Have you ever wondered, “How long are mushrooms good for?” If so, you are not alone. The answer to this inquiry depends on the specific mushroom in question
How long are mushrooms good for? Well, it depends on a few things. Are the mushrooms fresh or dried? What kind of mushroom is in consideration? Has there already been some kind of preservation used to enhance the longevity of the mushroom in question? We consider all of these questions below in this article.
First and foremost, let’s start with fresh mushrooms. Many people buy fresh mushrooms regularly, so it is best to understand their shelf life before we look at dried or frozen mushrooms. Typically, store-bought, fresh mushrooms are last 7-10 days in refrigeration. However, if mushrooms already seemed a bit soft or mushy when you bought them, they may have a shorter shelf life, say 4 days. If you buy fresh mushrooms that are in great condition, then you can expect them to last for up to 10 days in your refrigerator.
Fresh mushrooms have the shortest amount of time that they are good for. Dried mushrooms, frozen mushrooms, and other forms of preserved mushrooms will have a longer shelf life. I will discuss this in more depth below.
How long are mushrooms good for? Knowing when mushrooms have gone bad
You can tell if your fresh mushrooms have gone bad by looking at and feeling them. If they have grown noticeably darker in color, and their texture has become slimy or sticky, then they have either gone bad or will quickly turn bad. Once the process of going bad starts, the mushroom quickly goes.
If you start to feel the mushrooms get slimy but it is minor, their color looks good, and they still have some firmness to them, then you should cook them right away to still get use out of them.
Note that chestnut mushrooms have a sliminess to them that is normal and not a sign of them going bad. Keep that in mind if you buy one of our chestnut mushroom growing kits and are working on your first harvest.
How long are mushrooms good for? A look at dried mushrooms
You can expect to keep dried mushrooms longer than fresh mushrooms. If you keep your dried mushrooms in a cool, dark location, then you can expect them to last up to at least one year and maybe longer. If the dried mushrooms are in a warmer location, then their shelf life will be shorter. In this instance, I’d say six months is a reasonable amount.
Your dried mushrooms should be crispy. If they lose their crisp and begin to get flimsy, then they are likely getting old.
Learn how to dry mushrooms and they will keep longer
Drying mushrooms allows them to be stored and usable for a longer period of time than having to use them when fresh. For instance, if you grow mushrooms during the fall and end up with a big yield, or you find a big flush while foraging during the same time of year, you can dry these mushrooms to have delicious food to eat all winter long.
Drying mushrooms is a great option when you have an abundance of them. The drying process can be as simple as laying the mushrooms out in the sun to dry, or putting them in a dehydrator overnight at around 115 – 120°F. They will be properly dried once they become slightly crispy like a chip.
Try freezing and you can keep your mushrooms longer
You need to first prepare the mushrooms to be frozen. Select the mushrooms that are in the best condition, preferably free from spots and decay. If you are working with large mushrooms, cut them into smaller pieces no larger than 1” across. Remove the mushroom stems and clean the mushrooms by gently washing or brushing to remove any dirt or debris.
Once the mushrooms are prepared, you will then need to decide how you want to heat the mushrooms. In order to freeze mushrooms properly, most of them need to be cooked prior to being placed in the freezer. Steaming or frying is recommended.
For steaming mushrooms: Whole mushrooms can be steamed for five minutes. If you have smaller mushrooms or have cut the mushrooms into pieces, then it will probably only take 3 ½ minutes to steam them properly. Cool the mushrooms and drain them once the steaming process is complete. Then drain the mushrooms and package. Be sure to leave headspace of about a half of an inch. Seal the package and place it in the freezer.
For frying mushrooms: Use an open frying pan with a cooking fat like butter. Heat the mushrooms for a similar time as you would with the steaming directions above. Cool the mushrooms and drain. Once they are drained and cooled you can package, seal, and place them into your freezer.
Steamed mushrooms will last longer overall than the mushrooms cooked in the fat, so take that into account before heating your mushrooms.