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How Can You Tell If Mushrooms Have Gone Bad

Mushrooms. Neither animal nor vegetable (technically they’re fungi). The topic of whether they qualify as a good food can be very divisive. Yet, if you’re a mushroom fan you could incorporate them into many of your meals

If you do cook with mushrooms, you may occasionally find yourself wondering if the mushrooms you have at the back of your fridge are still good to consume before using them in your favorite recipes. 


Credits: Christine Siracusa

You can tell mushrooms have gone bad by a few key signs. Those signs include discoloration, slimy coatings, and/or foul odors. 

However, even if mushrooms show signs of ‘going bad,’ eating a ‘bad’ mushroom that you’ve purchased from a safe source such as a grocery store won’t likely hurt you too much. It is unlikely you will get food poisoning from eating store-bought mushrooms. A note of caution, however: eating mushrooms that are way past their prime could still make you sick or give you an upset stomach. 

You can keep yourself and your family safe by storing mushrooms correctly and eating them within a reasonable timeframe. 

Different Mushrooms Have Different Expiration Dates

Different mushroom varieties have different expiration speeds. For example, white button mushrooms will spoil faster than portobello or cremini mushrooms. 

This could be a large determining factor when you’re grocery shopping and trying to find the right mushrooms but know you won’t be using your fresh shrooms that day. You can also freeze your mushrooms for up to a year if you find you won’t be using them before they expire. 

Check The Mushrooms’ Expiration Date

The first step in checking to see if your mushrooms have gone bad is by checking their expiration date or packaged date. If it’s past the expiration date, then it’s probably time to toss your package of mushrooms. 

If your package doesn’t have an expiration date, then you can base it on the date you brought them home from the store. Generally, store-bought mushrooms can stay good in a refrigerator for five to seven days. 

To keep your mushrooms staying fresh longer, store them in a paper bag instead of plastic wrap. Also, for even longer stay power buy whole mushrooms instead of sliced ones. Sliced mushrooms tend to go bad faster. 

Do Your Mushrooms Smell? 

The next step in checking to see if your mushrooms are still is to check their smell. 

If your mushrooms are omitting a strong odor, then they have probably gone bad. 

Typically, mushrooms do not have a strong smell or have a subtle earthy smell to them. If you smell a strong odor when you open the package or even when you open the fridge, then it’s a sign that your mushrooms have gone bad. 

Are Your Mushrooms Slimy?

Another way to tell if your fresh mushrooms have gone bad is by feeling them. Do your mushrooms have a slimy texture? It is most likely a sign that your mushrooms have gone bad.

Mushrooms love moisture and tend to suck it up. That means if your mushrooms are slimy they are probably bad. Your shrooms should be dry and crisp. 

Although your mushrooms may be slimy, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are harmful to eat. They just probably won’t be as appetizing. This is the point where most mushrooms get tossed, and we wouldn’t blame you. Slimy mushrooms don’t sound appetizing. 

RELATED: Should You Eat Mushrooms Raw?

Are Your Mushrooms Discolored?

If your mushrooms have dark spots or are generally dark in color, then that might also be a sign that they’ve gone bad. Bruised mushrooms are usually the first sign that mushrooms are going bad. 

Mushrooms that are past their prime also tend to be wrinkly. If you want to avoid food waste, eating one dry or wrinkly mushroom may not be too harmful. However, if the majority of the package of mushrooms is discolored or wrinkled it’s time to throw them out. You’d rather be safe than sick and sorry. 

Do Your Mushrooms Taste Bad When Cooked?

Even if your mushrooms seem to be good – they smell ok, they hold their texture, they aren’t discolored – they can still be bad. It’s recommended that you use or cook mushrooms within one week of purchasing, and if it’s been up to two weeks since they’ve been purchased, you should go ahead and throw them out. 

If you decide to take a chance and cook your mushrooms, pay attention to how they taste. If they don’t taste or seem right, it’s best not to consume these mushrooms. 

When Do Fresh Mushrooms Go Bad?

Type of Mushroom Days They Last Refrigerated
Sliced Mushrooms3 to 5 Days 
Whole Mushrooms7 to 10 Days 
Cooked Mushrooms5 to 7 Days 

How Long Do Cooked Mushrooms Last?

