Unless you’re feeding a big fam, a packet of mushrooms prob seems overboard for a single recipe. You can save the rest to add to an omelet, brown rice, or steak. But how long do mushrooms last in the fridge?
If you’ve ever opened a leftover package to find a bunch of sad ‘shrooms, you know they can get limp and floppy over time. Here’s how to avoid the disappointment (and wasted food) next time.
Ahh, the mushroom. So humble. So healthy. So versatile. But it’s not known for its staying power in storage.
Our ‘shroom friends can’t help it. They have high water content, and a cellular structure that’s pretty different from other heartier foods. But there are some ways you can help them last longer.
Store your mushrooms in the fridge
Like a lot of other foods, letting your mushrooms live in the fridge can help them last longer.
This can make a big difference, too. If they’re just hanging out on the counter, you can only expect your mushrooms to last about 1 to 3 days. If they’re chillin’ in the fridge, however, they could last more like 5 to 7 days.
There’s no competition. Pop those fungi in the fridge, and you could be enjoying them for nearly 2 weeks!
Try not to slice your mushrooms before saving them
Remember the fact that bigger mushrooms can last longer? Well, that rule applies to sliced mushrooms, too. The whole point of slicing mushrooms is to turn bigger mushrooms into smaller, bite-sized pieces. That might be great for what you’re cooking up, but it’s bad news for their lifespan. Chopping them up impacts the fungi at a microscopic level, creating more vulnerable cells that bad bacteria can take advantage of.
If they’re in the fridge, you can expect your sliced ‘shrooms won’t last up to 7 days like a whole mushroom. So, instead of chopping up the entire package of mushrooms when you get them home, try to slice them up only as needed.
Keep your mushrooms raw for as long as possible
You might think that cooking a mushroom and stashing it in the fridge means that it’ll last longer than a raw, sliced mushroom. But mushrooms defy your logic.
According to the experts at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA, most leftovers should be used within about 3 to 4 days. Even if you’re within that window though, it’s a good idea to give your mushrooms a good look for signs of spoilage before you use them.
Use a paper bag after you’ve opened your mushrooms
Studies have shown that those little plastic trays covered with plastic wrap can increase the lifespan of freshly harvested mushrooms up to 12 days. Score!
But as soon as you open your package of mushrooms, you expose them to the air and their protection is gone.
So, keep that package of ‘shrooms in the fridge until you use them for the first time. Then, once you’ve breached the packaging, put your leftover mushrooms in a paper bag and pop them back in the fridge. That way, you’re minimizing waste, and getting the most bang for your buck.
Maybe you’ve bought that pack of mushrooms from the supermarket, but you already know you won’t be able to use all of them in 7 to 10 days. Good news: It’s possible to freeze them.
But it’s not without its drawbacks. Mushrooms have such a high water content that they can look a little sad when they thaw out.
You can freeze mushrooms while they’re raw, or cook them in a pan before you pop them in for their hibernation. They’ll last for 9 to 12 months in the freezer, but give them a thorough defrost before using them!
Whether you chill them or freeze them, it’s important to know how to spot a bad ‘shroom. These won’t taste as good and they can even make you sick.
Here’s how to spot trouble.
- They’re slimy. Just like the best villains, ‘shrooms are slimy when they’re turning bad. They’re not dangerous to eat at this point, so don’t panic if you popped one, but they’re definitely past their best.
- They shrivel up. Mushrooms always have a little bit of wrinkle (don’t we all?), but on the whole, they’re pretty smooth when they’re fresh. If they’re starting to shrivel, it’s time for the can.
- They’ve gone to the dark side. Bad ‘shrooms darken in color, or start to develop dark spots. Check their surface for discoloration and if you notice any, toss them.
- They smell. If you’re noticing an odor which is stronger than your standard mushroom scent, or if sticking your head in the fridge makes you violently jerk backward and heave, then it’s time to evict the ‘shrooms and relocate them into the trash.
Keeping your mushrooms in the fridge helps them last much longer than they would on your kitchen counter. You can expect to have your mushroom friends with you for a mighty 7 to 10 days. That’s plenty of time to track down some awesome mushroom recipes!
Bigger mushrooms will last a little longer, and sliced and cooked mushrooms will last a little less. If that’s just not enough time, freezing your ‘shrooms is an option. They’ll keep for almost a year, but remember that they’ll lose a little bit of nutritional value in the meantime and may not look as pretty when they thaw.