How To Store White Mushrooms​

Should Mushrooms Be Washed?

In general, mushrooms do not require washing. Washing mushrooms will make them soak up unnecessary water, making them harder to cook and could turn them funky and slimy if not cooked straight away. Gently brushing them instead is a better way to prepare them for cooking.

Let me expand on that little bit more below:

There are two schools of thought here, with many people who believe that mushrooms should never be washed and that the easiest method of cleaning them should be with a cloth or a brush. A simple brush-off, without using water, is the most effective way of cleaning them.

Mushrooms are also known as nature’s sponges, so when they are cleaned off with water, they tend to soak some of it up, and if they are totally submerged in water, they quickly suck up too much water.

Yet some people believe that a quick wash in water is the only way to clean them properly, to get rid of the sand and peat deposits that cling to mushrooms all the way to the retail outlets. As long as the cleaning process does not entail having the mushrooms getting totally submerged in water for too long a time, then there is nothing wrong with a quick rinse.

From all accounts, both schools of thought have equal merit.

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Best Drying Methods

Pat-pat

Dampened mushrooms need to be placed on a paper towel, with another paper towel placed over them. This will remove initial wetness through absorption. After that, they need to be gently patted down with paper towels until dry. It is a gentle and slow process, as mushrooms are relatively brittle and tend to crumble under too much pressure.

Spinning

Smaller, firmer mushrooms can be spun in a vegetable spinner (like this one here on Amazon).

This method has proven to be the most effective. Some mushrooms only show 2% extra weight in clinical tests after being spun in a dryer after washing. It obviously depends on how long you spin it for, and what kind of fungi it is.

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How to Freeze Mushrooms

Mushrooms freeze well, but it’s best to get them in the freezer as soon as you can. Don’t wait for your mushrooms to start deteriorating in the fridge before you decide to freeze some. If you have a large mushroom haul, be deliberate about setting some aside for eating right away and others for eating later. Try to be realistic about how many you’ll eat in the next week so you can freeze the rest before they go bad.

Mushrooms need to be cooked before they're frozen. This will stop the enzyme action, thereby preserving their quality, so it's important not to skip this step. 

10. Puffball Mushrooms

View this post on Instagram Tonight's supper and tomorrow's fried breakfast sorted. Thank you, nature. #puffball #puffballs #puffballmushrooms #foodforfree A post shared by Mark EK Adams (@mark.ek.adams) on Aug 19, 2017 at 2:31am PDT

Puffballs are some of the wildest looking mushrooms on the list, and they don’t look like other mushrooms. They don’t have caps or gills, instead, they keep their spores on the inside. These often huge white fungus monsters can be a yummy addition to your kitchen. ForagerChef has an excellent review of puffballs, including how to spot them (in the forest or in fields), how to forage for them, prep them (chop away any holes with bugs), and how to cook them (on a grill, sautéed, turned in gravy, or used in ravioli).

Long-Term Shroom Storage

On average, dried magic mushrooms, stored in a cool dark place, have a shelf life of about 8-12 months. It is important to note that even when properly stored, the psychedelic potency of shrooms deteriorates over time, so it is always best to eat your shrooms as fresh as possible.

Freezing dried mushrooms, without any events that might compromise the product, could keep the mushroom’s integrity indefinitely. Freezing mushrooms not only prevents mold and decomposition but it preserves the mushroom’s psilocybin, which holds the psychedelic properties sought after when consuming magic mushrooms.

How to Use Dried Mushrooms

Shiitakes, morels, and chanterelles are just a few of the mushrooms that are also available dried. Their flavor is more intense than fresh, and cooking with them is as easy as rehydrating them in boiling water. 

To rehydrate dried mushrooms, place them in a  heat-safe bowl; then add enough boiling water to cover. Set a plate or lid on top of the bowl to trap in heat and steam, and soak 20 minutes. Drain. (Reserve the soaking liquid for use in vegetable stocks, or as a 1:1 replacement for fish sauce in curry recipes.) Trim away any tough stems, then use in stews, casseroles, rice dishes, and soups, such as our Wild Mushroom Vegan Pho.

Dried mushrooms can also be ground to a powder and used like a seasoning, as they are in this Morel Mushroom and Apple Salad

What to Look for and What to Avoid When Buying Mushrooms

Have you ever bought mushrooms with the best of intentions, only to shove them in the back of your produce drawer … and then a week later, you dig out a carton of sad brown goo? I’m guilty. So, it pays to look closely and get the freshest mushrooms you can, because those will last longer in the fridge.

With any variety, look for mushrooms that are smooth, firm, and dry. Slimy, soft, and spotty is bad. Avoid those!

