Knowing multiple methods for storing mushrooms will help you get the most out of your harvest by allowing it to stay viable much longer
Fresh mushrooms do not stay edible for very long, unfortunately. It is the nature of the mushroom. Fortunately over time we as humans have learned ways of storing mushrooms so they can be consumed long after they have been harvested. Below we share an array of methods for storing your mushrooms at home.
Storing mushrooms in the fridge
The majority of fresh, raw mushrooms will not last any more than 10 days in the refrigerator. It may be fewer than 10 as well, depending on the condition of the mushrooms once they are acquired and placed in the fridge. Storing mushrooms in the fridge is the best method for fresh mushrooms that you plan on eating quickly. However, if you do not think you will get to eat the mushrooms before they go bad, then you should consider one of the other methods below for storing mushrooms over longer periods of time. When storing fresh mushrooms in the refrigerator it is best to place them in a paper bag. The next best option would be keeping them in a cardboard pint container. We recommend keeping mushrooms out of plastic bags or plastic coverings as the plastic can trap moisture and lead to contamination by bacteria.
Always inspect your refrigerated mushrooms before consuming them, to ensure the mushrooms are in edible condition. If the mushrooms are wet and slimy, have strange colors growing on them, or smell funky, then they may have gone bad and are best discarded.
Storing mushrooms in the freezer
Using your freezer will help you extend the life of your mushrooms. Most mushrooms need to be prepared before being placed in the freezer. The best way to freeze most mushrooms is to cook them before putting them in the freezer. This can be done by steaming, frying, or blanching. To prepare your mushrooms, begin by cutting off any areas that are extremely dirty or you fear are starting to decay. Gently clean the mushroom by using a mushroom brush, or simply dry brush the mushroom with care. You can also use a small amount of water if the dirt is hard to remove. If the mushrooms are large, you may want to cut them into pieces. It is easiest to freeze mushrooms that are about 1” across or smaller.
Storing mushrooms in jars: Drying and canning
Drying mushrooms is a popular method for storing mushrooms for extended use. Outdoor mushroom farmers who get big yields in the fall will often dry some of their bounty if they cannot eat or sell it all themselves. Drying in this scenario allows for the delicious, healthful mushrooms to be consumed all winter long and until the next mushroom season. Drying mushrooms is a great option when you have an abundance of them. The drying process can be as simple as laying the mushrooms out in the sun to dry, or putting them in a dehydrator overnight at around 115 – 120°F. They will be properly dried once they become slightly crispy like a chip.
Canning mushrooms is the next option. I would recommend using glass jars like mason jars if you plan on canning your mushrooms. The best way to can mushrooms is to begin with the mushrooms, jars, water, and a saucepan. If the mushrooms are large then cut them into small pieces. Small mushrooms can remain intact. Place the mushrooms in the saucepan and cover them with water. Bring the water to boil and allow the mushrooms to sit in the boiling water for five to ten minutes. Once boiled, place the mushrooms into the hot, clean mason jars and cover with water, leaving about a ½” of headroom. Place the lids on top of the jars and seal by using a pressure cooker. This is a method for canning mushrooms, but truth be told, you will likely have a better experience with either dried or frozen mushrooms. This process takes more time and effort, and oftentimes dried or frozen mushrooms taste better than canned ones.
Storing mushrooms in capsules and as extracts
If you choose to dry your mushrooms, you can then powder the dried mushrooms and fill vegetable capsules with the dried mushroom powder. This is a great way to take edible mushrooms as supplements. Making extracts with mushrooms is another option. Extracts and tinctures are a great way to preserve the beneficial constituents in mushrooms, as well as extract constituents that cannot be easily obtained. The tinctures we offer are triple extracted so it becomes highly concentrated. These tinctures involve both alcohol and water extraction to adequately preserve the various constituents. Some medicinal constituents are extracted only in water, as others are only extracted in alcohol. Using this triple extraction method gets the most amount of available constituencies.