The high moisture content level in the mushrooms makes them highly perishable. That’s why proper storage is essential. If you leave them at room temperature, a rude shock could be awaiting. The room temperature is an excellent breeding ground for microorganisms, thus spoiling your mushrooms. The secret of your mushrooms staying fresh for long is buying the right mushroom and refrigerating them properly. So, what do you consider when purchasing them?
Tips for Buying Mushrooms
When buying fresh mushrooms, there is neither an expiry date nor a sell-by date to guide you. So your proper judgment will help you to choose the best. If you buy one that has stayed on the shelf for over one day, the chances of spoiling faster are high. So what should you do?
Buy the Best-Looking Loose Mushrooms
Pre-packaged mushrooms may contain some mushrooms that are not fresh. In case one is spoilt, it will spread to the others and spoil the rest. If you are lucky to note the spoilt one before it spread, remove it immediately and cook the rest soonest. To avoid such inconveniences, avoid the pre-packaged ones and choose the best-looking loose ones. You also have the opportunity of buying extra mushrooms.
Avoid Sliced Mushrooms
What should you do if there are no loose mushrooms but only the pre-packaged ones? Consider if they are for immediate consumption or you intend to store them. For immediate use, buy the sliced mushrooms. If you want to store them, go for the whole mushroom. The reason being, the sliced ones spoil faster compared to the whole mushrooms.
Buy Farm-Fresh Mushrooms
Since old mushrooms spoil faster, buy the freshest from the farmer who grows them. You can also locate someone who collects them from the wild. You will have a guarantee that they are fresh and get them at a friendly price. You will also have a variety to choose from.
Avoid washing the mushrooms
Once you purchase your mushrooms, they might be dirty. Don’t make a mistake of washing them since they will absorb more moisture and spoil faster. Just rinse them when cooking. If they are so dirty, use a soft brush to scrub the dirt off.
Storing of Mushroom
Now that you already have your mushrooms, how to keep mushrooms fresh? You can put them in a refrigerator, freeze them, dry or buy canned ones.
Maybe you are wondering, how long do mushrooms last in the refrigerator? If you store them properly at a temperature of 40-45 degrees F, they can last for 7-10 days. If you are not careful, the fridge will dry your mushrooms. If the moisture content increases, they will go bad quickly. That’s why you need to let them breathe. So how will you achieve that? Let them remain in their original packaging. Any excess moisture will sneak out through the holes in it.
If you decide to open the bag and remove some, re-wrap the rest using a shrink wrap and make small holes. Put them in a refrigerator and keeps on checking them not to spoil.
If you don’t have the original packaging, use a brown paper lunch bag. Take a damp paper towel and wrap your mushrooms. That will protect them from drying out. Leave it opens to prevent them from soaking with moisture. Since they are very porous, avoid putting them next to something with a strong smell like fish and onions. If you do, they absorb that smell and the taste. They are fragile, so any mistake of putting another food on the top will squish them and lower their shelf life.
Luckily, you don’t have to feel pressured to eat them within a week. You can freeze the mushrooms, and they will last for 10-12 months. Start by cleaning them and spreading them on paper to dry. Brush off the stubborn dirt, either using a towel or mushroom brush. Slice your mushroom using an egg slicer to get uniform pieces. Finally, sauté them and let them cool on a cookie sheet. If you touch them and confirm they are cold, put them in a resalable plastic bag and freeze them. Note that, the longer your mushrooms remain in the freezer, the more it changes its original taste and texture.
If texture and freshness are none of your concern, consider buying canned mushrooms. Despite them having a longer best before date, once you open them, you need to take them soonest. The bacteria build up faster once you leave your opened container on your cupboard. So, put any unused canned mushroom in your refrigerator and take them within four days.
If you don’t have a freezer of a refrigerator, consider buying dried mushrooms. If the dried mushroom is not available, use the food dehydrator to dry them on your own. Put it in an airtight container and store it at room temperature in a less humid place. Within a year, you will have enough mushrooms to help make your soup.
How to Identify Spoilt Mushroom
The secret of your mushroom remaining fresh for long depends on your judgment when purchasing and storage. If you buy old mushrooms, they will spoil faster. So buy fresh mushrooms that are whole if you intend to store them. You can also buy canned or dried mushrooms. Keep on checking if your mushrooms are okay. If you notice any warning signs, eat them immediately or dispose of them if need be.
John DiBella is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, a cooking enthuthiast and a writer. When he’s not writing blogs about home kitchenware, he enjoys hiking, camping, sailing and cooking.