If you buy pre-packaged mushrooms then a “best if used by” date will usually make your decision easy whether to keep or toss them out. But what if you add your own to a paper bag in the store? It’s confusing and the last thing you want is to eat expired food. Understanding how long mushrooms last will make your life a lot easier.
We've compiled some advice below on the life expectancy of mushrooms. These times are more focused on food quality rather than whether you'll get sick from Salmonella or some other nasty bacteria. For example, whole mushrooms will last a little over a week in the fridge if stored properly. After this time, you'll find that the texture, flavor and visual appearance will start to deteriorate. Although you could probably get away with still using the mushrooms, you may be better to simply buy fresh ones if it's going to affect the quality of your meal.
Table of Contents
How long do mushrooms last?
Storage type: Refrigerated
|Type of mushroom
|Raw mushrooms - whole
|Raw mushrooms - sliced
Storage type: Frozen
|Type of mushroom
|Raw mushrooms – whole or sliced
Storage type: Counter
|Type of mushroom
How to check if a mushroom has gone bad
The above tables provide some useful guidance on how long mushrooms keep. In reality, these time frames will vary depending on the type of mushroom, their age when bought from the store, fridge quality and how they’ve been packaged for storage. With all these variables your best bet is to do visual check of the ‘shrooms. If they’re showing signs of deterioration – it’s time to use them or lose them.
Keep an eye out for…
- Wrinkly skin: their texture is unpleasant in salads and when used in other recipes where the mushroom remains raw. If you’re cooking soups, sauces, casseroles or a mushroom tart you can probably get away with using them.
- Slimy skin or dark spots: there’s something about slimy, discolored mushrooms that makes my skin crawl. They won’t necessarily kill you to eat them, but your best bet it to toss them and go for a fresh batch.
- Unpleasant smells: a fresh mushroom emits a mild earthy aroma; anything more pungent is a sign that it’s time to discard them. Note: Some less known varieties of mushroom have a stronger odor so only apply the sniff test to common types like the “white button” which is found in most supermarkets.
Storage tips for mushrooms
- To get the most out of your mushrooms store them in the vegetable crisper in a sealed brown paper bag. Give them some space to breathe rather than stuffing them tightly against other vegetables.
- Avoid using airtight containers or plastic wrap when possible as they’ll speed up the spoilage process.
- Never store mushrooms on the counter.
- Although paper offers the best storage material, mushrooms that come on trays covered in plastic wrap can be stored in their original wrapping.
Can mushrooms be frozen?
Raw mushrooms can be frozen for 10-12 months. They tend to become mushy when thawed thanks to the high water content in them. If you decide to freeze them you're best to add them to soup, slow cooked meals and sauces.
Another option when freezing is to slice and then sauté the mushrooms until tender; allow to cool before packaging in freezer bags. The thawed end result will be much improved and less mushy.
Can you get sick from eating old mushrooms?
As with any perishable food, there is always a chance of getting sick from eating old mushrooms. Bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella are two potentially life threatening food-borne illnesses. Cooking food thoroughly will kill harmful germs and allow you to safely eat it.
How long does chicken last out of the fridge?
Common sense should always prevail in the kitchen. We’ve provided some guidelines on how long mushrooms last but a quick visual check will be just as useful. Food safety is important, but so too is food wastage. Vast quantities of food are wasted each year because we follow “best by” dates with very little flexibility. If the mushrooms have maintained their color and texture then they should still be fine to eat.