How Long Do Mushrooms Last Before You Can’t Use Them In The Kitchen?
Have you ever purchased mushrooms for an exciting dish you have planned only to store them away in the fridge for too long? Mushrooms tend to become slimy and unappetizing after a relatively short time in the fridge, forcing me to order takeout instead of preparing what I wanted that day and leading me to ask, "How long do mushrooms last?"
By keeping the expiration dates and signs of aging of some of the most commonly used cooking mushrooms in mind, you won't have to stress about your next recipe!
Average Lifespan of Different Mushrooms
Though there are many different types of mushrooms you can buy, almost all of them have the same shelf life and show very similar signs of aging. One of the best ways to create a useable timetable for your mushrooms is to plan ahead according to the "best by date" or the "best before date" on the packaging.
If the mushrooms are loose or the package does not have the relevant information, you may need to do a little mental math to get the best nutritional and taste value out of your mushrooms.
If you buy a package of fresh whole mushrooms, you can typically use them for up to 7 to 10 days, depending on when you bought and how you store them. For fresh sliced mushrooms, the shelf life is a little bit shorter, lasting only 5 to 7 days.
If you purchase cooked mushrooms or have already cooked the mushrooms that you bought, you'll generally have between 7 and 10 days before you may need to throw them out.
Canned mushrooms typically have their own period of use, and you can store your canned mushrooms, along with other canned vegetables, for a period of one or two years. Once the can is open, however, you need to use the mushrooms within 7 to 10 days. The same period applies to the mushrooms after you've cooked them, whether individually or in a larger dish.
How to Tell When the Mushrooms Have Gone Bad
If you don't like planning ahead or you forgot when you last bought the mushrooms, you need to rely on your judgment to determine whether or not the mushrooms are still good to eat.
Fortunately, this does not have to be difficult as all mushrooms have obvious tells when it comes to determining when they are past their prime. If you are not sure about what you have lying around, even if properly packaged, it is always recommended to err on the side of caution and throw the mushrooms away to avoid harm.
Perhaps the most common rule of thumb for mushrooms, whether white or Portobello, is that they need to be thrown away when they are too slimy.
The sliminess usually happens after the mushrooms have been left sitting in the fridge for too long, and at this point, they may taste a bit musty too. Though they are not yet dangerous at this point, they may not be as nutritious or delicious as before.
Another obvious tell is that the mushrooms are beginning to darken or develop dark spots and sections around their surface. This is a clear sign that they are starting to go bad; however, the dark spots may also appear as a result of bruising or rough handling during storage.
The best way to make sure that the mushrooms really are going bad is to simply observe them: If they get darker and darker throughout the day, they need to go.
Wrinkling can be another problem, especially if you notice that your mushrooms are not getting slimy. This is the other tell-tale visual sign as the wrinkles indicate that the mushrooms are beginning to dry out and lose their nutritional content.
While it is alright for your mushrooms to develop wrinkles when you dry them out on purpose, it is recommended that you toss them out as soon as they start to get too wrinkly in the fridge.
Finally, if your mushrooms are beginning to emit an odor, you need to throw them away. Any type of strong smell is never a good sign because healthy mushrooms typically only emit a weak smell when you are close enough to them.
If you pick up the packaging and need to turn your head away, do yourself a favor and dump the package in the trash.
All of these signs apply to canned mushrooms as well. If you notice that your canned mushrooms are growing too dry or slimy or are developing an unpleasant smell, throw them out as soon as possible to avoid potential contamination. No matter the source, never let mushrooms sit for longer than two weeks in your fridge.
Practicing Proper Storage Techniques
If you buy packaged mushrooms, leave them in the original container for a day or two as the seal is still unbroken.
If you already opened the packaging and used some of the mushrooms for cooking, however, you can preserve the rest by simply wrapping up the loose mushrooms in a container covered by saran wrap. Don't forget to poke a few holes in the wrap to let air escape and reduce the risk of browning.
You do not need to keep your mushrooms in the fridge. What I like to do is find mushrooms as soon as they go on sale and buy as many as I think I might need in the future. Once I have all of the mushrooms I need, I like to store them in the freezer, as explained in this video.
Storing mushrooms in the freezer is one of the best ways to stop older mushrooms from going bad. Simply package them correctly and keep them in the freezer until you need to use them. I love keeping the mushrooms fresh this way, and it stops me from throwing them away if I got them as an impulse buy after a clearance.
If not freezing, be sure to use your mushrooms as soon as you purchase them as this is the surest way to avoid food poisoning and flavor issues. If any of these techniques worked for you or you would like to share your own steps to success, be sure to comment below!
If there are some questions that you would like answered about specific mushrooms or wrapping techniques, let me know in the comments.