Coming across a bounty of mushrooms is a blessed event. After all, they’re a fairly uncommon and magical find. But, once you have them, how do you keep them fresh and safe to eat? This basic guide will teach you everything you need to know about storing shrooms—from refrigeration to chocolate coating.
If you’re a seasoned myco-geek, you likely know that shrooms are most potent when they’re fresh. But, fresh mushrooms are notoriously difficult to store. Fresh mushrooms certainly don’t stay viable for long, regardless of the type. For this reason, it’s recommended to dry mushrooms as soon as possible after picking or acquiring them—especially if you’re wondering how to store shrooms for a long time.
But, wondering where to begin? Before you get started on your mushroom storage endeavors, here’s a brief list of what you’ll need:
- Disposable gloves
- A brush
- A large sheet pan or wire rack
- A flour sack towel or gentle kitchen towel
- A fan
- Clean mason jar with lid
- Packets of food-grade silica
You’ll also need to make sure that you have a clean and sterilized place to work. After all, no one wants to contaminate their recently collected (or otherwise acquired) mushrooms before they get the chance to enjoy them!
How to Store Fresh Shrooms
Fresh mushrooms are quite sensitive; although they’re fungi themselves, all fresh mushrooms are prone to mold, contamination, and oxidation over time. Rotten shrooms can quickly make a safe experience toxic. The proper storage protocol for fresh shrooms starts right after picking. If possible, it’s best to cover your hands with disposable gloves before picking, which reduces the risk of contamination from potential pathogens. If gloves aren’t an option, washing or sterilizing your hands before handling fresh mushrooms is always a good idea. Then, use a brush to remove any dirt or debris that may still be clinging to the mushroom.
Place the mushrooms in a paper bag or light woven basket after collection and before processing. If the mushrooms are still covered in a substantial layer of dirt, run them under a gentle stream of cold water and lay them out on a flat kitchen towel before storage. Allow them to air dry for 20-30 minutes, then gently pat them dry with a towel. Once the residual water has been whisked away, it’s time to move them to the fridge.
How to Store Shrooms in the Fridge
If you cannot dry your shrooms for some reason, you can place them on an unbleached paper towel inside a paper bag in the refrigerator. The paper bag should be rolled fairly snug around the shrooms to limit decay. Fresh, whole mushrooms can be stored in the fridge like this for five to 10 days. After that, they’ll need to be dried to prevent further decay. Mushroom species with a low water content—like truffles— will have a shorter shelf-life when fresh than others. So, if you’re planning an extended fridge stay for your shrooms, it’s best to check for mold after three to five days. This method is perfect for those wondering how to store mushrooms for a week, or how to store mushrooms short term.
How to Store Wet Shrooms
Wet mushrooms have an extremely short shelf-life. The longer the mushrooms stay wet, the more likely they are to rot. Before refrigerating wet mushrooms, it is important to pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel. But, be gentle! Overhandling mushrooms can damage them, reducing their potency and quality. It’s also important to process wet mushrooms in a clean environment. Unclean environments increase the chance of contamination, which, as mentioned above, will reduce the shelf life of fresh mushrooms.
What about Drying Your Shrooms?
Now, after all that talk about storage, what about drying? Drying mushrooms is easy; no fancy equipment is needed. Here’s how to do it:
- Lay the mushrooms on a flat sheet, flour sack towel, or wire rack.
- Arrange the mushrooms so that none are touching.
- Then, place the mushrooms in front of a gentle fan and let sit.
The mushrooms should begin to dry within one day and will be almost cracker dry within three days. Of course, the amount of time it takes for mushrooms to get to that cracker-dry consistency partially depends on climate. Mushrooms drying in Denver, Colorado, for example, may dry a lot faster than mushrooms drying in Hawaii. If using a flour sack towel, remember to change it once per day.
