How to store mushrooms so they stay fresh and slime-free

Just as there's a recommended way for storing greens and potatoes and tomatoes, there is a method for mushrooms

Published December 16, 2020 10:00AM (EST)

 (Mark Weinberg / Food52)
(Mark Weinberg / Food52)

This story first appeared on Food52, an online community that gives you everything you need for a happier kitchen and home – that means tested recipes, a shop full of beautiful products, a cooking hotline, and everything in between!

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.

And there absolutely is. Just as there's a recommended way for storing greens and potatoes and tomatoes, there is a method for 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.

Store-packed method

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.

Freezer method

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:

Mushrooms With Caramelized Shallots & Fresh Thyme

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.

Cream Of Mushroom Soup

This creamy mushroom soup is easily doubled, making it ideal for dinner tonight plus a couple days of leftover lunches.

Nutty Veggie Burgers

Though the recipe calls for shiitake, nearly any chopped mushroom will work in these (vegan and gluten-free!) nutty black bean burgers.

Savory Mushroom Bread Pudding

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.

By Rebecca Firkser

MORE FROM Rebecca Firkser

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Cooking Food Food52 How-to Kitchen Hacks Mushrooms