How to store mushrooms – to savor their flavor for longer

Find out how to store mushrooms that you’ve selected in a store or even grown in your home or veggie garden

Mushrooms
(Image credit: Alamy)

Be in the know about how to store mushrooms and you can get maximum value from those you’ve selected in a store, keeping them fresh and delicious.

And since more gardeners are discovering how to grow mushrooms and cultivating a crop either in the vegetable plot, in containers or even inside, making the most of the harvest is a must.

Our guide has the details on how to store mushrooms and retain their goodness and flavor for longer.

How to store mushrooms

Mushrooms are on the list of produce that should be kept in the refrigerator rather than in the pantry, or on a counter. But there is an alternative. We have all the details on how to store mushrooms here.

1. How to select mushrooms

In order to store mushrooms for the maximum length of time, it’s important that those you choose to buy are in good condition. ‘Purchase mushrooms that are firm with a fresh, smooth appearance,’ says The Mushroom Council (opens in new tab). ‘Surfaces should be dry, but not dried out, and appear plump.’

2. Store mushrooms in the refrigerator

To keep mushrooms fresh for the longest possible timespan, they should be kept in the refrigerator. 

Don‘t clean them before you store them; this should be done when you go to use them. At that point brush off the loose dirt, rinse them briefly and pat dry.

Store them in a paper bag or the packaging they came in. ‘Avoid plastic bags and sealed containers when storing mushrooms as the lack of air flow will speed spoilage,’ caution the experts at StopFoodWaste (opens in new tab)

Be aware that mushrooms can only be stored in the refrigerator for a limited time. ‘Whole, raw mushrooms will keep from four to seven days in the refrigerator, while sliced mushrooms (stored the same way), will last one to two days,’ say the StopFoodWaste experts.

3. Freeze mushrooms – but only if they’re prepared first

If you’re looking for a way to keep mushrooms for longer, you might be wondering if you can freeze them. The answer is that fresh mushrooms shouldn’t be frozen, but you can either sautée or steam them then freeze them.

Make sure to discard any spoiled mushrooms first then wash in cold water and trim the ends of the stems, recommend the experts at Oregon State University Extension Service (opens in new tab). Slice mushrooms larger than 1in across or cut into quarters. 

If you’re planning to steam them, pretreat them so they hold their color better, say the experts. ‘Soak mushrooms for 5 minutes in a solution containing 1 teaspoon lemon juice or 1½ teaspoons citric acid to 1 pint of water. Drain mushrooms.’

To steam, ‘Place in a steamer basket and steam whole button mushrooms for 5 minutes, quarters for 3½ minutes, or slices for 3 minutes. Cool in ice water. Drain and package cold mushrooms in freezer containers. Seal, label and freeze,’ the OSU experts say.

Alternatively fry the mushrooms in butter or margarine until almost done, cool, then pack, seal and freeze as above, they say.

Should mushrooms be stored in an airtight container?

Mushrooms should not be stored in an airtight container. To keep them fresh and tasty for longer keep them in their original packaging or a porous paper bag – but don’t seal it. 

If you put mushrooms in an airtight container, condensation will be the result and they’ll spoil more quickly. The same goes for keeping them in a plastic bag, so don’t store them in one of these either.

How long do mushrooms last in the fridge?

Mushrooms can last for up to a week in the fridge if kept in optimum conditions with bigger mushrooms keeping for longer than smaller. Bear in mind that it’s preferable to use them within a few days of buying or harvesting them, and that mushrooms that are already sliced won’t last as long as whole mushrooms.

Look out for spoilage. Discard any mushrooms that are shriveled, have become slimy, are discolored, or start to smell. 

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor. Previously executive editor of Ideal Home, she’s specialized in interiors, property and gardens for over 20 years, and covers interior design, house design, gardens, and cleaning and organizing a home for H&G. She’s written for websites, including Houzz, Channel 4’s flagship website, 4Homes, and Future’s T3; national newspapers, including The Guardian; and magazines including Future’s Country Homes & Interiors, Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living, and Style at Home, as well as House Beautiful, Good Homes, Grand Designs, Homes & Antiques, LandLove and The English Home among others. It’s no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house renovator.