Spoiled Mushrooms: How to tell if they’re bad, and what to do next

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Written By Gabriela
Gabriela is a science journalist and writer. She has a PhD in biochemistry and a master's degree in science communication. Gabriela has published articles in magazines and newspapers in Mexico and USA, and has also given talks on science subjects.






Mushrooms are a great source of flavor and texture, but sadly, they don’t stay fresh forever. So how can you tell if your mushrooms have gone bad? And what should you do with them if they have? In this article, we’ll talk about the signs that mushrooms are no longer safe to eat and what you should do with them when they have gone bad.

Can Mushrooms Go Bad?

Yes, they certainly can go bad. Mushrooms typically last up to a week when kept in the fridge, but that is not always the case. It all depends on how the mushrooms are stored and how quickly they are consumed. When mushrooms reach the end of their life span, they start to show signs of oxidation.

Perhaps one of the most noticeable signs of oxidation and spoilage is that mushrooms will start to develop dark spots. This is caused by air being exposed to them for too long, which causes them to discolor and oxidize over time.

It is important to regularly check your mushrooms and observe their condition. If you see dark spots appearing on them then your mushrooms are already past their prime and should not be eaten.

If you want to keep your mushrooms fresh for as long as possible, here are some tips:

  • Be mindful of how much air your mushrooms are exposed to.
  • Store them in an airtight container.
  • Consume them within a few days of purchase for optimal freshness.
  • Do not store them near ethylene-emitting produce like apples, bananas or avocados.

Remember to check on those mushrooms regularly and enjoy them while they’re still at their freshest!

Time’s Up: How Long Do Mushrooms Last?

Mushrooms are a delicacy that can spoil quickly but with the right techniques, can last a long time. Depending on the method used to store them, proper care and attention will contribute in ensuring the mushrooms will remain fresh for about 7-10 days. With some quick and relatively simple processes, like drying or freezing, this shelf-life can be drastically increased.

To maximize the lifespan of mushrooms, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep them refrigerated: Place them in Tupperware or paper bags and store in a refrigerator to help preserve the quality and prolong their life.
  • Drying mushrooms: Slice and spread them on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 200F (93C) for approximately 1 hour. Make sure to turn them after 45 minutes.
  • Freezing mushrooms: Place your sliced mushrooms into a freezer-safe ziploc bag. They’re now ready to store in the freezer for up to 6 months!

Note: When taking out of the refrigerator or freezer, make sure not to include moisture or oil as this could cause your mushrooms to spoil sooner than expected.

These methods can help extend the shelf-life of your mushrooms and ensure they’ll have maximum potency upon consumption. Make sure you pay close attention when storing your mushrooms in order to make all the delicious dishes you wish without worrying they will expire too soon.

Eating Old Mushrooms: Is It Worth the Risk?

Mushrooms can be a tasty and nutritious addition to your diet — but there is a risk of getting sick from old or spoiled mushrooms. If you don’t take the necessary steps to prevent eating bad mushrooms, it could lead to food poisoning or other dangerous health concerns.

It’s usually not a problem if your mushrooms are store-bought or farm-fresh — their risk of being spoiled is much lower. Additionally, eating cooked mushrooms greatly reduces the likelihood of food poisoning.

So what can you do to ensure that the mushrooms you’re consuming are safe? Here are some important tips:

  • Store mushrooms in the refrigerator. This helps prevent them from spoiling quickly.
  • Check the expiration date. If it’s been past the expiration date, it is best to discard them.
  • Look for signs of spoilage or rot. Mushrooms can go sour quickly; check to see if any discoloration or mold has cropped up.
  • Clean them thoroughly before cooking. Any dirt or grime should be removed — and make sure to discard any slimy mushrooms as well.
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By following these tips, you can help ensure that the mushrooms you’re eating stay fresh and safe for consumption. The risk of becoming ill when eating old mushrooms is usually low — but why take the chance? Take precautions and enjoy your mushrooms with peace of mind!

can mushrooms go bad

Sniff Test: How to Tell if Your Mushrooms are Spoiled

The smell of a mushroom can quickly tell you if it is spoiled. Fresh mushrooms should have a pleasant earthy smell, while bad mushrooms will smell unpleasant.

Texture is another good way to evaluate the freshness of your mushrooms. Good mushrooms should be dry, firm, and smooth. On the other hand, spoiled or aged mushrooms may be mushy and slimy to the touch, as well as sticky and discolored.

Inspection is key when trying to determine the quality of your mushrooms. Here are some common signs of spoilage to look out for:

  • Shriveling: As time passes, mushrooms naturally dry out and become more dense.
  • Discoloration: Browns spots or darkened areas on the mushroom cap are a warning sign.
  • Softness: If a mushroom is extremely soft or wilting, it may have begun to spoil.
  • Mold growth: Spots of visible mold growing on the mushroom are a certain sign that it should be thrown out.

Storage: How mushrooms are stored also plays an important role in their freshness. Store unwashed mushrooms in paper or wax bags in the refrigerator for up to one week. Make sure to check them daily for any signs of spoilage.

Discard: When in doubt, throw it out! It’s best to discard any questionable or stale-smelling mushrooms as they could contain harmful bacteria or toxins.

When Bad Mushrooms Strike: What You Need to Know About the Smell

When you give fresh mushrooms a whiff, you may expect a sweet and earthy scent. But if you get a bit of a whiff of something fishy or pungent, it can be an alarming surprise. It’s important to understand that if the mushrooms lead off with a sour or fishy smell, it means that they are too far gone to be eaten.

It’s common for mushrooms to have a damp, earthy smell when freshly picked. But there should always be some distinct sweetness. If the smell is off in any way, it is best to err on the side of caution and discard them.

An unpleasant smell from mushrooms can indicate spoilage or even contamination from bacteria and fungus which can make you very sick. It might be tempting to try cooking the mushrooms anyway but that is never advisable. Especially if they have been stored longer than the timeframe suggested on the packaging.

If you want to avoid bad smelling mushrooms altogether, there are quite a few steps you can take. For starters, don’t buy pre-packaged mushrooms that look slimy or damp already as they may already be past their prime. As soon as possible when you get home, unpackage your mushrooms and assess their quality.

  • Give them a good smell test
  • Check for any discolorations
  • Look for sliminess or other changes in texture
  • Store them properly in the fridge right away

By doing all these things, you can trust that the mushroom you buy won’t have a fishy smell that means they’re too far gone to eat. Enjoy your tasty and safe mushroom dish!