Younger mushrooms are more compact, with closed caps. Slightly more mature mushrooms have caps that open to reveal the gills on the undersides. These mushrooms have more flavor, but their texture means they might be a bit slimier when cooked, because those dark, feathery gills break down easily when exposed to heat.

14. Matsutake Mushrooms (Pine mushrooms)

View this post on Instagram Matsutake tempura is a nice and simple preparation that allows the distinctly cinnamon-pine-funky flavor of the mushroom to shine through. It's great with any mushroom, but matsutake are flushing now, so why not? #recipe is on the blog . #cooking #japanesefood #japanesecooking #tempura #mushroomtempura #matsutake #matsutaketempura #americanmatsutake #whitematsutake #tricholomamagnivelare #food #wildfood #wildmushrooms #mushrooms #foraging #instagood #instayum #instafood #f52grams #nomnom #homecooking A post shared by Jen Yu (@jenyuphoto) on Sep 5, 2017 at 10:24am PDT

Matsutake mushrooms are highly prized for their uniquely spicy and fragrant nature. While they grow in a range of regions, ranging from US/Canada to Sweden to China. But they are hard to find and offer only one harvest each year, and a persistent nematode is endangering the pine forests in Japan where the mushroom thrives. All of these conditions mean that matsutake mushrooms are often quite expensive. Mycological Society of San Francisco has great suggestions for making the most of this mushroom by using it with grains, in sauce, and more.

Storage Tips

Because of their delicate flesh and high moisture content, mushrooms can perish quickly. But, there are a couple of keys that will keep them fresh longer:

First, they need to breathe to allow the release of ethylene gas they emit after picking.

Photo by Lorna Kring.
Photo by Lorna Kring.

Second, they need to retain enough moisture to prevent drying out – but not so much as to become slimy.

For loose mushrooms, a perforated ceramic, glass, or stoneware bowl, like a berry bowl, is the ideal option – the perforations allow air circulation, while the bowl material will help to retain moisture. Just wrap them gently in a dry paper towel, place in the bowl, and cover loosely with another dry paper towel.

Creative Co-op Multicolor Stoneware Berry Baskets,

Creative Co-op Multicolor Stoneware Berry Baskets, Set of 4, available on Amazon

If you don’t have a berry bowl, any bowl will do – or you can always pick up a perforated bowl on Amazon, like these cute ceramic berry baskets.

Always avoid placing fungi in sealed plastic bags, or you’ll have a slimy mess on your hands in no time.

Did you know: contrary to popular myth, storage in paper bags isn’t a great idea either. Most folks fold over the top to seal the bag, but this traps the ethylene, which quickly turns them spongy.

Paper bags are okay, but you need to poke holes in three sides to allow air circulation, and only fold the opening loosely. As ethylene is barely lighter than air, it can become trapped under and around the fungi, and may not fully escape from the open top – poking holes in the bag helps to expel the gas.

Photo by Lorna Kring.
Photo by Lorna Kring.

If you buy prepackaged mushrooms, leave them in their container. These baskets are usually made of styrene or plastic, and have been designed with air channels to retain freshness.

After opening the seal, leave the remainder in the container and cover loosely with a dry paper towel or loose cling wrap.

How Do I Tell If My Shrooms Went Bad?

You’ll know right away if fresh mushrooms went bad. They’ll have a nasty musty odor, and you’ll likely see blue or green fuzzy growths on the caps and stem. Some white fuzziness on the stems is normal — this is the mycelial threads from the fungi trying to grow outwards from the harvested mushrooms.

For dried mushrooms, it’s a little bit more difficult. Clear indications, such as green or blue mold growth, moisture or sogginess, and an awful smell are obvious signs your shrooms went bad. It’s no longer safe to use shrooms that look like this.

If you store your mushrooms correctly, they will remain edible for many, many years. It’s more likely your shrooms will lose their potency than it is for them to go moldy if stored correctly. If you eat your stored mushrooms beyond their “expiration date”, they might just not work. As long as they’re not moldy, they’re very unlikely to make you feel ill.

How to Tell When Mushrooms Have Gone Bad

There are a number of tell-tale signs as to when mushrooms have gone bad. Avoid food poisoning by steering clear of mushrooms that exhibit any of the following traits: 

  • They're slimy. 
  • They're wrinkled. 
  • They have dark spots. 
  • They smell, well, bad. 

It's best to err on the side of caution, because mushrooms can grow mold when they spoil, which is harmful to ingest. Even slimy mushrooms can cause nausea or food poisoning. 

How to Store Magic Truffles

A magic truffle is the below-ground masses of fungi mycelium — rather than the above-ground fruiting bodies.

Only a few species of magic mushrooms will even form truffles, and they tend to be milder than the fruiting bodies of species like Psilocybe cubensis.

