I love mushrooms. I love them raw, I love them sautéed, and I love them deep fried. Any which way I can get mushrooms I will do it. The one thing I have an issue with is determining exactly how long do mushrooms last? Sure they brown with age and look a little dirty when you buy them because, after all, they do come from the earth. But the question is, are the ones I am buying at the grocery store already on their way out? How long will they last once I get them home? Following some of these guidelines should help you decide when to eat them or when to toss them away.
General Guideline for Shelf-life
Since mushrooms don’t have a “best before” date on their packaging, you must generally use your purchase date to determine roughly how long your mushrooms will last. Eatbydate.com provides this chart to follow if you are unsure about how long do mushrooms last.
Fresh, whole mushrooms
In the fridge for 7-10 days
Fresh, sliced mushrooms
In the fridge for 5-7 days
In the fridge for 7-10 days
Check with Your Eyes First
Sometimes an easy way to tell if the mushrooms you have on hand are fresh is to first give them a good look. If the caps are meeting the stem in a downward motion, as pointed out in this YouTube video
Then your mushrooms are still very fresh. However, if your mushrooms have their underside gills exposed and the cap isn’t touching the stem, they may not be the freshest.
Another visual clue is if your mushrooms actually look old—as in wrinkly and shrivelling. After a period of time your mushrooms will dry out and this will cause them to have surface wrinkles, much like people! This is also true for “age spots”. Mushrooms will accumulate dark spots as they near the end of their shelf life, so look out for those.
Touch and See
If your mushrooms have become slimy in any way, it is safe to say they are no longer good for eating. Delishably.com outlines the sliminess and how you can check it to see if what you are feeling is okay to eat or not. Obviously anything that feels fuzzy is also not a good sign of freshness.
Proper Storage Goes a Long Way
First it is important to note that you shouldn’t wash the mushrooms prior to storing because the excess moisture could create that slimy, moldy film and make your mushrooms turn quickly.
IN THE FRIDGE: If you want to prolong the life of your beloved mushrooms, as I like to do, there are a few different methods you can use. Keeping mushrooms in the fridge inside a paper bag will allow them to breathe but without too much exposure to air.
Another way is to place a piece of paper towel inside a plastic sandwich bag and store the mushrooms inside. The paper towel will absorb moisture from the mushrooms so it will need to be changed if you aren’t using the mushrooms for a few days.
In their own sealed packaging mushrooms will likely last the longest, provided they are not exposed to overly cold air or prolonged warm air. Also keeping them in a dark place within your fridge is always a good idea as well since darkness will help prolong their life.
A great product on the market is a special bag, called the Stay Fresh Storage Bag, which keeps out moisture and mold and keeps mushrooms fresher for much longer than other methods.
IN THE FREEZER: It is possible to freeze your mushrooms to have them last much longer. However, the best way to freeze mushrooms is to cook them first. This removes most of the water content found in mushrooms and allows for better freezing. Store in sealed, air-tight freezer safe containers. The added bonus is that they are ready to use in your next meal!
Freezing raw mushrooms is difficult because of their natural moisture content. You should at least blanch them prior to freezing. Also when ready to use the frozen mushroom, never thaw them—add them right to your dish to prevent mushy mushrooms.
Cook Them Up!
If you have an abundance of mushrooms in your fridge (again, like I do!) but don’t want them to go to waste, then you could cook them up. As outlined in the chart above, cooked mushrooms will last up to 10 days or even more if stored properly in your fridge. For example, sauté some mushrooms to have on hand for your next juicy steak dinner or to add to your breakfast omelet.
Once home from the grocery store with all of your fresh produce laid out, you may find yourself wondering, “How long do mushrooms last?” If your uncertainty has ever stopped you from buying mushrooms from the fresh produce section, opting instead for canned mushrooms, you won’t have to wonder anymore
Mushrooms generally last from 5 to 10 days but if you want them to last even longer, you simply have to keep these points in mind:
- Purchase date is the date you start your count
- Using your senses, including sight and touch, to determine freshness
- Cooking will prolong their life and allow you to have fresh, prepared mushrooms on hand
- Freezing can keep them longer but they will be more mushy than fresh