Mushrooms come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. The ones that aren’t toxic are quite nutritious and tasty. Mushrooms, despite being classified as a vegetable, are neither plant nor animal food. They’re a kind of fungus (1).
Mushrooms can wrinkle within a few days, showing that they are about to spoil. Discoloration, a slimy coating, and a foul odor are all telltale signs that mushrooms are past their prime.
Purchase fresh, plump mushrooms from the grocery store and store them in the fridge in a breathable container to extend their shelf life.
You may wonder how to tell when mushrooms are rotten and no longer good to eat. Taking precautions to avoid eating spoiled mushrooms is a good idea because you don’t want to risk anything.
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1. Look for Signs of Spoilage
The first thing you want to do when checking your mushrooms is look for wrinkles and dry, shriveled patches.
Wrinkles and dry patches are the first signs that your mushrooms are about to go bad. If they’re just drying out and aren’t discolored, slimy, or smelly, use them immediately.
Shriveled mushrooms are on the cusp of going bad. Once they’ve shriveled, it won’t be long before they’re unusable.
Discoloration is not a good sign in terms of food safety. Bruises and brown or black spots are some of the first signs that your mushrooms are rotting.
Consider cutting off the blemish and using the rest of the piece if you have bruised mushrooms that show no other signs of spoilage. If your mushrooms have dark spots on them, simply throw them away.
In addition, if you notice a slimy coating on your mushrooms, this means they are no longer edible. A visible mold growth shows that they should be discarded.
It shows that the mushrooms have lost their flavor and nutritional value, so there is no reason to consume them. Another reason to throw out your mushrooms is a sour or fishy odor.
Fresh mushrooms should have a slightly sweet and earthy aroma that is not overpowering. If you take a whiff of them and they smell fishy or pungent, it’s time to throw them out.
Throw away spoiled food as soon as possible to prevent bacteria and mold growth from spreading to other items in your fridge.
2. Maintaining a Record of Shelf Life
Mushrooms, like other fresh vegetables, have a limited shelf life. As a result, keep your mushrooms for no more than 7 to 10 days.
Common varieties, such as white, cremini, and portabella mushrooms, can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Safe storage times are determined by how long the mushrooms were on the grocery store display. Mushrooms that have been sitting in the store for several days may go bad within 1 or 2 days.
Therefore, purchase the freshest mushrooms possible and use them within 3 to 4 days. At the grocery store, look for mushrooms that are plump, firm, and free of spoilage and bruising.
Similarly, you can store sliced mushrooms for up to 5 days. While sliced fresh mushrooms are useful, they spoil up to twice as quickly as whole mushrooms.
If you want mushrooms to last longer, buy whole ones rather than pre-sliced. When shopping, look for whole mushrooms with intact caps and stalks.
Mushrooms that have been broken or bruised have a shorter shelf life than those that have not been damaged. In addition, discard any leftover cooked mushrooms within 3 days.
Most cooked foods, such as mushrooms, meat, seafood, and vegetables, can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days.
However, frozen mushrooms can be stored for 8 to 12 months. To avoid mold and bacterial growth, refrigerate all leftovers within 2 hours. To avoid food-borne illness, reheat cooked leftovers to a temperature of 165 °F (74 °C) (2).
3. Safely Storing Mushrooms
You should store mushrooms and other foodstuffs at temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, which is equivalent to 4 degrees Celsius.
Mushrooms should be stored on one of your refrigerator’s shelves rather than in the crisper drawer. Don’t store your mushrooms at room temperature, because they will go bad in no time.
If the items in your refrigerator don’t seem to last as long as they should, consider purchasing a refrigerator thermometer.
Check the temperature and make any necessary adjustments to your refrigerator’s settings.
In addition, pre-packaged mushrooms should be stored in their original container. To maximize air circulation, store loose mushrooms in a partially opened, sealable bag.
Moisture accumulates in a sealed container, causing mushrooms to sweat and spoil faster. Always keep cooked items separate from raw items in your grocery cart and in your refrigerator.
It is especially important to keep mushrooms away from raw meat and seafood if you intend to eat them raw because mushrooms absorb odors, so keeping them away from foods with powerful aromas is always a good idea.
Most experts agree you can store raw mushrooms in the fridge for up to 7 days before they go bad.
Some mushroom species have a longer shelf life, while others spoil more quickly.
Remember that being afraid that your mushrooms will spoil isn’t a good reason not to eat them.
Use common sense, keep an eye out for obvious signs, and enjoy the nutrition that these flavorful fungi can provide.
Remember, purchase mushrooms from a reputable grower or grocer rather than eating wild ones, as many poisonous mushrooms exist.
Misidentification of a mushroom can cause serious health problems or even death.
Mushrooms are available all year and come in a variety of varieties.