However, some people prefer the milder effects of truffles. Others live in parts of the world where truffles are the only legal form of psilocybin available.

Storing magic truffles follows the same methods as

Storing magic truffles follows the same methods as outlines for magic mushrooms.

The main difference with truffles is that they have a longer shelf-life while fresh. If stored in an airtight container, you can keep them in the fridge for 2 or 3 months without any issues.

If you intend to keep your truffles in storage for a long time, you’ll need to dry them out and store them in a mason jar, ziplock, or vacuum-sealed bag.

Mushroom Nutrition

Despite their low calorie content, mushrooms boast an impressive nutritional profile. All types are excellent sources of B vitamins, selenium, and copper. Fun fact: Like people, mushrooms can synthesize vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Commercially produced mushrooms are usually grown in the dark, but wild mushrooms can be rich sources of the vitamin. Some producers now treat button, cremini, and portobellos with UV light to boost their vitamin D content.

Nutrition

Although mushrooms are considered to be a vegetable when it comes to culinary use, in scientific classification they actually belong to the fungi kingdom.

And although mostly pale-fleshed, all varieties have surprisingly high levels of certain antioxidants. These are most notably ergothioneine and glutathione, which may play an important role in the reduction of neurodegenerative diseases associated with aging.

They’re also low in calories, fats, and sodium, and provide small but important levels of vitamin D, fiber, niacin, potassium, proteins, riboflavin, and selenium.

Best Ways to Store Dried Shrooms

Although any airtight container or jar will keep your shrooms for up to a year, freezing dried mushrooms can preserve your stash indefinitely and is by far the best way to store mushrooms for long periods. Vacuum-sealed bags are the best form of storage for freezing.

Mason Jars

The airtight seal of a Mason jar is a great way to store dried shrooms. It is recommended to add a silica pack per jar to eliminate the possibility of moisture. Silica, or silicon dioxide (SiO2), is a desiccant, a substance that absorbs water vapor and can absorb 40 percent of its weight in moisture, making it ideal for shroom storage. Silica packets can help remove any leftover moisture from the shrooms and absorb moisture that may sneak in every time the jar is opened. They can be purchased but it is likely you will find one in a food container or jar in your kitchen that can be reused. Mason jars filled with dried shrooms should be stored out of sunlight and away from heat, such as a cabinet or closet.

Vacuum Seal Bags

Vacuum-sealed bags are an ideal form of storage, and the machines can easily be found online and at most home goods stores. The machines are easy to operate, and sucking out all the air removes the many issues that may come up with other forms of storage. It is ideal to keep vacuum-sealed bags in the freezer. Remember, it may be difficult to reseal the bag when removing small amounts of shrooms at a time, so depending on how much you are storing, it might be in your best interest to break the stash into a few separate vacuum-sealed bags.

Grocery Store vs. Wild Picked Mushrooms

Unless the person who delivered your wild mushrooms is a known expert, DO NOT handle or cook with wild picked mushrooms.

While fresh morels are a delicious wild-picked option, there are several mushrooms that look like morels but may be hallucinogenic, poisonous or both.

Fresh mushrooms from the grocery store are a great addition to cold salads and hot pasta dishes. They can be stuffed, roasted, sautéed or dried. Keep them from getting too damp while waiting to cook them.

While the promise of unique wild mushroom flavor can be exciting, take care to never eat wild mushrooms unless selected by a well-trained mycologist, or mushroom expert.

Grocery Store Mushrooms

Grocery store mushrooms offer a little grace period to the home cook.

If the cap mushrooms you brought home were whole and unbruised, you should get up to seven days of healthy, dry-to-the-touch mushrooms for your favorite dishes before the mushrooms go slimy.

However, it’s important to remember that mushrooms are grown in a rather rough neighborhood. There are plenty of contaminants that may have come in contact with your mushrooms before you even open the package.

If you have the cooking time, put your fresh mushrooms to good use within a couple of days – your palate will thank you.

Tips

  • Storing in a paper bag can make them shrivel, but it won’t hurt them and you can still use them to cook.

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Fast Facts About Mushrooms

  • The good old state of Pennsylvania accounts for about 60% of total U.S. mushroom production.
  • It’s not a good idea to eat raw mushrooms. It’s not unsafe, but your body can’t digest uncooked mushrooms, and it can lead to gastric distress—which is unpleasant. Tens of thousands of salad bars across the country prove that many people eat raw mushrooms without a second thought. In any case, your body can’t absorb the nutrients in raw mushrooms because their cell walls are too thick. Cooking the mushrooms breaks down their cell walls, making their nutrients available to you.
  • Commercial mushrooms are grown indoors. They don’t need light to grow because they’re not plants, so they grow around the clock.
  • Mushrooms grow fast, doubling in size every day.

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