The Absolute Best Ways To Keep Mushrooms Fresh

Spoiled produce happens to the best of home cooks. But when the produce is something that is particularly delicate like mushrooms, it can be even more frustrating since they can spoil so quickly. But with the right preparation and care, you can keep mushrooms fresh and ready to use for much longer than you might expect. Whether you want to store them for the long-term or simply want them to stay as good as the day you bought them for a week or so longer, there is a way.

From storing the mushrooms in the fridge to drying them out (to be rehydrated much later), you can take a few different approaches to preserving mushroom freshness. But one of the most important things to consider when storing mushrooms is the humidity of their environment. After all, it is moisture that the mushrooms release that causes them to spoil more quickly, according to Food52. In the right setting, though, that moisture will be absorbed.

Use the original packaging with ventilation

You might be surprised to learn that mushrooms can actually thrive in their original packaging. However, that does depend on how exactly the mushrooms were packaged. According to Food52, mushrooms in packaging that features plastic wrap punctured with holes provides a perfect environment. So, if your mushrooms come in a plastic box and are completely covered in plastic wrap, you will need to punch a couple of holes in the wrap to let the package breathe.

Mushrooms are OK in the plastic prepackaging, but they need the holes in the covering wrap to allow moisture to escape; again, mushrooms release moisture. When the moisture can leave the packaging, the mushrooms can stay dryer, which in turn prevents them from spoiling so fast. So, if you plan to use your use your mushrooms within a few days, just punch a few holes in the plastic-wrap packaging if it doesn't already come with a few holes in the top.

Wrap them in paper towels

To store fresh mushrooms for a little longer, up to a week or so, you will need to remove them from the original packaging, per The Spruce Eats. By removing the mushrooms and placing them into a more absorbent storage container, the excess moisture that is given off can be more easily wicked away. That's why it is important to use good materials to store mushrooms in the fridge for a longer period.

To begin with, you should wrap the mushrooms in paper towels which will be the first layer of absorption (via Food Network). Once the mushrooms are bundled up, you can place them in a bag that you do not seal. While a plastic bag will work, placing the wrapped mushrooms in a paper bag is even better because the paper bag acts as a second absorbent layer. Regardless of the bag you use, avoid stashing them in the crisper drawer, which holds in too much moisture for the mushrooms.

Cook and freeze mushrooms

If you know you cannot use the mushrooms you have before they spoil, then you might want to consider an even longer-term storage method. Freezing is definitely one way to keep mushrooms good for months to come. However, you will have to invest a little more time and effort into preparing them. But once the mushrooms are ready for storage, you'll be glad to have them on hand for all kinds of cooked dishes. Keep in mind, mushrooms will not be as good for fresh use after being frozen because their texture will change, as BBC Good Food explains.

To freeze mushrooms, you can begin by sautéing them, broiling or roasting the mushrooms or even steaming them — whatever cooking method you prefer. Once the mushrooms are cooked, you can flash-freeze them on a baking tray and then add them to an airtight container to be placed in the freezer for the future. Just remember that this process needs to happen before the mushrooms start to spoil for the best results (via The Spruce Eats).

Dry mushrooms in the oven

Another method for long-term storage is to dry the mushrooms out using a dehydrator or simply your oven. According to The Spruce Eats, this method is great for a number of cooked dishes that call for mushrooms because they can regain their original taste and texture when soak in a liquid. So, adding them to stews, soups, and casseroles are great options when you have dried mushrooms on hand.

To dry mushrooms in the oven, you'll need to use a low temperature over a long timeframe like most drying processes. Using this method, all of the moisture inside of the mushrooms, which already have a very high water content, will be cooked out and evaporated, per The Kitchn. Once the mushrooms have dried and do not contain any more moisture, you can store them in an airtight container in the pantry until you need to use them.

So, evaluate how long you need your mushrooms to stay good and how you'd like to use them. With that knowledge, you can choose the best storage method to suit your needs.