Ever wondered why the mushroom is so popular? Well, it’s because it’s a fungi… Get it? A “fun”–“gi”… Well, if that didn’t have you rolling on the floor laughing, we’re not entirely sure what will!
But, all jokes aside, mushrooms are a truly unique and remarkable food. They are neither plants nor animals, not to mention that eating the wrong varieties could see you either rushed to the ER or hallucinating out of your mind. But those aren’t the kind we’re talking about here.
Equally as dangerous to your health, is eating mushrooms that have gone bad. So, how long do mushrooms last? How can you tell if they’ve gone bad? How should you store them to prevent them from getting spoiled quickly? Here’s the complete guide.
Have Your Mushrooms Gone Bad? How to Tell
If you are looking at your mushrooms, deciding whether to cook or throw them away, just the fact that you have to think about it at all is probably reason enough to throw them in the trash.
Nonetheless, here are some key tell-tale signs you can use to tell if your mushrooms are past their expiration date.
- They are slimy – If your mushrooms have been sitting in the refrigerator for too long and they feel slimy to the touch, then you know that they’re no longer fit for human consumption.
- They have a noticeable odor – Fresh fungi have a light and very subtle scent. You would have to stick your nose right up to them to notice. If, however, you catch a whiff that leaves you cringing the moment you open the bag or container they’re in, then you need to throw them out.
- They look wrinkly – In some instances, instead of getting slimy or emitting a strong odor, they dry out and start developing wrinkles. While this is fine for mushrooms that have been dried properly, if you left them out in the open or the fridge for too long and they start to look shriveled, don’t risk it. Just toss them.
- They’ve started developing dark spots – If you begin to notice brownish spots on their surface, it’s an obvious sign that your fungi are beyond salvaging. Get rid of them.
- You’ve had them for more than two weeks – The consensus in the culinary world is that mushrooms should be used within two weeks of purchasing or harvesting them. But, use your best judgment. If they’ve been in the fridge for all that time and they still look fine, then there’s no sense in throwing out perfectly good fungi, is there?
How Long Do Mushrooms Last
The shelf-life of your fungi ultimately boils down to the storage methods you employ. The choice of one method over the other depends on how long you want them to last for and when you intend to use them.
For instance, if you plan on using them in a mushroom soup recipe over the weekend and it is mid-week, there’s no point in going through the hassle of drying them and throwing them in the freezer. You won’t have to deal with a spoiled mushroom if you use them right away.
For some tips on how to best store your mushrooms, check out my article entitled How to Store Mushrooms Long Term.
How long do mushrooms last? Here’s what you need to know.
In Raw Form at Room Temperature
If you leave freshly harvested fungi or the store-bought varieties, out in the open at room temperature, they’re good for between 12 and 24 hours. This isn’t recommended even if you intend to cook them the same day. Keep them refrigerated until you’re ready to use them.
When Canned and Left at Room Temperature
If unopened, canned mushrooms have a very long shelf-life and can stay fresh for 3 to 5 years. However, their shelf-life shortens drastically once you pop the lid. Open canned mushrooms left out at room temperature can be rendered unsafe to eat within 12 hours.
Refrigerated When Raw
Fungi should be safe to eat if they’re consumed within two weeks of refrigeration – and that’s pushing it if we’re being honest. The sweet spot is somewhere between 4 to 7 days, max for whole mushrooms. If they are chopped, then you need to use them within two days.
Refrigerated When Canned
Opened canned mushrooms will last for approximately four days in the fridge. Once the four-day mark reaches, you’ll need to use them or lose them.
In Frozen Form
You can store frozen Mushrooms for a long time. However, we recommend that you slice and dry them before you do. Frozen fungi in this state can last up to a year.
Open canned mushrooms, on the other hand, are good for a maximum of 2 months when frozen. Keep in mind, however, that the flavor and texture of frozen mushrooms will change the longer you keep them.
Cooked and Left at Room Temperature
Never leave cooked mushrooms out in the open for more than 2 hours. Eat them within that time frame or refrigerate them if you plan to consume them later. Cooked fungi stored in the fridge are good for about five days, depending on the varieties. Some spoil after only three days.
If you intend to keep them for longer, your best bet is to freeze them to keep them fresh for up to a year; 10 months, if you want them to retain their delicious “mushroomy” flavor.
In Dried Form
When dried properly, stored in airtight containers or a zip-lock freezer bag in a cool, dry, and dark place like your kitchen cabinet or freezer, dried mushrooms are safe to use for more than a year. This is the best long term storage method for rare and seasonal fungi that aren’t available all-year-round.
Rules for Refrigeration
Here are some things you need to keep in mind when refrigerating fresh fungi.
- Don’t keep them in the crisper drawer since it is normally too humid for safe storage
- Don’t wash them before storage as this also increases the humidity levels
- Keep them away from foods that have strong flavors or emit overpowering odors
- Don’t place other food items on top of mushrooms to prevent them from getting squished
- Always store them in airtight containers
Remember, sliced mushrooms typically have a shorter shelf-life than whole ones. So, if you’re not planning to use them any time soon, store them whole.
When in Doubt, Toss ‘Em Out
There’s no better time than the present to stock up on your favorite fungi, to avoid making frequent trips to the store. If you’re wondering how long do mushrooms last? Pretty darn long if you do it right.
Use the information in this guide to avoid consuming mushrooms that are past their shelf-life.
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