Mushrooms are a flavorful food that many people love to add to their meals. They are nutritious and can be used in a variety of dishes. However, people often wonder how to tell if they are bad. Fortunately, there are a few signs that you can look for. If your mushrooms are slimy, discolored, or smell bad, this is a sign that they are no longer edible. Read on to discover how to know if your mushrooms are bad.
Look for Physical Signs of Spoilage
When you examine your mushrooms, there are a few different indicators that will tell you if they are bad. The first signs that they are going bad is that they are wrinkled with dry patches. When they start to go bad, they will shrivel up and start to show wrinkles. You might see a few dry patches. You will need to use them right away if you notice these signs.
You should also look for brown spots. When food becomes discolored, it is going bad. Mushrooms will have brown or black spots that start appearing on them. You can try to cut off the area that is discolored and use the rest but if the mushroom is covered, you should throw it out.
The next stage is that they will become slimy and covered in mold. At this stage, they are completely unusable and you need to throw them away. There is nothing you can do to save them and you risk food poisoning. If they look okay but smell bad, they should be thrown out. This is another sign that they have passed the point of being edible.
Keep Track of the Shelf Life
Fresh mushrooms have a shelf life of seven to ten days. The important thing is to know how fresh they are when you buy them. You should try to buy mushrooms that are firm, plump, and without any signs of spoilage. If they are fresh, you should be fine for a week.
If the mushrooms were at the store for a few days, they will not last as long when you bring them home. You will want to stick with whole mushrooms that have their stalks and caps intact. If they are broken or bruised, they have a shorter shelf life.
If you cut your mushrooms, they will last from five to seven days. They spoil more quickly because they have been cut open. You can keep them longer if you buy them whole so you need to know when you plan to use them.
Once you cook the mushrooms, they can stay in the refrigerator for three or four days. You should put them in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking or they may start to spoil. The quality will deteriorate over time in the fridge but they will be safe for three or four days.
Know How to Store Them Safely
First, you need to make sure that your refrigerator is set to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. You can keep them on a shelf in the fridge and you should never keep them on the counter. Keep them in their original container until you use them. If you use a few at a time, you should take what you need and then make sure that you cover them with plastic wrap.
You can also store loose mushrooms in a plastic bag that is opened a little bit. This gives them the air circulation they need and prevents moisture buildup. You should not keep them in a sealed container or they will sweat and spoil quickly. Finally, keep them away from raw food as well as any food that has a strong odor. Mushrooms are known for picking up other odors.
Knowing when mushrooms go bad is important so that you can avoid foodborne illnesses. Follow the tips above and you will know when your mushrooms are safe to eat.