How To Clean and Store Mushrooms

Find out the best way to clean fresh mushrooms before cooking them as well as how to store them so they stay fresh as long as possible.

The best way to clean mushrooms is a controversial topic. Most experts say that you should never wash mushrooms in water because they will absorb too much moisture because they are very porous. Because of that, instead of getting a nice golden sear when cooking them, they’ll steam when you cook them.

However, I have never had good results when cleaning mushrooms with a brush or a paper towel. I’ve been washing mushrooms in water all the years that I’ve been cooking and have absolutely no issues getting them a beautiful sear and browning on the mushrooms.

I decided to do an experiment and see how much water mushrooms absorb when they’re washed in water. I’ll also share the best way to store mushrooms to keep them fresh as long as possible.

Should You Wash Mushrooms?

I bought a 1 pound package of mushrooms at the grocery store and weighted them before cleaning them. The total weight was 16.4 lbs . Then, I washed the mushrooms and they weighed 17.2 lbs. They absorbed only 0.8 ounces of water. I’m very satisfied with that small amount.

Should you wash mushrooms? 
Mushrooms on a plate on a scale before and after washing them in water.

Look at how dirty the water is when you wash the mushrooms. Whenever I buy conventional mushrooms from the grocery store, this is very typical of how they look. I didn’t choose the dirtiest package either:).

I definitely like knowing that the mushrooms I cook were washed. If you use a brush or a paper towel, I feel like you’re just rubbing the dirt around and not actually getting all the surface grime off.

Should you wash mushrooms? 
Fresh mushrooms before washing them and a bowl of dirty water after washing mushrooms

How To Clean Mushrooms

This is the way I like to wash mushrooms: Take a handful of mushrooms at a time and hold them under running water to get rid of all the visible dirt and grime. Place them on a paper towel or clean kitchen towel to catch any dripping water, while you continue washing the remaining mushrooms.

The key is not to submerge and leave the mushrooms in water for too long, because they will absorb the water, become bloated, mushy and fall apart.

Then, I take the washed mushrooms and give them another step of cleaning by rubbing them all over with a paper towel. This cleans the mushrooms even more AND dries them too.

I also make sure to remove any grime from between the stem and cap of the mushrooms with the paper towel or a paring knife.

Please note that I am talking about cleaning conventional mushrooms that you buy at the grocery store. If you use other mushrooms, like wild mushrooms, they will need to be cleaned differently. For example, morel mushrooms need to be submerged in heavily salted water first.

How to clean mushrooms
Washing mushrooms in water, mushrooms draining on a paper towel, cleaning mushrooms with a paper towel.

How to Store Mushrooms

If you buy mushrooms in the containers with plastic wrap on top, remove the mushrooms from the packaging. This way of storing mushrooms will keep them moist and they’ll go bad faster. If you don’t have time to clean the mushrooms, place the mushrooms in a paper bag.

How to store whole mushrooms - in a paper bag instead of the store container

If you have time, wash the mushrooms and place them in a container lined with a paper towel on the bottom and place another paper towel on top. The paper towel will absorb excess moisture and will keep your mushrooms fresh much longer. I’ve had mushrooms stay fresh this way for up to 2 weeks.

How to store sliced mushrooms
Place a paper towel in the storage container.

Delicious Mushroom Recipes

Marinated Mushrooms

Grilled Zucchini and Mushrooms

Mushroom Barley Soup

Hearty Green Beans With Mushrooms

1 Comment

  • Oksana Shell

    Olga thank you for sharing. I also wash my mushrooms, and trying not to soak them for a long time. After washing I place them on paper towel pet dry and they are perfect for frying. Mushrooms are my favorite. I love soup from dry mushrooms 😋

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