Picture this: you are about to make yourself one hell of a tasty stir fry. As you put your hands to take out a few ‘shrooms and – urgh, they have gone all slimy.
Instead of them being suitable for the dish you are making, they will have to go in the compost.
If that sounds like a (horrifyingly) familiar story to you, then you will most certainly want to figure out how to store mushrooms the correct way to stop this from happening.
It is also an easy thing to do. With a few quick storage solutions, you will have perfect mushrooms available to you for a fair number of days.
So, without further ado, let us take a look at ways to keep those mushrooms dry and edible.
One of the best ways to store mushrooms is by keeping them in their original packaging inside the fridge.
There is actually no need to take them out of the packaging they are available in, as it is a suitable enough place to keep them stored and in good condition for longer.
However, the packaging must have air holes in the plastic wrap to allow any moisture to dry out. So if yours does not, add your own plastic wrap and pierce some holes into it.
Having said that, not everyone buys mushrooms pre-packaged, so what do you do then?
In the Freezer
If you have a few mushrooms leftover in the fridge but are not planning to eat them soon, then you will need to know how to store them for longer.
Clean all of the mushrooms to remove any dirt, cook them (do not skip this step), and then put them into a freezer safe container or bag.
The reason you cook the mushrooms is so that the enzyme action that takes place stops, meaning their quality will not deteriorate, even in the freezer.
Mushrooms can last for a month or two in the freezer, but do be prepared for them to lose their original texture.
They will not be suitable to use for a crisp mushroom salad, for example. Instead, add thawed out mushrooms to veggie burgers and stocks.
If this is a method you are thinking of trying, then make sure that you do not wait until they have become spoiled to freeze them.
When you first open the mushroom package, be mindful of what you will be eating for the next couple of days, and which ones you will be freezing.
In A Paper Bag
If you are the type of person who loves to buy their mushrooms (and other vegetables) loose from the grocery store, then storing them can be a bit of a nightmare at times, especially if you are trying to avoid wasteful packaging.
Whilst your first thought might be to store them in an airtight container, this is best avoided.
Mushrooms release water as they age, and this is what helps them to create that film that covers them. An airtight container cannot dry out the moisture that they make.
A good idea is to use a paper bag. This way, the paper can absorb the moisture and make the mushrooms last longer.
Drying Out The Mushrooms
If you do not have much space to store them in the freezer, then you could try drying them out to rehydrate them later on.
To do this, either use a dehydrator or a low-temperature oven and let them dry out.
Once the process has finished, store them in an airtight container in a cupboard or pantry. This way you can use them up in soups, for example.
If you are new to drying out food, then give a small batch a try first to see how dehydrated you like them.
You might even end up preferring the taste and texture over fresh mushrooms.
How Bad Is A Slimy Mushroom?
Once you see a slimy film has begun to take over your mushrooms, then it is a telltale sign that they have become spoiled.
Whilst there is a chance to be able to cook with them if you have caught it early, it is probably better to get rid of all of them.
If the mushrooms have become darker and the texture mushy, then avoid eating them altogether.
This usually indicates that mold has already begun to form, and this will only make you ill if you eat them.
How To Use Up Mushrooms
If you have more mushrooms than you know what to do with, then there are easy ways to use them up before they go spoiled.
You can slice them up and add them to a pizza or soup. Chopped mushrooms also go really nicely with pasta.
There are many ways to add mushrooms to a dish, whether in butter or left alone – they will taste fantastic as a side dish or as an accompaniment to a flavor.
Quick Mushroom Storing Tips
- Never place mushrooms near other food with stronger flavors and aromas. Mushrooms can absorb the scents and taste like a sponge. So if they are placed near garlic – yes, you guessed it, they will taste like garlic.
- If you do not want your mushrooms to go bad quickly, then avoid putting them in the crisper draw. This is far too moist of an environment for them, and will cause them to go slimy rather quickly.
- If you have no thoughts on how you will store your mushrooms, or any plan to avoid them from going slimy, then always buy your mushrooms close to the date you are going to use them. In fact, this is probably a good tip for everyone.
- Never stack other food on top of mushrooms as this will cause bruising. Not only will the mushrooms not look good, they will not last as long either due to being damaged.
- If you do plan on having mushrooms available for more than a week inside your fridge, then consider the options of freezing them or drying them to make sure they last longer. It is doubtful that mushrooms will still be in good condition after a week, but this also depends on the type of mushrooms they are. Some last longer than others.
What Are the Benefits Of A Mushroom?
Just while we are at it, let us take a look at the amazing benefits of a mushroom – there are many!
Whilst to some people they might not look that appetizing, they are actually really good for us. Here is why:
- Antioxidants – because they include antioxidants, they can help to protect your body from free radicals that are damaging which can cause cancer and heart disease. They are also great for the immune system and can help against the damage caused by aging.
- B vitamins – they are full of B vitamins. These are niacin, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin. All of these play a part in keeping the body well, such as protecting the heart and red blood cells, helping the body to make hormones, keeping the digestive system going, and helping to maintain healthy skin.
- Beta glucan – a form of soluble dietary fiber, it is said to help improve cholesterol and help with heart health in general. These things include helping to regulate blood sugar levels, and to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Potassium – whilst commonly associated with bananas, mushrooms have potassium too! It is really important that you get your potassium as it helps with the muscles, the nerve function, and the heart.
- Copper – it is a really important thing to add copper into your diet due to it helping your body to make red blood cells. These deliver oxygen around the body, so it is a pretty important task. The mineral also helps with maintaining healthy nerves and bones.
Can the Same Freezing Method for Spinach Be Applied to Storing Mushrooms in the Fridge?
When it comes to freezing vegetables like spinach for smoothies, the process is quite straightforward. However, storing mushrooms in the fridge requires a different approach. So, can the same freezing method used for freeze spinach for smoothie be applied to mushrooms? Unfortunately, no. Mushrooms have a high water content and a delicate texture, making them susceptible to freezer burn. Therefore, it is recommended to either consume mushrooms fresh or use alternative methods like drying or canning for long-term storage.
Mushrooms are a delicious thing to eat, and can bring flavor to an otherwise bland dish.
Whilst they are crunchy and tasty when you first bring them home from the grocery store, they can go squishy and slimy as the week progresses.
If this sounds familiar to you, then you will want to know how to store them properly.
Whether it is in a paper bag, the freezer or dehydrated in a container, there are many options to choose when it comes to making the mushrooms last longer and go further each week.