Mushrooms aren’t known for having a particularly long shelf life. Whether you just came home with a prepackaged bunch from the grocery store or a bumper crop of wild-foraged mushrooms, you want to know proper storage methods so your time, money, and food don’t go to waste. Keep reading! In this article, we’re going to talk specifically about how to store oyster mushrooms.
What You'll Learn Today
How Long Can You Keep Oyster Mushrooms in the Fridge?
Oyster mushrooms are known for going bad within a few days when you try to store them fresh. That said, you can keep them in the fridge for up to a week if you store them properly.
If you buy your mushrooms prepackaged, choose the freshest ones you can find; they should have a date stamped somewhere on the packaging. Loosen the plastic covering and poke holes in the container to allow air flow, then store them in your crisper drawer.
If your mushrooms aren’t prepackaged, your best option is to place them in a paper bag; alternatively, you could place them in a plastic bag that has holes poked for air flow, or you could simply place them in a single layer on a paper towel. Again, store these mushrooms in your crisper drawer.
Make sure they are not close to strong-smelling foods such as onions as they may absorb the flavor. They also shouldn’t be kept near bananas, as these may cause the mushrooms to go bad more quickly.
Check your mushrooms at least once a day. Remove any that are becoming yellow, slimy, moldy, or showing other signs of rot.
Do not wash your mushrooms before storing them. Washing them will cause them to absorb more moisture, which in turn may cause them to rot more quickly.
What is the Best Way to Store Oyster Mushrooms?
Even if you do everything right, you probably aren’t going to get more than a week of shelf life out of your fridge-stored oyster mushrooms.
Fortunately, there are other ways to store them that can increase their shelf life. You can freeze them, dry them, can them, and pickle them.
But which method is the best? That is, of course, a matter of opinion.
That said, one of the most popular methods is to dry them. Drying mushrooms is easy, allows you to store them at room temperature for months, and does not diminish their taste.
You can use dehydrated oyster mushrooms just as you would use them fresh. Soak them in water for a few minutes to reconstitute them, then throw them into your favorite recipes.
You can also grind up dehydrated mushrooms to make a powder, which can then be used to flavor a variety of recipes. That said, oyster mushrooms have a pretty mild flavor, so you may not be able to taste the mushroom powder in recipes if it is combined with other strong flavors, such as garlic.
There are many different ways you can dehydrate mushrooms, so no worries if you don’t have a dehydrator. We’ll take a look at some of these dehydrating methods in the next section.
How to Dry Oyster Mushrooms
To dehydrate oyster mushrooms, you can either use a dehydrator, an oven, or a microwave, or you can air-dry the mushrooms in a sunny spot. Let’s take a closer look at each method below.
In a Dehydrator
Using a dehydrator is the most common method of drying oyster mushrooms.
Tear or cut your mushrooms into uniformly-sized pieces and place them in single layers on the dehydrator trays. Make sure there are small spaces between the mushrooms for air to flow between them.
Place the trays in the dehydrator and dry them at 125 degrees F for up to 12 hours. It may take even longer if the mushrooms are especially moist or the pieces are large.
Begin checking your mushrooms after about 7 hours. They are ready to come off the dehydrator when they feel dry and hard and snap easily between your fingers.
In an Oven
You can also dehydrate your mushrooms in an oven, though you have to be careful not to let them burn.
Set your oven on the lowest setting possible; for many ovens, this is 170 degrees F. Place the mushroom pieces in a single layer on parchment-lined baking sheets and place them in the oven.
Leave the oven door cracked open for the first hour or two to allow some of the excess heat and moisture to escape. Check the mushrooms repeatedly to make sure they aren’t beginning to burn.
The drying process will likely take several hours, though it may not take as long as using a dehydrator because the oven temperature will be higher. Keep an eye on the progress of your mushrooms and, when they snap between your fingers, they are ready to come out of the oven.
In a Microwave
Believe it or not, you can also use a microwave to dehydrate your mushrooms.
Place them on a plate and set your microwave to the lowest possible setting–preferably 100 to 150 watts. Microwave the mushrooms for about 20 minutes, then open the microwave door and allow the humid air inside to escape for 10 minutes.
Repeat this process about three to four times, or until the mushrooms have become shriveled and hard enough to snap between your fingers.
In a Sunny Spot
You can also dry your mushrooms the old-fashioned way–using air and sunlight.
To air-dry, you can either place your mushroom pieces in single layers on a paper towel, or you can string them on a piece of thread. Either way, place them in a dry, sunny spot.
Air drying generally takes about a day, though it may take longer in more humid conditions. For best results, the area should be dry and have good airflow.
Regardless of the method you use to dry your oyster mushrooms, allow them a few minutes to cool before storing them.
Once they are cool, transfer them to ziplock bags, glass jars, or airtight plastic containers. Seal the container to keep out moisture and insects.
Store the mushrooms in a cool, dry place, such as your pantry or a kitchen cupboard. You can store dehydrated oyster mushrooms for up to 6 months.
Other Oyster Mushroom Storage Methods
As mentioned above, there are a number of different ways you can store oyster mushrooms to extend their shelf life. We already discussed drying the mushrooms; now, let’s briefly touch on freezing, canning, and pickling them.
Freezing is one of the quickest and easiest storage methods. You can freeze the mushrooms either raw or sauteed; all you need is an airtight container or a freezer bag.
Place the mushrooms in the bag or container, make sure to remove as much air as possible, and throw it in the freezer. It’s as simple as that.
To use your mushrooms after freezing, take them out of the freezer and allow them to sit at room temperature for a little while to thaw out. Then, use them in your favorite recipes as you would fresh or dried mushrooms.
You can store oyster mushrooms this way for up to a month.
Oyster mushrooms can be canned, and they will store for a long time this way. However, canning is a much more involved process that takes time and skill.
To can these mushrooms, wash them, chop or slice them, and blanch them in boiling water. After five minutes, transfer the mushrooms and some of the liquid to canning jars.
Place the jars in a pressure canner and cook them for about an hour at 11 psi. For more information about canning oyster mushrooms, check out this article.
Canned oyster mushrooms can be stored for up to a year.
For a unique flavor blend, you can also pickle your oyster mushrooms. You can store pickled mushrooms in the fridge for a week or so, or you can can them as described above and keep them for 6 months to a year.
Check out this video to learn how to pickle oyster mushrooms:
There are many different ways you can store oyster mushrooms. You can keep fresh ones in the fridge for up to a week, freeze them for up to a month, dry them and store them in the pantry for up to 6 months, and can or pickle them and keep them for up to a year.