Mushrooms are a delicious add-on to various recipes for pasta, mushroom soup, salad, or stew. Oftentimes when we go to a fancy restaurant or to a friend’s house for dinner, we see mushrooms on the menu in one way or another. There’s a good reason for that: mushrooms are a terrific, versatile addition to the kitchen.
Though mushrooms are a go-to ingredient for many aspiring (and professional) chefs, they can expire a little quicker than other foods and it’s important to determine how to tell if mushrooms are bad.
Ways To Tell If Mushrooms Are Bad
Some telltale signs will inform you if mushrooms are done with and it’s actually not too hard to determine if they’ve expired.
They Are Slimy
If your mushrooms have developed a slight film to them and their skin is slimy, you know you have some bad mushrooms on your hands. Chances are they’ve been in the fridge for too long or they haven’t been stored properly, so they went a little slimy. When this happens it’s well-known that you should chuck them in the garbage. If they’ve gone slimy then they’ll more than likely develop mold soon, which is another reason to get rid of them.
They Have A Funky Smell
This is pretty much true of every food, but once your mushrooms have developed a funny smell, you should get rid of them. Mushrooms already carry an aroma, but there’s a difference between smelling mushrooms when they’re close to your face and smelling them when you’re across the room. You’ll know for sure if your mushrooms have a bad scent if you can smell something that’s close to ammonia.
They Develop Wrinkles And Dark Spots
Though a slimy mushroom is the first way to tell a bad mushroom from a fresh one, another big sign is if they develop wrinkles. Some mushrooms will go wrinkly and shrivel up when they dehydrate. If your mushrooms look like they’re way too shriveled then it’s time to get yourself a fresh batch.
Their color will also darken when they’re past their prime. Mushrooms will either go darker entirely or they’ll develop dark marks on them. Dark spots tend to appear on the cap and the darkening tends to occur on the stem. If you see either of these things happen then it’s best to chuck these ones and grab newer ones because they’re definitely starting to go bad.
How To Store Mushrooms Properly
So we’ve covered different ways that mushrooms spoil, but how to about protecting them? There are several different methods to try in order to keep your mushrooms fresher, longer.
First, let’s go over how long mushrooms actually last. If you purchased full mushrooms from the supermarket then those will last you about 4-7 days in the refrigerator.
If you bought the kind of pre-packaged mushrooms that come in cellophane then you’re looking at a very similar shelf life. Store bought mushrooms tend to last about 5-7 days when stored correctly in the refrigerator.
You’ll want to keep your mushrooms stored properly in the refrigerator so they last longer. If you bought them from the store then you should remove them from the plastic and store them in a paper bag instead. This is also true for whole mushrooms you purchase. Don’t keep them in the little plastic grocery bag. Mushrooms need to be stored in paper bags so they can breathe. Plastic tends to quicken the spoiling process.
If you’re looking to store them in the freezer then it might shock you to know that mushrooms can last in the freezer for up to a year. Remember that there are some tips to follow before freezing them, though. Mushrooms need to be cooked before they’re frozen. If you steam your mushrooms for about five minutes you can package them in freezer bags and place them in the freezer for up to 12 months. Just make sure that you leave about half an inch of headspace between your mushrooms and the seal of the bag.
Learning the proper ways to store mushrooms can help you to extend their shelf life and determining how to tell if mushrooms are bad can protect you and your loved ones from food poisoning and a yucky meal. The above tips will keep your ingredients fresh and your meals at their peak.