How to Store Fresh Mushrooms

Fresh cultivated mushrooms variety oyster shiitake enoki
© Marie Sonmez Photography/Shutterstock.com

Written by Cammi Morgan

Published: May 8, 2023

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If you enjoy eating mushrooms, you likely also want to make sure that you can keep them as fresh as possible for as long as possible. After all, it’s always disappointing to bring home some of your favorite fresh produce, forget to store it correctly and wake up to find mold growing on your food.

So, in this guide, we’ll make sure you know how to best store fresh mushrooms to ensure you can get the most out of them.

Read on to learn more!

Why Do You Need to Properly Store Fresh Mushrooms?

Old moldy button mushrooms Agaricus bisporus

Old moldy button mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus)

©Marc Bruxelle/Shutterstock.com

Without proper storage, your mushroom can succumb rather rapidly to the conditions that cause spoilage. These conditions include oxidation, UV light exposure, macro and microscopic organisms like insects and molds, hot temperatures, too much humidity and physical damage. Exposure to one or more of these conditions (especially after being sliced), speeds up the process of degradation and spoilage.

As mushrooms begin to spoil, you lose the quality of smell, taste, texture, and appearance. Additionally, microbes can begin growing on the mushrooms, which can lead to illness if ingested. Some common molds that can develop on culinary mushrooms, even in your refrigerator if stored improperly, include AspergillusPenicillium, and Alternaria.

So, it’s important to know how to store fresh mushrooms in order to slow down this natural process and extend the timeline of edibility.

How to Properly Store Fresh Mushrooms

Button mushrooms storage refrigerator bag

Fresh button mushrooms being stored in the refrigerator.

©Bogdan Sonjachnyj/Shutterstock.com

Basically, the best storage methods counteract or reduce the effects of the conditions listed above that contribute to spoilage. Below, we’ll talk about three options for storing mushrooms to extend their freshness, reduce the chance of microbial growth, and slow down the timeline of spoilage.

Note, across the following storage methods, your best bet is to place your mushrooms in a brown paper bag or porous non-plastic container, optionally lined with paper towels. While oxidation contributes to food spoilage, so do anaerobic environments. Additionally, moisture naturally released by fresh mushrooms will build up in the sealed containers, creating an excellent environment for microbial growth. So keeping mushrooms in air-tight containers, such as plastic-wrapped packs, can drastically reduce their timeline of freshness.

Additionally, whole mushrooms will keep longer than sliced ones. This is because slicing mushrooms exposes the interior of the mushrooms to the spoilage effects of oxidation and to higher risks of microbial growth. As oxidation occurs, the aroma, appearance, and taste of your mushrooms will quickly degrade.

Refrigeration Storage

When you store mushrooms in the fridge, you achieve a couple of things to extend their freshness. First, and most obviously, you can provide a cold environment that prevents rapid microbial growth. Additionally, cold storage can help preserve the aroma, texture, and flavor of the mushrooms. Refrigeration can also extend the nutritional profile of the mushrooms. According to a study titled “Fresh Mushroom Preservation Techniques”, you can extend the freshness of Agaricus bisporus (button mushrooms) and Pleurotus ostreatus (common oyster mushrooms) from 1-3 days at room temperature to at least 5-7 days with refrigeration. Another study found that some species of culinary mushrooms can be kept fresh via refrigeration for up to 2 weeks. Although, we don’t recommend waiting this long to cook and eat your mushrooms.

Remember, as we mentioned above, some molds can grow even in your refrigerator. Besides keeping your mushrooms in a container that allows the mushrooms to stay dry and have airflow, you’ll also want to keep your refrigerator clean. A clean fridge reduces the risk of microbial growth. Periodically check for foods that need to be thrown out and wipe down shelves and drawers with a safe cleaner such as vinegar.

How to Store Fresh Mushrooms: Pantry Storage

If you don’t have access to a fridge, you can also store your mushrooms in a pantry. Pantries are usually a bit cooler. Also, if you keep lights off, they protect your mushrooms from the effects of UV light exposure. You won’t be able to keep them fresh for as long as cold storage can. However, it’s better than leaving them on the kitchen counter in front of a window, for example.

Basement Storage

Finally, you can also store fresh mushrooms in a basement if the area is cool, dark, and of moderate humidity (40-60%). In your basement, you can store them in paper bags on shelves or cupboards. Some basements can become pretty damp, so you’ll need to make sure that your basement has low enough humidity to not increase the risk of microbial growth. Remember, microbes thrive in high-humidity environments. However, as long as the humidity range is in check, basements can be a fine non-electric storage option. This is because the ambient room temperature tends to be cooler than the rest of the house. Also, you can usually keep basements dark easier than the rest of the home.


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About the Author

Cammi Morgan is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on mycology, marine animals, forest and river ecology, and dogs. Cammi has been volunteering in animal rescue for over 10 years, and has been studying mycology and field-researching mushrooms for the past 3 years. A resident of Southeast Appalachia, Cammi loves her off-grid life where she shares 20 acres with her landmates, foster dogs, and all the plants, fungi, and critters of the forest.

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