Dried mushrooms can bring a delicious kick of savory flavor and meaty texture to any dish while being extremely affordable and easy to work with. And unlike their un-dried counterparts, dried mushrooms can be kept fresh for an exceptionally long time while providing a more intense, satisfying flavor.
Dried mushrooms eventually expire and lose the qualities that make them a tasty ingredient. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help keep your dried mushrooms preserved for as long as possible.
Read on to learn how long dried mushrooms last and the best ways to preserve them.
How Long Do Dried Mushrooms Last?
Regular, non-dried mushrooms can be kept fresh for as long as 2 weeks if stored properly in the fridge. However, most people will notice their mushrooms begin to go bad around 5 to 7-days.
Dried mushrooms on the other hand can be kept fresh for as much as 1 year if you’re picking out the right quality of the mushroom, storing them in proper containers, and placing them in a cool, dry area.
A well-dried mushroom that is likely to keep its freshness for a long time is one that is uniform in color, not excessively shriveled up or crushed, and free of any cuts or damage. Mushrooms that have excessive dark spots or slimy texture should be avoided as these mushrooms are nearing the end of their life span.
Be on the lookout for whole dried mushrooms as opposed to pre-cut mushrooms. Not only will you save a bit more money doing so, but your mushrooms will stay fresh for a longer time if you opt to cut them at home.
You can also extend the lifespan of your dried mushrooms by only taking them out when you need them. Mistakenly leaving your dried mushrooms out in the open can reduce the longevity of your mushrooms, so be mindful of when and where you take them out of their container.
Best Ways to Properly Store Dried Mushrooms
Most foods, including dried mushrooms, can be kept fresh for a longer time if you store them properly. This means keeping them in a cold, dry place away from direct sunlight and minimizing the amount of unnecessary exposure to the air.
The best way to store dried mushrooms is to keep your mushrooms in an airtight container and put them in the fridge.
An airtight container, such as a Mason jar, is extremely important as exposure to air can speed up the loss of freshness. It’s a good idea to place a sticker with the date you stored your mushrooms so you can have a general idea of how long to keep them.
But before you toss your mushrooms in a container and call it a day, make sure your airtight container is dry; unwanted moisture could ruin a perfectly good batch of dried mushrooms. Another way to combat moisture is to wrap mushrooms in a paper towel to trap any remaining moisture.
Next, if you don’t have space in your fridge, you can also keep your mushrooms in an airtight container and place them in a dry, dark cabinet. Though this is not the optimal way to store mushrooms when compared to the cool environment in a fridge, it is certainly better than leaving your mushrooms exposed out on your countertop.
And lastly, if you don’t have an airtight container, using a resealable plastic bag is also a great option. Just make sure to squeeze the bag to remove excess air before sealing it up.
How Do You Know When Mushrooms Are Bad?
There are a few key signs you should be on the lookout for to know when your dried mushrooms have gone bad and should be tossed.
Dried mushrooms fit for eating have a very specific earthy flavor, crispy texture, and rustic smell. Mushrooms that are cared for properly and stored in a cold, dry place tend to retain these characteristics for a rather long time.
The first sign of rot is that your mushrooms appear to be excessively shriveled up. This usually means that your mushrooms are losing all moisture. Though dried mushrooms already have a low amount of moisture, too much drying can adversely impact the flavor profile.
The second sign is that your mushrooms are starting to change in color. The most noticeable change involves an increase in uneven dark spots, and at this point, it may be best to toss your mushrooms into the trash.
The third sign is that your mushrooms are beginning to lose their original texture. A good mushroom typically has a “cracker-like,” firm texture. But if it begins to feel soft, sticky, or jelly-like; then it most likely should be discarded.
The fourth sign is an unpleasant odor. If you notice that your fridge or cabinet is starting to have a rotting smell, it may be because your mushrooms are starting to go bad.
And finally, the last and most noticeable sign is the visible growth of mold. If you notice mold on your mushrooms, toss them immediately in the trash as eating them could make you sick. There’s more information on this topic in my related post Can Mushrooms Get Moldy?.
Fresh mushrooms are already a fantastic ingredient that brings hints of earthy, hearty flavor to any dish; and are used in a wide array of foods like pasta, pizza, and stews. However, they have a short shelf life, which means more frequent drives to the market to stock up.
Dried mushrooms on the other hand are an extremely versatile, elegant, and flavor-packed addition to any dish and can be kept fresh for a surprisingly long time. Like with any food item, dried mushrooms have a shelf life. Dried mushrooms that begin to become excessively wrinkled, discolored, or take on a slimy texture are best put in the trash.
Fortunately, proper selection and storage of your dried mushrooms can help them retain their hearty flavor, unique texture, and freshness for many months. Storing them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight is the best way to ensure your mushrooms last for a long time.
Ultimately, proper care of your dried mushrooms can mean fewer visits to the market, and more time spent creating mouthwatering meals!