Time and time again, I've found myself in the same situation: reaching into the back of my fridge to find a forgotten package of mushrooms, slimy to the touch and absolutely not appetizing. Tossing them in the compost, background fading to the black-and-white of an infomercial, I shout: But I bought them less than a week ago! How! Why! There's got to be a better way to store mushrooms.
Here's how to store mushrooms, from button to enoki and everything in between.
Because of their high water content, mushrooms should be stored in the fridge to keep them as fresh as possible. You can probably get away with stashing them on the counter for a day or so, but if you want to keep them for several days, or even up to a week, place them on a shelf in the fridge.
If you buy mushrooms pre-packaged, your work is done. The package's perforation will let in air to dry out any moisture the mushrooms release, so simply pop them in the fridge. When you're ready to use them, wipe any dirt off of the mushrooms and get cooking. If you don't use all the mushrooms at once, cover them back up with plastic wrap punched with a couple holes.
For loose mushrooms, follow the instructions below:
Paper bag method
If you buy loose mushrooms at the grocery store or farmers market, the best way to keep them fresh for as long as possible is to stash them in a paper bag. As mushrooms age, they may begin to release water; the paper bag will absorb that moisture, keeping the mushroom's surface slime-free for longer than if they were, say, packed in an airtight container.
If you find yourself with a surplus of mushrooms (you never know what the CSA will throw your way), and there's no way you'll use them up in time, clean the mushrooms well, then transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container. Keep in mind that freezing mushrooms will likely compromise their texture, so it's best to use these thawed mushrooms to flavor stocks or chop them into veggie burgers, as opposed to trying to fry them into a crispy pasta topping.
To use up those mushrooms quickly, here are some recipes we keep on deck:
This recipe calls for four pounds of mushrooms, so if that doesn't take care of most of your haul, you've simply bought too many.
This creamy mushroom soup is easily doubled, making it ideal for dinner tonight plus a couple days of leftover lunches.
Though the recipe calls for shiitake, nearly any chopped mushroom will work in these (vegan and gluten-free!) nutty black bean burgers.
Whether you call it savory bread pudding or stuffing, this cheesy dish would be welcome on my table any time the weather's a bit chilly.