Do you love mushrooms but don't know how to store them properly? If so, you're not alone! Many people wonder how to store mushrooms correctly in order to keep them fresh and delicious. Fortunately, there are several methods to choose from. In this blog post, we'll discuss the best methods to store mushrooms and keep them fresh, so you can enjoy them for as long as possible. So, read on to learn how to store mushrooms the right way!
How to Select the Best Fresh Mushrooms
When purchasing fresh mushrooms, watch out for the following characteristics:
-Look for mushrooms that are firm, plump, and have dry surfaces.
-Choose smooth, evenly-colored mushrooms without any bruising or dark spots.
-Opt for younger mushrooms with caps that are not fully open or shriveled around the edges.
-Prefer loose mushrooms or pre-packed mushrooms that are packaged using perforated plastic.
-Note that although different types of mushrooms may have unique physical features, specific signs indicate that a mushroom is no longer suitable for consumption, regardless of the species.
To identify whether mushrooms have gone bad, inspect them by touching, smelling, and examining their appearance. If the mushrooms are slimy, shriveled, discolored, or have a strong odor, they are starting to spoil and will not remain fresh for an extended period.
How Do You Keep Mushrooms Fresh Longer?
Due to the lack of protective skin, mushrooms are highly perishable, making it necessary to follow specific principles to ensure they remain fresh for a longer period. The following three key principles are critical to keeping mushrooms fresh:
Prevent moisture loss: Since fresh mushrooms contain a high water content of 85 - 95%, they can lose moisture through evaporation and respiration. If stored without any covering, the airflow around them will quickly dry them out, causing them to shrink and wrinkle. To prevent this, mushrooms should be stored in breathable packaging that allows excess moisture to escape while keeping drafts out.
Avoid excess moisture: If stored in sealed containers, the moisture released by fresh mushrooms accumulates inside the container, causing them to become slimy and promoting bacterial growth. Washing mushrooms before storing them can also reduce their shelf life as they may absorb extra moisture during washing. It's best to keep mushrooms unwashed and whole to keep them fresh longer.
Slow down the decaying process: Mushrooms produce enzymes that cause browning and discoloration, and after harvesting, they begin to decay due to their high respiration rate causing moisture loss. Lowering the temperature at which mushrooms are stored helps to slow down their metabolism and the decaying process.
How Long Do Mushrooms Last?
The lifespan of mushrooms at room temperature ranges from 1 to 3 days, with variations depending on the species and how the mushrooms were harvested and packaged. To extend their shelf life, it is advisable to select fresh mushrooms and store them at lower temperatures.
It is recommended to refrigerate mushrooms unless they are intended for immediate use. Ideally, they should be placed in the fridge as soon as possible after purchase and stored at temperatures ranging from 34 to 39°F (1 to 4°C).
If stored correctly, fresh whole mushrooms can last for approximately 7 days, with some species lasting up to 10 days. The following sections explore ways to maximize the shelf life of fresh mushrooms when stored in the fridge.
Best Storage Methods to Keep Mushrooms Fresh
There are various methods to store mushrooms, but the effectiveness of each method varies based on the intended usage and the duration of storage. Here are six ways to store mushrooms:
The Original Packaging:
Mushrooms bought pre-packaged with micro-perforated plastic can be stored in the same packaging in the fridge for up to 7 days. This method helps prevent the mushrooms from drying out and allows excess moisture to escape.
In a Container Covered With Plastic Wrap:
Mushrooms can be stored in a glass or plastic container covered with plastic wrap. Holes should be made in the plastic wrap to allow moisture to escape. While this method helps prevent drying and shields from strong smells, mushrooms may not stay fresh as long as other methods. This method is suitable for short-term storage of up to 5 days.
In Cardboard or Pulp Punnets:
Cardboard or pulp punnets are breathable and help absorb excess moisture, keeping the mushrooms fresh longer. Mushroom producers also pack mushrooms in cardboard punnets covered with a micro-perforated plastic film. Mushrooms can also be stored in other cardboard or pulp containers, or egg cartons, with cardboard lids to prevent drying.
Wrapped in Paper Towels:
Mushrooms can be wrapped in paper towels, which allow them to breathe and absorb excess moisture. The type of container used is also essential. Mushrooms wrapped in paper towels in plastic bags or glass containers may not last as long as mushrooms in paper towels in a paper bag.
In Brown Paper Bags:
Breathable paper or paper bags are an effective way to store mushrooms in the fridge. They prevent the issue of excess moisture. However, with time, mushrooms may start to dry out and shrivel if they lose too much moisture.
In Cotton Mushroom Bags:
Washable cloth mushroom bags made from 100% natural cotton are an eco-friendly alternative to paper bags. These bags allow mushrooms to breathe and stay dry, but with time, mushrooms may start to dry out. It is always best to eat fresh mushrooms as soon as possible.
How to Store Mushrooms in the Fridge
To extend the shelf life of mushrooms, storing them properly in the fridge is essential. However, there are certain things to avoid if you want your mushrooms to stay fresh for longer. Here are a few tips:
-Avoid washing mushrooms until you are ready to use them, as this can reduce their shelf life.
Whole mushrooms last longer than sliced mushrooms, so it's best to slice or chop them just before cooking. If you must buy sliced mushrooms, use them within 2 days.
-Don't store mushrooms in the crisper drawer, as the environment is often too moist for them. Instead, store them on a shelf in the fridge.
-Keep mushrooms away from foods with strong odors, such as fish and onions, as mushrooms easily absorb smells and tastes from their surroundings.
-Don't stack other foods on top of mushrooms, as they are easily bruised and damaged.
In addition, the way you store mushrooms has the biggest impact on their shelf life, so make sure you follow the appropriate methods discussed earlier to keep your mushrooms fresh for as long as possible.
How to Store Mushrooms Long Term
Storing mushrooms in a fridge is only practical if you plan on using the mushrooms within 5 to 7 days.
When stored correctly, your mushrooms could last as long as 10 to 14 days in the fridge. But we recommend using them sooner to make the most of their unique mushroom taste and health benefits.
If you buy too many mushrooms or stumble across large quantities while foraging, it’s often better to preserve them in other ways.
The most common ways to preserve mushrooms are drying, freezing and pickling, but many more options are available.
Can You Freeze Mushrooms?
Yes, you can freeze mushrooms, and frozen mushrooms will last for up to 12 months in the freezer.
Although you can freeze raw mushrooms, we don’t recommend it as they don’t keep their texture and often end up mushy when thawed.
The best way to freeze mushrooms is to saute them first, let them cool, then pack them into airtight containers and freeze them.
Mushrooms are perishable and are most delicious when eaten soon after being harvested. However, you can store whole, unwashed mushrooms in the refrigerator for about 10 days. If you want to store them for a longer period, you'll need to try other methods of preservation.
With so many recipes that feature mushrooms, having a surplus should not be an issue.