How to Store Dried Shrooms
There are many different methods for storing dried mushrooms. From vacuum sealing to honey to capsules, some processes are more complicated and expensive than others. But, there’s no need to do anything fancy to preserve your mushrooms. According to Ophelia Chong, an advisor to DoubleBlind and founder of Mogu.Care, a retailer for adaptogenic plants, the best way to store dried mushrooms is in “jars with silica gel packs and [placed] in a dark cupboard out of direct sun.”
Wondering how to store shrooms in jars properly? A tightly sealed mason jar often does the trick. Food-grade silica packets are also inexpensive to purchase online. Chong says that you can store dried shrooms this way for “up to a year,” which makes this a simple and economical trick for anyone wondering how to store mushrooms for a long time. Storing mushrooms this way is recommended over storing mushrooms in the freezer.
How to Store Shrooms in Honey
Apart from a jar, there are several tastier ways to store dried mushrooms—like in honey! Sometimes called “blue honey” or “shroom honey” mushrooms can be easily mixed into honey for fairly long-term storage, all you need is enough liquid honey to cover your dried mushrooms completely. Here’s how:
- Chop mushrooms into small pieces using a very sharp knife.
- Place mushrooms into a sealable, size-appropriate container.
- Pour liquid honey over the top of the mushrooms, stirring on occasion to ensure that mushrooms are evenly coated. Make sure to scrape any honey that collects on the spoon back into the container.
- Seal the container and store in a cool, dark place for up to four months. Check on the honey frequently to make sure that there is no mold growth.
Many people also use this method with fresh mushrooms, but, due to their high water content, drying before infusing is recommended.
How to Store Shroom Tea
Mushroom tea is one of the easiest ways to enjoy the active and medicinal effects of these funky fungi. Store freshly brewed shroom tea just like you would iced tea in a sealed pitcher in the fridge. It can keep for up to a week. Store dried shroom tea like you would other dried teas: in an airtight container in a dark cupboard. Throwing in a food-grade silica packet also couldn’t hurt!
How to Store Shroom Chocolates
Apart from shroom honey and tea, shroom chocolates are perhaps the tastiest way to enjoy your mushrooms. Shroom chocolates are what they sound like—dried mushrooms coated in chocolate. The chocolate makes the taste of mushrooms a lot more palatable. But, mushroom chocolates do not last as long as other products. Why? Because mushroom chocolates are often home-prepared foods. Melting, infusing, and cooling chocolate results in a shorter shelf-life, especially when making these goodies at home.
Store mushroom chocolates in an airtight container in the fridge. A glass Snap-Ware container, normally used for storing your weekday leftovers, is perfect for the job. Line the container in unbleached parchment paper to prevent sticking. Placing each individual chocolate in truffle paper or miniature muffin paper for ease of use. Keeping mushroom chocolates cool slows the rate of oxidation. It also prevents the chocolate from melting on a hot day. These chocolates can last in the fridge for up to a month, perhaps longer.
How to Store Shroom Capsules
Let’s face it, not everyone enjoys the unique and often overpowering taste of mushrooms. Fortunately, capsules are excellent (and tasteless!) alternatives to other mushroom edibles. Capsules also make microdosing much easier, since only a relatively small amount of dried, ground mushrooms can fit into a capsule.
Storing capsules is also easy; just store them as you would store any botanical or nutritional supplement. Place your capsules into an opaque, airtight container with a food-grade silica packet. Then, place the container in a cool, dark place. When stored properly, capsules can have a shelf life for up to one year. (Although, if they’re homemade, you may want to check on them every once in a while to ensure that they don’t show signs of contamination.)
How to Store Shroom Pills
Technically, finely ground mushrooms can be compressed into pill or tablet form, much like cannabis resin can be compressed into hashish. But, this processing method isn’t very common nor is it the most sensical way to consume dried mushrooms at this point in time.
Compressed mushroom pills can be stored like any standard nutritional supplement; in an opaque bottle, placed in a cool, dark location. Use a silica packet to prevent humidity from prematurely damaging your shroom pills. The shelf-life of compressed mushroom pills is not well-known, but the expected shelf life may last for up to several months.