Today we are considering the question, “how long do mushrooms last?” and we provide an array of recommendations for getting your mushrooms to last as long as possible

How long do mushrooms last? Well, it depends on a few different factors. Are we talking about fresh mushrooms or preserved mushrooms? Fresh mushrooms do not have the longest refrigerator shelf life, but there are ways to preserve your fresh mushrooms so they last much longer.

Fresh mushrooms, if placed in refrigeration, can last up to 10 days if they are whole and not sliced. Fresh, sliced mushrooms stay good for about one week in refrigeration.

Below we get into more information on the viability of mushrooms, including how to tell if your refrigerated mushrooms are still good to eat. I also get into methods for preserving mushrooms and mushroom spawn.

How long do mushrooms last? Knowing when mushrooms have gone bad

One method used to tell if a mushroom has gone bad is by simply touching the mushroom. If the surface of the mushrooms feels sticky or slimy, then there’s a good chance that the mushroom has passed its prime. Note, however, that there are some mushrooms that have a slimy texture naturally, even when they haven’t gone bad. This is the case with the chestnut mushroom, which is a tasty edible gaining popularity among mushroom consumers. If you notice your fresh mushrooms starting to get slimy or sticky and you’ve had them for a week or so, you can cook them right away instead of throwing them out if you feel the change has just begun.

Mushrooms may also get darker in color or develop a stronger, earthy odor when getting to a place where they are not worth eating. Some mushrooms may also wrinkle and dry out opposed to getting slimy and sticky. Either instance is a way to notice that the mushroom is no longer worth eating.

How long do mushrooms last? Considerations for mushroom spawn

I get lots of inquiries through the website asking about ways to store unused spawn that has been purchased through our online store. Plug spawn, which is used by mushroom growers who inoculate logs, can last between six months and one year if the unused plug spawn is kept closed in a dark refrigerated area. Bags of sawdust spawn can also last that long in the same conditions, although you will have a better chance of getting it to remain viable if the bag is sealed and not already used.

How to get your mushrooms to last longer than usual

Fresh mushrooms are delicious, there is no question about that. However, the short shelf life can be tricky to manage for some people. I’ve spoken with many people who have seen their mushrooms spoil because they forgot about them in the fridge or were too busy to notice how quickly the mushrooms can turn. Fortunately, there are some ways to preserve mushrooms that will allow them to keep longer.

Here’s a look at three popular ways of preserving mushrooms so they can be usable much longer.

Drying mushrooms: Drying mushrooms is a great option when you have an abundance of mushrooms. 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 should be crisp, and make a snapping sound when fully dried.

Tincturing mushrooms: Making mushroom tinctures is a popular way to preserve the beneficial constituents in mushrooms, especially mushrooms known to have healthful constituents like:

  • Polysaccharides
  • Beta-glucans
  • Triterpenes
  • Phenols
  • Sterols
  • Statins
  • Indole compounds
  • Enzymes

We are a big believer in making mushroom tinctures and offer some of chaga and reishi mushrooms. When making these tinctures we triple extract so the tincture becomes highly concentrated. We use both alcohol and water extraction to preserve the various constituents accordingly, as some are water soluble while others are alcohol soluble. This allows us to get as many beneficial constituents as possible, and more than those making tinctures who do not follow both water and alcohol extraction procedures. Tinctures have a long shelf life because of the alcohol natural preserving properties. Mushroom tinctures can last for years.

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Freezing mushrooms: The best way to freeze most mushrooms is to cook them before putting them in the freezer. This can be done by blanching, steaming, or frying.

Mushrooms need some preparation in order to be frozen. This can be done by selecting the mushrooms you want to freeze, cutting off decay spots, and gently cleaning the mushrooms by either lightly washing with water or by dry brushing with a mushroom brush. Cut large mushrooms into smaller pieces. Mushrooms of 1” across or smaller will be the best size for freezing.

Once the mushrooms are prepared in this manner, you will then need to cook them. Regardless of the cooking method you use, it should take between three and five minutes, depending on the size of the mushrooms. Once they have been cooked, set them aside to cool and drain any excess liquid. Once drained and cooled you can package, seal, and place the mushrooms in the freezer.