How to Tell if Mushrooms are Still Good to Eat
Mushrooms are delicious to accompaniments to many dishes. They make fabulous sauces or can even be stuffed with couscous, rice or mixed vegetables. However, if you purchase your mushrooms fresh either from the market or store, they may go off just a few days after you buy them. Eating mushrooms which have gone off can cause gastrointestinal pains and in more severe cases it can even cause food poisoning. It is essential to learn how to tell if mushrooms are still good to eat. Here at oneHOWTO we will give you a number of tricks so you can know how to tell if mushrooms are still good to eat. You can go back to eating healthy and delicious mushroom dishes without them having gone bad or are spoiled.
If you want to know how to tell if mushrooms are still good to eat, the first thing is to observe the fungi in search of stains. If you see the mushroom has some areas with darker spots, it means that the mushrooms are starting to spoil. These spots will get worse and worse as they spoil more and more. You also shouldn't just cut around the spots as you can't be sure they will not still cause harm.
Another way to know if mushrooms have gone bad is their smell. If you perceive that they smell sour, similar to the smell of ammonia, this means that the mushrooms are rotten. They will be unfit to eat not only because they won't taste very nice. Mushrooms should release an earthy smell, a natural and fresh scent. It should be subtle and not something you can smell at a distance. If you can smell them when you open the refrigerator door, avoid eating them. They are definitely spoiled.
Spoiled mushrooms can also be detected by observing that they have dried or that they have wrinkled considerably since purchasing them. If you are not entirely sure if they have dried, look at the body of the mushroom and search for folds. If there are wrinkles it means that the mushrooms are not good to eat anymore. You can buy dried mushrooms, but these have gone through a different process and their longevity is more guaranteed.
You can also tell if mushrooms have gone off by looking at the bottom of the cap, that is, in the mushroom gills. These gills are used by the mushrooms for spore dispersal, but they can also help you to tell whether your mushrooms are still good to eat. If you see that this area has darkened, it means that the rotting process has begun. As always, you shouldn't take any risks and throw them away.
Another sign that will show you if mushrooms are still good to eat is if you look at the top of the fungus. This is known as the cap and is the round smooth part. If you touch this layer and you see that it has formed a soft and viscous texture, then you should throw them out. This is because mold and bacteria have already started to eat away at the mushrooms causing them to rot. When mushrooms rot, the upper part of this is covered with this viscous layer. A clear sign that the mushroom is going off.
Another sign that your mushrooms have gone bad is if you have them more than 10 days. Although it is not good to waste food, after this time it is advisable to throw the mushrooms away. They will have started to turn bad. This storage time is even less if you have sliced the mushrooms or bought them pre-sliced from the store. Their greater exposure to the air will allow more opportunity for bacteria to start decomposition. The outer layer of the mushroom is there for protection, so if you slice them you should only store for about 7 days. Always check the use-by date for all fresh produce to avoid spoilage.
Some tips on storing mushrooms
We have a comprehensive guide to how to keep mushrooms fresh here, but here is an outline.
- keep mushrooms as dry as you can away from moisture
- you can seal the mushrooms in a plastic bag or Tupperware box to reduce exposure to air (and therefore bacteria and spoilage)
- in the plastic bag or box, put some kitchen paper inside. The kitchen paper will absorb the moisture from the mushrooms, making them good to eat for longer.
- freeze your mushrooms by putting in a zip-lock bag and keeping in the freezer. This should allow you to keep you mushrooms for months at a time.
At oneHOWTO we have one last piece of advice so that you know how to keep mushrooms fresh: never keep them in the vegetable drawer of the fridge. Why? Because these drawers are designed to conserve vegetable moisture, something that is not good for mushrooms. Your vegetable drawer or crisper will do the opposite.
If you want your mushrooms to last longer, a good idea is to preserve them: there are plenty of techniques you can try at home.
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