If you’re like most people, you probably use mushrooms to add nutrients and flavors to all sorts of dishes. After all, mushrooms are one of the most versatile ingredients going around.
However, more often than not, you may have more mushrooms than you need and the excess mushrooms can stay in your refrigerator for weeks before you realize they are still there.
There is nothing wrong with storing excess mushrooms in the fridge for a short amount of time but, like all fresh foods, if you leave them too long, they will go bad. Therefore, you should try to use them as soon as you can.
If you have gone into the refrigerator today and found a supply of mushrooms, you’re probably thinking if they are still okay to use.
Well, the good news is that it is pretty easy to spot some tell-tale signs of a spoiled mushroom, and it doesn’t involve tasting them first!
In today’s article, we are going to guide you through the signs to look out for to find out whether your mushrooms have gone bad or if they are still good to eat.
Choose Fresh Mushrooms
The best way to enjoy mushrooms for longer is to buy them fresh in-store. The best places to buy fresh mushrooms are the grocery store or at a farmer’s market.
When buying them, you should check their texture first. Fresh mushrooms should feel firm but with a smooth exterior.
Notice any dirt on the mushrooms? That doesn’t mean they have spoiled! All you need to do is wipe it off with a paper towel or cloth and rinse, drain, and dry before storing or using them.
Sometimes, there may be some moisture left on the mushrooms. When stored, this can lead to fungi growing on the mushrooms which will deteriorate them quickly.
Therefore, you should pat them dry or put them in a salad spinner to ensure they are completely dry for storage.
How To Tell If Mushrooms Have Gone Bad
You know those five main senses we have? Well, you can use them (apart from hearing) to check whether your mushrooms have started to spoil.
Like most foods, you can touch, smell, and inspect a mushroom’s appearance to check whether it is safe to eat or not.
Here are the main signs that your mushroom has gone bad:
Shrivelled And Wrinkly
Mushrooms have a very high water content. When fresh, they should be plump and smooth. But, when they start to wrinkle or shrivel, it’s a sign that they are getting old and dehydrated.
You may notice that they have started to wrinkle but there are no other signs, such as discoloration or smell.
If this is the case, it’s simply a telltale sign that the mushroom has started to spoil and will go off soon. In this instance, you can use them but you must do so immediately.
If your mushrooms appear very wrinkly, then they have passed their best. We’re afraid they are no longer safe to eat and should be thrown out.
Sticky Or Slimy
One of the easiest ways to check whether a mushroom has gone bad is to feel it. If it is slimy or sticky, then it is not fresh and should be discarded.
Fresh mushrooms should look crisp and dry. If they appear wet with a slimy film, they are no longer edible. The slimy exterior indicated that they have started to rot and bacteria is having a field day breaking them down.
Most of the time, slimy mushrooms have been stored for too long. So, if those mushrooms in your refrigerator are sticky or slimy, throw them away.
Dark Spots And Discoloration
Dark spots can start to form on mushrooms when they start to spoil. This is due to an elongated period of exposure to air causing them to oxidize and eventually discolor.
If the spots are small, they may still be safe to eat but they will not last very long. If they are covered in dark spots, they are no longer safe to consume.
As well as dark spots, the whole mushroom may turn darker when they start to spoil.
The dark spots usually form on the gills, stems, and mushroom caps, but if the whole mushroom has changed color, they have started to go bad. That is why you should always pick lighter-colored mushrooms at the store.
Spongy And Soft Texture
If your mushrooms feel soggy or soft, then they have started to go bad and are going through decomposition. You know what that means – they can not be eaten. Fresh mushrooms should feel plump, light, and firm.
Strong Unpleasant Odor
Mushrooms tend to have a subtle scent that is earthy and sweet, but only when they are close to your face. If they have a pungent, strong smell from a distance, they are bad and should be thrown away.
It’s pretty simple to check whether mushrooms have gone bad or if they are still fresh. If they feel soggy, have an unpleasant odor, are slimy, have mold, or changed color, they have started to spoil and are no longer edible.
In most cases, mushrooms should last up to around eight days in the refrigerator and even twelve months in the freezer. But, when you get them out again, give them a check over to ensure they are still edible. If not, discard them immediately.
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