Make slimy mushrooms a thing of the past. 

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Mushrooms are a finicky fungi. Wondering how to keep them fresh? The best way is to use them within a day or two of purchasing. But I understand that this isn't the most practical advice. Fortunately, you can prolong their life with a little extra care. Follow these steps for storing fresh mushrooms so that they last for up to a week. 

How to Pick Mushrooms

As with all produce, storage starts in the grocery store. Fresh mushrooms will have firm, plump caps with no dry or shriveled patches. They should be slightly damp, but not slimy. The trouble with storing mushrooms is their high water content, so purchasing already-slimy mushrooms is only going to make that battle even more difficult. 

How to Store Fresh Mushrooms

Mushrooms are best kept in the refrigerator, rather than at room temperature. This is because mushrooms, which are made up of 80 to 90 percent water, rapidly lose moisture at room temperature and become susceptible to bacteria growth. Always remember when storing mushrooms: Moisture and heat are the enemies. 

Here's What You'll Need:

  • Mushrooms 
  • Original packaging or paper bag 

Instructions:

  1. If you've purchased your mushrooms at a supermarket, you can keep them in their original packaging. If you have loose mushrooms from a market, transfer the unwashed mushrooms to a brown paper bag and fold the top over.
  2. Place the package or bag in the center of your refrigerator, not the crisper drawer. The crisper drawer is too moist an environment for already-moist mushrooms. 
  3. Wash them immediately before use, and be sure to use them as quickly as possible. Mushrooms will last no longer than a week when stored in the fridge. 

How to Tell When Mushrooms Have Gone Bad

There are a number of tell-tale signs as to when mushrooms have gone bad. Avoid food poisoning by steering clear of mushrooms that exhibit any of the following traits: 

  • They're slimy. 
  • They're wrinkled. 
  • They have dark spots. 
  • They smell, well, bad. 

It's best to err on the side of caution, because mushrooms can grow mold when they spoil, which is harmful to ingest. Even slimy mushrooms can cause nausea or food poisoning. 

Can You Freeze Mushrooms?

If you're wanting to save your mushrooms beyond a week — say if you have precious Morel mushrooms you want to preserve — you can freeze them.

Some varieties will do better than others, but most grocery store varieties (like button mushrooms, creminis, and portobello) are fine to freeze. You'll just need to take some additional steps to ensure they don't end up a pile of mush when thawed. Read our guide to freezing mushrooms to learn how. 

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