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How to Tell If Mushrooms Have Gone Bad 

Last Updated: 14.07.24


For those who are looking for healthier alternatives to meat, mushrooms provide about the same amount of proteins without the extra calories and, what’s even better is that you can check some online mushroom growing kits reviews to easily find the one that best suits you to grow these fungi at home. 

However, they are more sensitive than most fruits and vegetables and can easily go bad, which means you have to be extra careful when integrating them into your dishes if you want to enjoy their properties and get all the nutrients out of them. If you plan on cooking with mushrooms, these tips will help you tell which ones are fresh and which ones you should get rid of. 


How long do mushrooms last?

Mushrooms are amongst the most versatile ingredients in the kitchen, perfectly blending with meat, pasta, fresh vegetables, or dough. They can become the base ingredient in soups, stews, vegetarian hamburgers and meatballs, and they are extremely healthy. 

Mushrooms are rich in proteins, providing a healthier alternative to the meat while also keeping you satiated. Moreover, they contain important amounts of Vitamins B, C, and D, as well as other nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, and potassium, perfect for keeping you healthy and resilient all-year-long. 

But, as we previously mentioned, they are quite hard to stock and must be consumed as fresh as possible so that you can benefit from all their properties. Their expiration date depends on how and where you store them, as well as how fresh they were when you harvested them. 

For instance, fresh whole mushrooms may last up to 10 days in the fridge, while the sliced ones shouldn’t be kept for more than one week. Cooked mushrooms are good for 7-10 days, while dried mushrooms can be used for up to 2-3 years. 

Dried mushrooms are used as toppings for pizza but can also become the main ingredient in pasta dishes and soups. 


How to keep mushrooms fresh for longer 

If you don’t plan on using your mushrooms right away, several tricks can help you prolong their freshness for a few more days. When properly prepared, mushrooms can be stored and used for up to 10 days without losing their properties or taste. 

Specialists recommend keeping the fungi unpeeled and whole in a zip-lock plastic bag before putting them in the fridge as this will prevent them from getting slimy and going bad before their term. 

The first thing you need to do to prolong the life of your mushrooms is to let them breathe properly. Keep them in paper bags with the top loosely rolled up inside the fridge or use plastic bags. 

Paper towels are a great way to store mushrooms too because they allow them to breathe and prevent them from getting too moist. However, you should change the towels regularly to prevent the extra moisture absorbed getting in contact with the mushrooms and destroying them.

As we previously mentioned, mushrooms are more sensitive than your regular fruits and veggies, so it would be best to not stack anything on top of them as they can easily bruise. 

Moreover, avoid placing them in the fridge’s crisper drawer as the environment there is too moist. And, if you want to keep your fungi in the best shape, don’t store them near foods with strong odors, including cheese or garlic. 

Whole or sliced mushrooms can stay fresh for longer than one week if you freeze them. Use special bags and containers to store your mushrooms and you can freeze them for up to 8 months and use them in your foods whenever you want. 

Generally speaking, if you de-freeze them or take them out of the fridge, it is best to cook them in the next two hours to prevent bacteria from forming and destroying their properties. So, if you want to learn to properly tell whether or not the mushrooms you’re using are fresh, here is what you should take into account.


How to tell your mushrooms went bad

They have been around for two weeks or so

Unless you freeze or dry them, mushrooms won’t stay fresh for more than 7-10 days, no matter how much you look after them and keep them in perfect conditions inside the fridge. So, the easiest way to tell if your mushrooms are still good to go is to consider the time you bought or harvested them. 

Unfortunately, unless you harvest them yourself, you cannot tell for sure the exact day the mushrooms were picked which means that, if you buy them from the local supermarket, you should cook them within 3-4 days. However, if they look or smell fine and have spent around two weeks in the fridge, they are still good to go, especially if you plan on cooking them in soups, stews, or pasta.


They emit a certain odor

Fresh mushrooms do smell “fresh” so keeping them inside the fridge for too long might change their smell. If you notice any strong odor coming from their part, they most likely need to be thrown away and not even used for soups or stews. 

Mushrooms already carry an aroma but there is a big difference between what they normally smell like when they are freshly harvested and how they smell after being kept in the fridge for too long. 

Some people mention that the smell of bad mushrooms is similar to ammonia so, if this is the vibe you’re getting when you’re opening the fridge or stepping into the pantry, it’s time to say goodbye to those mushrooms. 


They look or feel slimy

Slimy mushrooms are not good to eat anymore. They usually get this consistency when they are kept in the fridge for too long and too much moisture will create this slippery coat on them. At this point, although it is advisable to toss the mushrooms away, you can still cook them after properly washing them. 

Keep in mind that fungi don’t come with protective skin like bananas, potatoes, or carrots, so you cannot peel anything off to remove the slime. 

You can choose to cook them right away only after carefully washing them and removing all the dirt and impurities from their caps and bottoms. Adding some salt into the water that you use to wash them or swapping water for vinegar would also be a good idea to kill all bacteria and revive your mushrooms. 


They have wrinkles

Just like the human skin, if mushrooms don’t get enough moisture, they will start getting wrinkly. Although your face cream won’t help them too much, it is important to know that mushrooms, at this point, can still be eaten without concerns. 

If they just started getting wrinkles, you can rehydrate them by sprinkling them with water. Wrinkles are part of the drying process, which means they can still be integrated into delicious recipes as long as you don’t wait too long. However, if your mushrooms already look too wrinkly or dry, it might be a safer choice to toss them away. 


They have dark spots or they’re darker

Finally, the easiest way to spot if your mushrooms have gone bad is to look for dark spots, mold, or a darker overall color. Keep in mind that, depending on the type, mushrooms can come in a variety of colors and shades but they mostly revolve around white and brown. 

By the time the fungi develop dark spots, mold, or mildew on top, you can either toss them away or take the long road and make them edible again. 

If you still want to use the mushrooms in your recipe, you first have to wash them carefully and remove all the dark spots from the surface. You might want to also separate the tail from the head and see if the tail has any mold or dark spots inside too. If this is the case, try to remove the rotten part or throw away the tail entirely. 

Again, using water with salt or a combination of water and vinegar might remove most of the dark spots and bacteria from the mushrooms, which will make them good for cooking in the next couple of hours. 



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