Certain varieties of mushrooms will last longer than their shelf life when cooked and quickly sauteed. Shitake and morel mushrooms are two examples. However, generally, cooked mushrooms can last between 5 to 7 days, but can last up to 10. 

How Long Do Dehydrated or Dried Mushrooms Last?

Dried and/or dehydrated mushrooms have the longest shelf life of all mushrooms. Dried/dehydrated mushrooms can last between 2 and 3 years in the proper conditions. Store them in dry and cool areas to ensure they last the longest. 

Mushrooms Have Gone Bad

Credits: Thanh Soledas

Dried/dehydrated mushrooms also have similar nutritious qualities as their other counterparts. 

How To Keep Mushrooms From Going Bad

There are numerous ways to keep your mushrooms from going bad, including storming them correctly and quickly, storing them in a breathable container, and using them swiftly. 

As soon as you get home with your fresh mushrooms, put them in the refrigerator. Keeping them cold and avoiding room temperatures can keep your mushrooms fresher for longer. 

Don’t rush to put your mushrooms in an air-tight container. Keep them in something that can breathe that has air holes.

Like most fresh produce, it’s best to use them as soon as possible. 

Tips For Choosing Fresh Mushrooms 

When you’re at the grocery store, there are a few key things to keep in mind to ensure that you are choosing the freshest mushrooms. 

Keep an eye out for the same things at the store as you would in your fridge to see if the mushrooms are fresh. Use your senses: do they smell, are they discolored, are they slimy? 

Another tip is to look at the expiration dates of a few packages. Try to pick the package that has an expiration date as far from your current date as possible. 

RELATED: Difference Between Muffins and Cupcakes (Muffin vs Cupcake)

How To Store Mushrooms Properly 

As soon as you get your fresh mushrooms home, put them in the fridge in their original packaging. Most mushrooms are packaged with the correct ventilation. You can unpackage the shrooms and wash them on the day you want to prepare and cook them. 

If you purchase mushrooms from a farmer’s market or pick them up and they aren’t properly packaged, then try to store them in paper bags. Do not store them in sealed containers or plastic bags as both of these can make your mushrooms go bad faster. 

Also, make sure that your refrigerator is kept at 40 F or below to ensure your mushrooms stay fresh the longest. They should also be stored in one of the fridge’s main components instead of the crisper drawer as the crisper drawer gets more humidity than the rest of the fridge and can be harmful to your mushrooms. 

Can You Freeze Mushrooms?

Yes, you can freeze mushrooms. You must first boil your mushrooms before you attempt to freeze them. If you freeze fresh mushrooms, you can hinder their shelf life and they will go bad faster. 

Frozen mushrooms can stay good for up to one year. Steam or boil them and place them in freezer bags and just place them in your freezer. Just make sure you leave space between the mushrooms and where you seal the bag. 

What Happens If You Eat Bad Mushrooms? 

If you do accidentally eat mushrooms that have gone bad, you can experience a variety of symptoms that will vary in severity. 

The slightest symptom you could experience is a slight stomach ache. You could also experience typical food poisoning signs such as Diahrera, vomiting and stomach cramping. 

There is also a worst-case scenario. Some mushroom species can also develop more psilocybin and psilocin. These toxins can have dangerous effects on the people that ingest them. Those symptoms include hallucinations, nephrotoxicity or even seizures. If these do happen to you, seek medical care immediately. 

However, for most store-bought mushrooms you can’t get serious poisoning from them. They will most likely taste unpleasant and have an unpleasant texture and cause mild food poisoning symptoms. 

What Can You Cook With Mushrooms? 

Do you have fresh mushrooms in your refrigerator and wonder what you can cook with them? 

You can cook numerous delicious and nutritious meals with fresh mushrooms. Some popular recipes include roasted mushrooms, warm mushroom salads with vinaigrettes, dried mushroom risotto, sauteed mushrooms, mushroom pizza, pasta with mushrooms, wild mushroom crepes, mushroom dumplings, and more. 

RELATED: Can You Freeze Pizza (And For How Long)

If you want to cook fresh mushrooms on their own, you can place them in a pan that is heated with olive oil. Cook the mushrooms until they are browned on one side, which typically takes about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir, then cook the mushrooms for another 3 to 5 minutes until the mushrooms are brown on all sides. 

Jess Smith