Mushrooms are delicious little things and they give most meals an extra depth of flavor, especially when paired with meat. Most of the time you can’t pick put just a few mushrooms, like you’d need for one recipe. They come in pre-made packs, and it’s rare that you use up an entire pack in one recipe.
So should you refrigerate the mushrooms ? Can you leave them out overnight ? Is it okay if they’re a bit slimy ? Are white mushrooms different from brown ? All this and more, coming right up !
Should you refrigerate mushrooms ?
Yes, you should keep fresh mushrooms in the fridge, or a dry pantry that does not get warmer than 5 C/41 F. Mushrooms will continue to grow a little even after they’re picked and packaged, so don’t worry if you see a bit of fuzz growing along one side.
When keeping mushrooms in the fridge make sure to remove them from their original packaging. Place them in paper bags, as many as you need. This way the mushrooms have room to breathe, and won’t produce as much moisture. Moisture shortens the shelf life of picked mushrooms.
Don’t wash them before placing them in paper bags ! You’re adding more moisture, even if you blot them with paper towels. Mushrooms are a lot like sponges, especially the oyster mushrooms. If they have a bit of dirt on them, let it be. Only wash the ones you’re going to use immediately.
How long do fresh mushrooms last in the fridge ?
Fresh mushrooms are good in the fridge for up to 7 days after buying. Most of the time, if you look on the packaging, the harvest date is close to the date you’re buying them. But if it gets past about 10 days since harvest, the mushrooms start to soften and slowly break down.
Always remember to swap the plastic packaging for a paper bag one. Otherwise the moisture will ruin them faster than normal.
Read also: What Do Mushrooms Taste Like ?
Can mushrooms go bad in the fridge ?
Yes, mushrooms can and do go bad in the fridge. You’ll notice they’re going off when they’re softer to the touch, even a bit slimy. When you rip off the stem and look at the top (inner side), it’s very porous and bruised. They even smell more than usual, and not just of earth. Discard those mushrooms.
How long do fresh mushrooms last at room temperature ?
At room temperature (approx. 21 C/70 F) mushrooms are good for about 3 days, before they start to soften and break down. This is especially true if you’ve left them in their original packaging and they start to sweat.
If you’ve bought fresh mushrooms and forgot to put the in the fridge, don’t worry too much about them too much. Just putt hem in their paper bags and put them in the fridge.
Are slimy mushrooms safe to eat ?
Slimy mushrooms are on the verge of not safe. It it’s just a little slime that is easily rinsed off with warm water, they’re fine. But you should use up all of them, because they’re close to going bad.
But if your mushrooms are too slimy and they also smell bad, it’s best to throw them out. You won’t see mold easily developing on mushrooms. They’re easier to notice as they go bad without letting them go that far.
Canned mushrooms are much easier to store
If your biggest concern with mushrooms is how easily they are stored, then it’s a good idea to consider canned mushrooms. These have already been cooked, and are stored in a light brine.
You can find them in tin cans or in jars, and the product is pretty much the same. They can be stored in pantries, or at room temperature, or even in the fridge. Go by their expiration date, it’s usually at least a year. If you store these in the fridge you can leave then even longer.
We recommend getting the ones in a jar because you can easily see any foreign objects, or if the water gets cloudy, or if a mushroom is very strange. Be extra sure they’re not in direct sunlight, otherwise they can spoil faster.
When it comes to taste, canned mushrooms are not as good as fresh ones. But they’re a good compromise if your cooking style doesn’t easily accommodate fresh veggies, like if you’re cooking a single serving of something.
Tips on picking the best mushrooms
Whenever you’re picking out mushrooms form the market, you want the best, the freshest, the prettiest ones. Well there are a few things you should keep in mind when shopping for mushrooms. We’ll cover the top tips on how to pick the best mushrooms, and these tips apply to pretty much every mushroom type out there.
Check the mushrooms for firmness
The first thing to look for is how firm the mushrooms are. They will never be as hard as an apple, but they should resist a poke. More than an avocado, more like a perfectly good banana (not overripe).
A softer mushroom is alright too, but it simply means it will spoil quicker, since it’s likely been on the shelf longer.
Always check the packaging for any rips and tears. If there are any, those mushrooms may still be fine but they’re likely softening faster than they should. If you decide on one of those packs, we recommend using them the same day, or within 24 hours.
Check the harvest date
The harvest date should not be too far off from the very date you’re shopping. For example if you’re shopping on March 2nd, then the harvest date will likely be February 28th or 27th. If it’s earlier, like February 22nd, that’s already a 10-day old mushroom pack and you shouldn’t buy it.
The best mushrooms are the freshest, so always, always check the harvest date before you bring any of them home. It’s very unlikely to find mushrooms harvested on the same day you’re shopping. Harvesting, cleaning, packaging, shipping, and arranging on the shelves always takes at least a day. So the freshest ones will be harvested yesterday.
A little bit of white fuzz is okay
If the harvest date is fairly recent, the packaging is fine, but you see a bit of fuzz on the mushrooms, don’t worry. After all, mushrooms (well, fungi) are a type of living organism, a very simple one. It keep in extending and expanding, even after harvest.
That fine white fuzz is simply the mushroom trying to extent itself further. If it had a bit of dirt, the proper nutrients, and the right lighting it would grow more. So don’t worry about it, it won’t change the taste of the food or the texture.
Read Also: Mushroom Substitutes
White, brown, and portobello are essentially the same mushroom
There’s this continuous talk about button mushrooms, cremini, white buttons, brown buttons, portobello. Well, here’s the thing: they’re the same mushroom, just two variations and at different life stages.
So, the white and brown button mushrooms are the same. It’s just one variation grows white, while the other develops a brown cap. When still immature, they are button mushrooms. The cremini are the ‘creamy’ brown ones. The white ones are also known as champignons.
By immature we mean they are small, the top is still rounded, and that thin membrane/veil has not split from the stem. As the mushrooms grow larger (mature), the tops flatten, the veil breaks because the edges become wider and flat. And there you go, portobello mushrooms, white or brown.
The main difference is that the larger portobello has a deeper, meatier flavor than the smaller button mushrooms. Other than that they’re the same.
Both of them need refrigeration though, so always remember to stick these in the fridge.