeze mushrooms when they are uncooked.
That aside, if you still want to go ahead and freeze your mushrooms while they are raw, please always make sure to freeze them on a piece of baking paper. Once they have just begun to freeze, you can then change them out into an air-tight resealable freezer-friendly container.
The best way to freeze mushrooms still remains to cook the mushrooms first. The simple process is to wash the mushrooms thoroughly with clean running water, slice the mushrooms or cut them up whichever way you normally do, proceed to steam the mushrooms for about three minutes, or have them lightly sautéed in butter or margarine until just almost done.
After that let them cool. After the cooking and cooling process on the mushrooms, proceed to then pack them into air-tight resealable containers or freezer bags (use the option that holds a smaller amount of air when sealed).
Additionally, if you are planning to keep your mushrooms (whole or sliced) for a longer time than a week, it is ideal and best to freeze them. These mushrooms can be kept frozen for between six to eight months.
What to do if you eat a spoiled mushroom
In order to reduce the risks of illness involved in eating spoiled mushrooms, always ensure to thoroughly clean your mushrooms with clean running water before eating, and always store them in the fridge.
Eating spoiled mushrooms can have the same effects on your body as eating any other food item in the house that has gone bad.
Since symptoms vary from individual to individual, you could experience symptoms ranging from an upset stomach to getting very ill with food poisoning. If your symptoms are severe, seek medical attention as soon as possible.