You bought a package of mushrooms with the intention of using them as a tasty topping for pizza, or perhaps as luxuriously silky sponges to soak up that cream sauce you perfected. But when the time came to start slicing and sauteeing those suckers, you ended up recoiling in horror instead—after only a few days in the fridge, your fungi emerged unfit for human consumption. (Actually, you wouldn’t even feed that much slime to the dog.) Sound familiar? Fungi can be fickle, but their flavor keeps you coming back. Fortunately, we have the fix. Here are three tried-and-true techniques for how to store mushrooms so you can savor their umami goodness whenever the mood strikes.
How to Store Mushrooms
If you have a vision for your mushrooms and plan to follow-through within a matter of days, try this simple storage trick as soon as you bring those babies home.
1. Remove fresh mushrooms from their original packaging.
2. Put whole mushrooms directly into a paper bag and, whatever you do, don’t wash them first. The point of the paper bag is to absorb the excess moisture that causes mold, so wet mushrooms are a big no-no.
3. Fold the top of the paper bag over to close, and find a spacious plot in the fridge to store your mushrooms so they don’t get jostled and bruised. Note: Avoid the crisper drawer—the moist environment is not fungi-friendly.
4. Devour your delicious mushrooms within a week or try one of the methods below for long-term storage.
How to Freeze Mushrooms
Freezing is an unexpected yet excellent storage strategy for your precious fungi. The only catch is you have to cook ‘em first. Here’s what to do:
1. Before cooking, wash and prep your mushrooms. Remove surface dirt by rinsing mushrooms under cold water.
2. Once clean, pat the mushrooms dry with a paper towel and transfer to a cutting board.
3. Trim or remove the stems of your mushrooms. Fancy fungi like shiitake and chanterelle need only to be trimmed, but baby bellas and portobellos have tougher stems that should be removed entirely. (Tip: Don’t toss those stems, instead save them to make a rich mushroom stock for risotto.)
4. After you’ve dealt with the stems, turn your attention to the caps. If your mushrooms are bigger than one-inch in diameter, slice or quarter them for quicker cooking. Mushrooms with smaller caps (like button mushrooms) can be cooked as is.
5. Cook mushrooms by sauteing or steaming. Steamed mushrooms fare better in the freezer, but either technique will work.
6. Once cooked, spread mushrooms out on a clean cookie sheet and place the pan in the freezer. Leave those babies in there to flash-freeze until solid (approximately two hours).
7. Remove frozen mushrooms from the sheet pan and place them in plastic storage bags, making sure to press out any extra air from the bags before sealing. Return the mushrooms to the back of the freezer. Mushrooms that have been cooked and frozen as described will stay fresh for up to a year (but the sooner you eat them, the better they’ll taste).
How to Dry Mushrooms
If you want to keep mushrooms on hand without sacrificing precious space in the fridge or freezer, simply dehydrate them in the oven for pantry storage. It might sound fancy but the process for drying mushrooms is actually pretty straightforward. Bonus: Drying makes many kinds of wild mushrooms even more flavorful than they were fresh.
1. Start by cleaning the mushrooms thoroughly by holding them under cold, running water and brushing away dirt and debris with a gentle scrubbing motion or soft-bristled brush.
2. Transfer the mushrooms to a cutting board. Remove and discard the stems and start slicing. Cut mushrooms into ⅛-inch to ¼-inch thick slices (depending on how long you want your oven to be out of commission). Aim for consistency though, or your sliced mushrooms will dry at different rates.
3. Preheat the oven to 150°F and spread mushroom slices out in a single layer on a shallow baking sheet.
4. Dry the mushrooms in the preheated oven for two hours, turning the slices at the one-hour mark.
5. After two hours, feel the mushrooms—if they’re still not completely dry, flip them over again and return to the oven for another half-hour.
6. When the drying process is complete, leave the mushrooms slices to cool on the kitchen counter before transferring them to an airtight storage container where they’ll keep for up to a year. (Note: A glass jar or hard plastic container is best for protecting the delicate dried mushrooms.)
7. To use dehydrated mushrooms, place them a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them soak for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain and use the rehydrated mushrooms in soup, pasta, risotto and more.
5 Ways to Savor Your Mushrooms
- Poblano and mushroom tacos with tomatoes and goat cheese
- 20-Minute mushroom stroganoff
- Cheesy roasted mushroom melts
- Soft polenta and mushroom bowls
- Baked chicken and mushroom risotto