The Paper Bag Tip To Stave Off Slimy Mushrooms

Earthy portabellas, delicate chanterelles, crunchy enoki — mushrooms are almost too enticing not to bring home from the supermarket. However, their dreaded, seemingly inevitable, and almost too fast demise may give pause to mushroom lovers when deciding whether to buy or not. Yet, changing the way mushrooms are stored in the fridge will make all the difference, and it simply starts with a paper bag.

Your local supermarket is likely already doing a great job packaging mushrooms for optimal freshness by offering packaging with perforation that will let in air to dry out any moisture the mushrooms release. These packages are usually fine to throw in the fridge. It's the loose, bulk mushrooms that will benefit most from storage in paper bags. For this method to work, you must first bring home the freshest mushrooms you can find. Make sure you're choosing the freshest mushrooms by looking out for these signs.

How to pick the best mushrooms

If you're lucky, you might be staring down a plethora of mushroom varieties, wondering which one to pick. With so many different types of mushrooms available, it can be hard to have a generalized approach to picking out the freshest. Mushrooms take on a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, so it can take a trained eye to differentiate the qualities that define freshness. Luckily, there are some telltale signs to look out for that anyone can spot.

According to Serious Eats, moisture is the biggest indicator of mushroom quality and freshness. Fresh mushrooms should feel dry and firm to the touch, not blotchy, wet, or slimy. For lighter-colored mushrooms, choose fungi with little to no discoloration or wet spots. Avoid confusing discoloration with dirt, which is to be expected on some mushroom varieties. Now that you've found your best mushrooms, store them in a paper bag.

Store mushrooms in a paper bag

To help prolong the shelf life and prevent sliminess, store mushrooms in a paper bag. Place whole mushrooms in a paper bag and store the bag in the fridge. As mushrooms age, they are likely to release water, which the paper bag will absorb, keeping the mushroom's surface slime-free for longer. Before grabbing a paper bag, you might be tempted to clean off the dirt commonly found on some mushrooms, but Homes & Gardens recommends holding off on cleaning until right before you're ready to use them. Then, you can then briefly rinse and pat dry.

If you don't have a paper bag handy and want the same results, Southern Living recommends loosely wrapping mushrooms in a dry paper towel inside a plastic seal bag and storing them in the fridge, leaving the bag open.

Now, it's time to explore the beautiful world of cooking with mushrooms with recipes like Coquille St. Jacques or lemon garlic grilled portobellos.