Food conservation

How to Tell if Mushrooms are Still Good to Eat

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: February 18, 2021
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. Keep reading to learn more!

You may also be interested in: How to Preserve Mushrooms
  1. How to tell if mushrooms are still good to eat
  2. How to store mushrooms to keep them fresh
  3. Can you freeze mushrooms?
  4. Shelf life of mushrooms

How to tell if mushrooms are still good to eat

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.

How to Tell if Mushrooms are Still Good to Eat - How to tell if mushrooms are still good to eat

How to store mushrooms to keep them fresh

Just as it's important to know when mushrooms are good to eat, it's also important to know how to store mushrooms so they stay fresh. Here at oneHOWTO 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.
How to Tell if Mushrooms are Still Good to Eat - How to store mushrooms to keep them fresh

Can you freeze mushrooms?

As we've previously mentioned, yes you can freeze mushrooms. This will help your mushrooms stay fresh and avoid going bad. In fact, most mushrooms will last up to 12 months when stored properly in the freezer.

Shelf life of mushrooms

Lastly, to give you a better idea of when mushrooms tend to go bad, here is the shelf life of mushrooms:

  • Fresh whole mushrooms stored in the fridge: up to 10 days.
  • Fresh sliced mushrooms stored in the fridge: up to 7 days.
  • Cooked mushrooms stored in the fridge: between 7-10 days.
  • Mushrooms stored in the freezer: between 9-12 months.

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 will do the opposite.

If you want your mushrooms to last longer, a good idea is to preserve them as there are plenty of techniques you can try at home.

Lastly, take a look at this video where Chef Bill will explain how to select and store mushrooms, as well as other mushroom related questions you may have!

If you want to read similar articles to How to Tell if Mushrooms are Still Good to Eat, we recommend you visit our Food & drink category.

Write a comment
What did you think of this article?
MaryAnn Lamb
My mushrooms bought and 4 days later have dark spots they were already sliced my husband tasted and smelled and said they were good can I use them in my spaghetti sauce?
OneHowTo Editor
Hi MaryAnn,

We cannot tell from your comment, we're afraid. You will have to check the guidelines in the article and make a judgment call.
Beverly Farber
Your article was very helpful. My mushrooms were a little sticky, not slimy. I imagine from reading the article they are at the beginning of going slimy and are still good. I was very happy to see the chef put the mushrooms into the paper bag for storage. That is what I do but unfortunately I left these in the box for 4 days.
OneHowTo Editor
It can be tricky as we never want food to go to waste. Over time you can learn to trust your own judgment, but it's also good to exercise caution.
Debbie Campbell
I buy fresh white mushrooms alot and I want to know what the black inside of the white mushrooms mean. Are they still good to eat?
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Debbie,

If you mean the black ridges underneath the cup of some mushrooms (e.g. button mushrooms), these are normal. They are only abnormal if they change color or have the signs they are off detailed in this article.
Donna Byrd
very good information about how to tell if mushrooms are bad and also about storing them...I didn't know you could freeze them!
Greetings, This was the best information,I have read about mushrooms so far. The information will help this writer to save money and to be safe. Thank you
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Mary,

Thank you for the kind words, enjoy your mushrooms!
more pictures
mine are speckled
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Judith,

The problem with mushrooms if they have spots on them is to work out if this is how the mushroom should look naturally or if they are starting to biodegrade. Otherwise, the tips in the article should apply whatever type of mushroom you have.
Brenda Gatlin
Sliced my mushrooms they are black in the middle , ? are they any good ? they smell fine they were not slimy until i washed them could you please help me out . I don't want to make my grandson sick.
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Brenda,

Many mushrooms have black on them naturally, but if you are unsure it's always better to err on the side of caution. You have to have the mushrooms in front of you to be able to tell.
1 of 3
How to Tell if Mushrooms are Still Good to Eat