Are Slimy Mushrooms Bad?

It often happens that mushrooms in your fridge become slimy quickly. You’d rather find a way to use them, but when mushrooms are slimy, are they bad?

When mushrooms are slimy, it means they are turning bad. Slimy mushrooms means they have bacteria or fungi growing on them. These microorganisms are causing the mushroom to decompose which ruins their taste and can potentially make you sick.

This article explains slimy mushrooms in more detail and if they can be salvaged1.

Are Slimy Mushrooms Bad?

A pile of slimy mushrooms.
Slimy mushrooms

As a Certified Health Coach many clients ask me about healthy food including mushrooms. Also, I purchase and consume them every week. Therefore, I have researched this topic in the past and present. Let’s examine this topic closely.

Typically, fresh whole mushrooms last from 7 to 10 days, after that they start turning slimy. This means some kind of bacteria is growing on them, causing them to decompose. On occasion, mushrooms may last up to two weeks.

When they first start to become slimy, many people will cook them to prevent them from turning badder. This will extend their shelf life but if they have been slimy for a long time, throw them away. 

There are ways to extend mushrooms shelf life before they become slimy. One way is to store them unpeeled in the fridge inside a paper bag2. 

Another way is to brown the mushroom in a little bit of olive oil and garlic. Place them into a sealed container in the fridge. 

For a longer-term option, you can freeze mushrooms. In that case, you need to cook or steam them first and then put them in the freezer. Frozen they can last for about 6-12 months.

Steaming mushrooms before freezing allows them to last longer. I wrote a whole blog post on freezing mushrooms which covers everything you need to know step by step. You can check out that post by clicking here, The Complete Guide To Freezing Mushrooms.

Slimy Mushrooms and Illness

Ingesting slimy mushrooms can make you sick. Typically symptoms may include nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea. In rare cases, the toxins from older, bad mushrooms can cause botulism, E.coli or salmonella.

If you’ve eaten slimy mushrooms and you feel sick, contact your doctor. The more serious illnesses noted above can be fatal.

It’s safe to say the best thing to do is throw away slimy mushrooms instead of risking sickness. 

Mushroom Fun Fact: Mushrooms made the Environmental Working Group’s Clean Fifteen List for 20203.

Slimy Mushrooms and Washing

You can wash the slime off of mushrooms, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be safe to eat. Slimy mushrooms that have been washed can make you sick since the bacteria are growing on them.

Slimy mushrooms may ruin your dish because washing them won’t get rid of the mold and bad flavor it causes. Mold can burrow deep into mushrooms, which means it may not be visible on the surface. Besides tasting bad, some types of mold are harmful if ingested.

Keep them dry to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria on the surface. Do not wash your mushrooms because they are very porous and absorb water like a sponge. Wash them quickly and scrub them gently with a soft brush just before cooking them4. Even better, use a dry cloth or paper towel to wipe any dirt off of mushrooms instead of using water.

The Results of Cooking Bad Mushrooms

cooking mushrooms.
Cooking slimy mushrooms

Bad mushrooms that have been cooked may cause illness. The slimy mushrooms may contain bacteria and mold which may cause stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

You’ve noticed your mushrooms have gone slimy, what now? Don’t think cooking them will make them okay to eat. Make sure to go through the package carefully and remove any mushrooms without slime or any signs of going bad.

Many times only a few of them have started to turn. If you have doubts about any of them, discard the mushrooms. Your always better safe than sorry.

Many people have the opinion that a small amount of slime or a wet feel on a few mushrooms will not cause harm. Typically, they’ll wash the slim off and cook them right after cleaning them. Most of the time, they’ll be okay and likely won’t get sick. 

Even though, it’s best to avoid them because they could cause food poisoning or at the very least, nausea. Washing the mushrooms in between good and bad, as well as the good ones, gives you the chance to check them all thoroughly.

Other Signs Mushrooms Have Gone Bad

Besides being slimy, mushrooms gone bad may also display other signals they should be discarded. The following represent signs a mushroom has gone bad:

  • Slimy.
  • Wrinkles.
  • Dark Spots.
  • Their color has darkened.
  • They smell ammonia-like, fishy or pungent.
  • They have been in the refrigerator for more than two weeks.

What Mushrooms Smell Like When They’re Bad

When mushrooms are bad, they can smell ammonia-like, pungent or fishy. A mushroom that hasn’t turned bad produces an earthy smell. If a mushroom smells bad it should be discarded.

A good habit is to smell your healthy mushrooms prior to cooking them. It will help you identify what they are supposed to smell like which will make it easier for you to identify a slimy mushroom gone bad.

If you have any questions to ask me about this article don’t hesitate to comment below or email us. You can find an email on our contact page.

Read Next – More Food Storage

How To Freeze Spinach

A Guide To Storing Asparagus The Proper Way

Food Storage Bags Vs. Freezer Bags – What You Need To Know

  1. USDA: Mushrooms []
  2. Fruits & Veggies: Mushrooms []
  3. EWG: EWG’s 2020 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce []
  4. FDA: Selecting and Serving Produce Safely []

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