Picture a lovely spring morning at your local farmer’s market. As you stroll through the aisles, sipping your coffee or tea, R&R Cultivation’s booth catches your eye. Brightly colored Oyster mushrooms, cute-as-a-button Beech mushrooms, and shaggy Lion’s Mane – oh my!
You can’t resist making an impulse buy, and you end up with several varieties of delicious, gourmet mushrooms. How exciting! Then you remember you already have dinner plans. If you won’t be using the mushrooms for a few days, what’s the best way to store them and keep them fresh?
Peak Conditions for Mushroom Preservation
Gourmet mushrooms require a certain climate once picked so they don’t begin to break down. They should be stored in your refrigerator, preferably set to a temperature of right around 32 degrees. When the temperature is lower you risk chill damage, and if it’s much above freezing your mushrooms may not be protected from decay.
Moisture can also cause mushrooms to go bad more quickly, even if they’re stored in the fridge. If you’ve noticed condensation in your fridge, it’s not just bad for your mushrooms! It may also mean the rest of your food isn’t being held at the right temperature or in the right humidity level. Check your fridge’s seals to make sure the doors are closing tightly. You can also reduce moisture by minimizing the time you spend with the fridge doors open.
Best Containers for Mushroom Storage
Your mushrooms came to you in the perfect storage container, so feel free to leave them unopened until you’re ready to use them. If you have fresh mushrooms left over, though, you’ll need to place them in a folded paper bag for optimal storage. A porous bag allows the mushrooms to “breathe” and prevents them from accumulating moisture (which would accelerate their decay). Speaking of moisture, don’t wash the leftover mushrooms until you’re ready to use them. The extra water won’t do you any favors!
Can you Freeze or Can Mushrooms?
Sometimes we end up with more mushrooms than we can eat. If you’ve found yourself with loads of mushrooms and no plans to use them, you may be wondering whether you can creatively preserve your mushrooms.
You can freeze fresh mushrooms for later use in certain dishes, but freezing does change their texture. This is due to raw mushrooms’ high water content. If you want to keep some mushrooms in the freezer to throw into soups or pasta sauces, consider sautéing them first to remove most of the excess moisture. Alternatively, dehydrating mushrooms is a great way to extend their expiration date. They can be blended up into a powder after dehydration to make a great powder supplement for smoothies, soups, and sauces.
Canning mushrooms is another option. The mushrooms must be pressure canned using proper food safety guidelines (and special equipment is required for pressure canning). If you’re a pro at canning, this may be your preferred method!