How to store fresh mushrooms?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “How to store fresh mushrooms?” and will discuss different ways to store fresh mushrooms.

How to store fresh mushrooms?

To store the fresh mushrooms, Fold the top of a brown paper bag over and place entire, unwashed mushrooms inside. Then place the bag in the refrigerator’s main compartment. The bag absorbs excess moisture from the mushrooms, preventing them from becoming mushy or moldy.

The storage conditions are highly important for the quality of fresh mushrooms. The best results are obtained by storing in a cool chamber at 0-2°C with relative air humidity of 90%. A study showed that, at this temperature, Agaricus bisporus can be stored for 7-9 days, at 15°C for 2-3 days and at room temperature for 18 hours only (1).

Purchasing different types of mushrooms

The first step in dealing with mushrooms is to purchase high-quality specimens. What to check for varies depending on the kind of mushroom you’re purchasing (3).

·         Cremini: Make sure white or cremini mushrooms are firm, plump, and clean. The stem should be connected to the cap.

·         Portobello: Take a whiff of portobello mushrooms. They should have earthy odors and healthy-looking gills.

·         Shiitake: Shiitake mushrooms should have smooth, firm tops and be sensitive, not slimy or dry.

Cleaning etiquette of mushrooms

Like sponges, all mushrooms absorb water. If they’re going into a salad or soup, just rinse them. Simply wipe them clean with a moist paper towel or brush them with a pastry brush if you’re pan-frying.

Should you Stem or Should you Not Stem the mushrooms?

The woody stems of shiitake mushrooms and portobellos are too fibrous to consume. You may either throw them away or clean them and utilize them to make stocks and broths. Trim the very end of the cremini stems to make them soft and tasty.

Secret of Storing mushrooms

The trick to mushroom storage is that removing them from their container allows them to last longer. Refrigerate them after wrapping them in paper towels and placing them in open plastic bags (paper bags are much better) (3).

Mushrooms in the Fridge: How to Store Them?

Darkening, elongation of stems, opening of caps and hardening of the flesh are common alterations that occur in mushrooms during storage. A rapid increase in the biogenic amino acids can also be measured. These substances indicate progressive deterioration of the mushroom. A study showed that 12 days of storage at 12°C caused a decrease of 36% in the level of sugar and 9% in the level of compounds related to flavor. A high loss in amino acids was also noticed (1). Therefore, to minimize losses, some actions are recommended:

·         Mushrooms should not be stored in the crisper drawer since it is too damp.

·         Place mushrooms away from meals that have strong scents or tastes, since they will absorb them like a sponge.

·         Make sure you don’t put anything else on top of them. Mushrooms that have been squished and damaged don’t seem very appealing, and they won’t last long.

·         Some mushrooms last longer in the refrigerator than others. To prevent wasting mushrooms, purchase them close to when you want to utilize them.

·         Consider freezing or drying mushrooms if you need to keep them for longer than a week.

Mushrooms: How to Freeze Them

Mushrooms freeze well, although it’s ideal to freeze them as soon as possible. Don’t wait until your mushrooms start to go bad in the fridge before freezing any of them. If you have a huge mushroom harvest, plan ahead of time to put aside some for immediate use and others for later consumption. Try to estimate how many you’ll use in the next week so you can freeze the remainder before they spoil.

Before freezing mushrooms, they must be cooked or blanched. This will stop the enzyme from working, maintaining the quality of the product, so don’t skip it. Blanching is indispensable since it prevents the darkening of mushrooms during storage and defrosting. Mushrooms must be bleached before they are frozen. Blanching should not exceed 1 minute since prolonging bleaching to approximately 5 min results in a distinct hardening. A study showed that blanching mushrooms for 20 seconds in water can be applied to preserve good color and minimize the hardening. However, blanching and freezing cause textural changes, leading to a hard and rubbery texture after long storage (1).

Mushrooms: How to Dry Them

If you don’t have a lot of freezer space to spare for mushrooms, another alternative is to dry them. Dried mushrooms may be rehydrated as required, and they take up very little cupboard space while doing so. To dry your mushrooms, use a low-temperature oven or a food dehydrator. Then, until you’re ready to use them, store them in an airtight container.

Because of rapid darkening of the mushroom during traditional drying, a temperature of 40°C is used at the start followed by 50-60°C towards the end of the process. Correctly dried mushrooms are characterized by pleasant flavor and crispness, their water content not exceeding 12%. Because of drying, there is a considerable reduction in the level of vitamin C, due to its low stability under heat. However, high content of potassium and considerable amounts of magnesium and iron are found in dried mushrooms. Industrial drying processes for mushrooms include vacuum microwaving and freeze-drying  (1).

Try a tiny quantity of dried mushrooms if you’ve never tried them before. You could discover that they’re just as wonderful as fresh mushrooms after you figure out how to rehydrate them. If nothing else, having dried mushrooms on hand is handy for tossing into homemade soups.

Mushrooms Can Be Used in a Variety of Ways

Here are some suggestions on what to do with your mushrooms before they go bad. Toss them in spaghetti, top pizzas with them, put them in soup, or sauté them in butter and pile high on burgers. Steak with sautéed mushrooms is also a wonderful side dish. Simply looking through your recipe collection will reveal a plethora of dishes that might benefit from the addition of a handful of mushrooms.

How to Recognize When Mushrooms Have Been spoiled?

When mushrooms have gone rotten, there are several telltale indicators. The presence of high bacterial populations in fresh mushrooms is a major factor that significantly diminishes quality by causing a brown, blotchy appearance. There are several indicators that determine the quality of mushrooms, such as whiteness, cap development, stipe elongation, and number of ripe spores, reduction in whiteness or development of browning, weight loss and microbial deterioration (2). Avoid food poisoning by avoiding mushrooms that have any of the following characteristics:

·         They have a slimy texture.

·         They’ve become wrinkled.

·         There are black blotches on them.

·         They have a foul odor.

Because mushrooms may develop mold when they deteriorate, which is unhealthy to eat, it’s recommended to err on the side of caution. Even slimy mushrooms may make you feel sick or give you food poisoning. Fresh mushrooms carry many bacteria and yeasts. Common bacteria found in mushrooms are Pseudomonas spp., Trichoderma harzianum and Flavobacterium spp. (2). 

Other FAQs about Mushrooms that you may be interested in.

Can you eat white mushrooms raw?

Can you eat the gills of a portobello mushroom?

Can you eat elephant ear mushrooms?

Can you freeze cooked mushrooms?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “How to store fresh mushrooms?” and discussed different ways to store fresh mushrooms.

References

  1. Bernaś, Emilia, Grażyna Jaworska, and Waldemar Kmiecik. Storage and processing of edible mushrooms. Acta Scient Polon Tehcnol Alim, 2006, 5, 5-23.
  2. Singh, Preeti, et al. Recent advances in extending the shelf life of fresh Agaricus mushrooms: a review. J Sci Food Agric, 2010, 90, 1393-1402.
  3. Mushrooms. The Nutrition Source. Harvard School of Public Health.

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.