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Mushrooms are delicious, nutritious, and versatile veggies people love to have around and toss in a myriad of dishes for surprising taste and texture. The only problem with mushrooms is that you have to use them while they are still fresh. Spoiled mushrooms may lead to health problems or ruin your perfect recipes. Today, we will focus on the telltale signs of mushrooms gone bad and offer you some quick tips on how to make the best out of your beloved fungi.
Understanding Mushroom Shelf-life
In our case, we will talk mostly about mushroom’s shelf life in the fridge, as we hope nobody keeps mushrooms lying around in the kitchen. If you want to find out how long do mushrooms last and tips for increasing their shelf life at home check out the linked article about the topic.
As for mushrooms’ longevity, here are some things you should consider:
- Not all vegetables come with an expiry date on the label; therefore, you need to assume they are fresh in the store and calculate their shelf life in the fridge starting from that point on. Fresh and healthy mushrooms look neat, have no wrinkles or dark spots, and are not squishy when you hold them;
- Once you brought the ‘shrooms home, put them in the fridge, but do not forget about them!
Here are some guidelines on how long you can keep the mushrooms safe until you get to cook them:
- Fresh whole mushrooms (fridge): 7 to 10 days; some experts claim that you can keep mushrooms for up to two weeks, but we recommend that you do not pass the 10-days threshold;
- Freshly sliced mushrooms (fridge): up to 7 days; since they have their inside exposed, it is better to cook them as soon as you get the chance;
- Roasted mushrooms: up to 10 days in the fridge, but up to a few weeks in the freezer;Frozen mushrooms (freezer): check the label for expiration date.
How to Tell if Mushrooms Went Bad
It would be a real shame to buy mushrooms and forget about them in the fridge. Being one of the few veggies that contain vitamin D and packing a potent punch of minerals and protein, mushrooms can provide us with tremendous nutritional value and can turn any recipe into a work of art. For this reason, you should cook them while they are still fresh. However, if you do not know how to assess their freshness, here are the main signs that your fungi have joined the dark side:
- You can remember when you bought them and realize you are past the 10-days deadline; you can still cook them,but you should be careful.
- The heads are slimy: touch the mushroom heads and see if they got a muddy, sticky surface; while they are not a health danger at this point, it is good practice to toss them; if you want to salvage them somehow, peel them off thoroughly, wash them with care, and fry them at high temperatures;
- They have wrinkles: look at the ‘shrooms and search for lines; some mushrooms do not get a slimy cover but dry up and become wrinkly. Do not consume them if they look shriveled and give you a bad feeling; if there’s too much month at the end of your money, you can eat them if you hydrate them in some water and cook them at high temperatures, but otherwise you should better not;
- They went to the dark side or are training to become Sith lords: dark colored mushrooms are a big no-no; dark spots and dark surfaces are a sign they are not safe to eat anymore;
- They have a funky odor: mushrooms smell like mushrooms, but if you open the bag or the container and have to turn your head away– you should toss them.
How to Keep Your Mushrooms Safe and Fresh Until You Cook Them
One of the best advantages of cooking with mushrooms is that they need little to no preparation: a thorough wash and you can turn them into anything you want. Moreover, a mushroom-based dish – such as the Mushroom & cheese stuffed chicken breasts in a creamy sauce–looks and feels fancy, like you have worked half a day in the kitchen to make art. So, having mushrooms nearby is always a good idea. But how do we keep them in the best conditions? Here are some tips:
- Keep them in a paper bag in a clean and disinfected fridge; they need some fresh air, a safe environment, and a container that does not retain moistureor allow mold to grow;
- If you want to store them in plastic bags, line the bags with paper towels to remove excess moisture;
- Keep them in their original sealed wrap, but no longer than two weeks – supermarket containers are plastic and prolonged plastic storage can lead to moldy spoiling;
- Freeze them in parchment paper and store them in airtight or vacuumed bags/containers; the best way to freeze mushrooms is to cook them first and seal them in airtight containers or bags – whichever has less air inside.
Enjoy your mushrooms and keep them fresh for as long as you can as these delicious ingredients can turn any recipe into a gourmet work of art!