Are discolored mushrooms safe to eat?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “Are discolored mushrooms safe to eat?”. We will discuss the different methods to identify if mushrooms are good to eat. We will also look at the safest storage measures for mushrooms.

Are discolored mushrooms safe to eat?

No, discolored mushrooms are generally not safe to eat. They might be damaged or are turning darker as their color fades, however they are not palatable at this point and should be discarded or composted.

A small degree of darkening is acceptable, so don’t discard mushrooms when the color begins to change, but don’t eat mushrooms that have turned completely brown.

Why do mushrooms discolor?

Mushrooms turn brown as a result of a chemical reaction between ambient oxygen and enzymes found around their cells. When those enzymes are exposed to oxygen, they produce a protein-dissolving dark surface, which is meant to operate as a vexing chemical defense against small worms or insect pests. 

You must take precautions to reduce this effect to preserve your mushrooms in the cleanest, most appealing condition possible.

Because mushrooms lack strong skin as with most fruits and vegetables, they brown gradually even when unharmed. They are only protected by a thin, porous membrane. If you rinse or scrub the mushrooms well before cooking them, you eliminate even that small layer of protection, hastening the browning process. 

The same can be said with cut mushrooms that expose the interior of the mushroom.

How to tell if mushrooms have spoilt?

Darkening and discoloration

They’re darkening or have black spots. Dark patches indicate that your mushrooms are beginning to rot. The greatest thing you can do is keep a close eye on the mushrooms for the duration of their time in the fridge. It’s best either use them or discard them if you see them turning darker or acquiring black patches.

Strong odor

Your mushrooms should not have a strong or obvious odor. The mushrooms have gone bad and they give out a strong smell. Of course, you’ll detect a mushroom odor if you put your face right up to the mushrooms, but it must be mild and delicate. You have rotten mushrooms if they emit an unpleasant odor.

Slippery texture

They have a slimy texture. When it comes to identifying freshness, the first rule of thumb is that if mushrooms are slippery, they’re no longer edible. Mushrooms that were already lying in the refrigerator for too long often get slimy. While they aren’t necessarily harmful at this point, tossing them is still a good kitchen practice.

Wrinkles on the surface

They have creases on their faces. Older mushrooms may not get slimy, but rather dry out and wrinkle. While it’s fine to slightly dry your mushrooms (because they’re already moist vegetables), you don’t want them to become too wrinkly. If they appear to be shriveled, it’s best to throw them rather than eat them.

They’ve been here for at least two weeks

When it comes to mushroom shelf-life/storage duration, the widespread view is that 2 weeks in the refrigerator is the absolute maximum. You must use your best judgment and common sense. If they still appear, smell, and feel good after more than two weeks, they’re generally safe to eat.

How to store mushrooms safely?

Keep the mushrooms in the original packaging

Keeping them in the enclosed containers/bags that they arrive in is one of the most efficient storage methods. There’s no need to shift them to another vessel once you take them home if they’re placed in a cardboard box wrapped in plastic. Don’t open them or meddle with them till you’re ready to utilize them.

Give them enough space to breathe

Keep the mushrooms in such a way that permits them to breathe but doesn’t overdry them. A typical storage method is to keep them inside a paper bag with the top slightly wrapped up inside the refrigerator.

Put them in the freezer

Mushrooms can be frozen and used at a later time. However, because mushrooms hold so much water, freezing them raw is significantly more difficult. If you’re planning to do this, make sure to freeze them on baking paper first, then move them to an airtight container with as much air as possible pushed out. 

Use paper towels and bags

Another method for preserving the freshness of mushrooms is to put them inside plastic bags stuffed with paper towels. If you aren’t going to utilize your mushrooms right immediately, make sure you replace the towels frequently. It’s a good idea to try them in a variety of meals to make sure you use them all up before they spoil!


In this brief guide, we answered the question, “Are discolored mushrooms safe to eat?”. We discussed the different methods to identify which mushrooms are good to eat. We also looked at the safest storage measures for mushrooms.

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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.