You know the difference between a white button, cremini and shiitake, but do you know how to keep mushrooms at their freshest?
Mushroom care begins the moment you arrive home from the grocer. If your mushrooms are loose, transfer them to a paper bag with the top loosely folded over. You’ll then want to get your mushrooms in the refrigerator as soon as possible. The key is to allow air circulation. Note that while the refrigerator is a good place for mushrooms, you should keep them in the low humidity section – and not in a plastic baggie. Mushrooms will spoil more quickly in an airtight bag where condensation can build up. If you buy your mushrooms pre-packaged, leave them in their packaging.
The only time you should clean your mushrooms is right before you’re ready to use them. When you do clean them, use a damp cloth, paper towel or a soft brush. It’s important that you don’t soak your mushrooms. They are quite porous and will absorb water. This affects their flavor and texture.
How long can you expect to keep your mushrooms before they’ll lose their flavor? There are no absolutes, but if your mushrooms are pre-packaged, they’ll last about a week. If you buy them loose, try using them within a few days of purchase.
If you’ve pushed the limits, there are a couple of surefire ways to know if your mushrooms have gone bad. If they’re slimy, have wrinkles, have begun developing dark spots or emitting an odor – it’s time to toss them in the trash.