How to tell if mushrooms are bad? That’s the question many of us ask every day. Some people even refuse to eat mushrooms out of fear of having something spoiled.
Wild Mushrooms vs. Store-Bought Mushrooms
There are differences that you need to consider when using wild mushrooms as opposed to store-bought mushrooms. When foraging, the first step is to check that the fungus you have is safe to eat. You will then need to clean the mushroom, check for bugs, and any damage.
When you buy commercial mushrooms, these are often already clean and ready to be used. You don’t need to worry about bugs or damage, but you still need to be careful with eating something that has gone bad.
To prevent any food poisoning or illness, use these 10 tips to tell if your mushrooms are bad and prevent spoilage:
Tip #1: See if your mushrooms are slimy
The first thing to check for when you are buying or cooking with mushrooms is whether they are slimy. This is often a sign that the mushrooms have been in the fridge for too long. You should always search for a dry surface; otherwise, the mushroom isn’t edible anymore.
Tip #2: Check if they have wrinkles
Older mushrooms can become smaller and wrinkly, which is a sign of moisture loss. Once mushrooms turn wrinkled and disheveled you are better off throwing your mushrooms out.
Tip #3: Large whole mushrooms last longer
When you have whole mushrooms instead of chopped, these will probably last a long time. This is due to less surface exposure to the air.
If you notice that the top or bottom of your large mushrooms is turning darker, it may be time to discard them.
Tip #4: They grow dark spots
Mushrooms will begin to grow dark spots as a sign of decay. Keep an eye out for spots anywhere on the mushroom, and if they become darker as a whole, you best throw them out.
Tip #5: Two weeks is usually the longest time that mushrooms stay fresh
In general, all mushrooms last around two weeks stored in the refrigerator. It is still important that you use your judgment and discard any mushrooms that don’t look right even before this time. Sometimes, as with other foods, some mushrooms will stay fresh for longer.
Tip#6: Always smell your mushrooms
This may sound weird, but you should always smell your mushrooms. This is partly because mushrooms shouldn’t have any odor at all, so when they do, you can be sure that they are not edible anymore.
A faint and light scent is normal, but once it becomes evident and strong, then your mushrooms aren’t fresh anymore.
Tip #7: Make sure your mushrooms can breathe when you store them
Allow your mushrooms to breathe, as preventing air from getting to them can cause them to go bad more quickly. To do this, you can keep them inside a paper bag with the top closed loosely.
You can also keep mushrooms in a plastic bag lined with paper towels. The towels can also absorb moisture, which slows down the deterioration process.
Tip #8: To prevent spoilage, keep mushrooms in the original container
The best bet is to always keep mushrooms in the container that you bought them in. This tends to be a cardboard box that has a plastic wrap with a few holes in it. This is an adequate container to keep your mushrooms fresh while you store them.
Even if you open the container and use only half of the mushrooms, you should preserve the wrap and container to store the rest of the mushrooms.
Tip #9: For longer preservation, you can freeze your mushrooms
While not everyone loves to do this, it is a means of safe preservation. You can blanch them for a few minutes and then store them. You can also cook them in a bit of oil and then place them in an airtight container or freezer bags.
Tip #10: Use your mushrooms when they are starting to go bad
Even though the process of spoilage may have started, you can still safely consume them if you are quick about it. One good way to save your mushrooms is to cook them in a bit of olive oil and garlic and brown them for a few minutes. You can then store them in an airtight container in the fridge for use within a day.
Enjoy mushrooms without fear!
Now that you know how to tell if mushrooms are bad, you can safely eat them without any problems. Enjoy them in an egg omelet, with a vegetable stir-fry, or as a side dish for dinner.
When in doubt, throw the mushrooms out if you feel like they look or smell bad. It is always better to be safe and prevent any food poisoning.