Mushroom dishes are popular in autumn. Studies have shown, however, that there are often problems with the quality and freshness of mushrooms from supermarkets, discounters and greengrocers. How to tell if mushrooms are fresh.
Fresh mushrooms are delicate and spoil quickly. Stains, dark discoloration or bruises indicate that the mushroom is no longer quite fresh.
Do not buy mushrooms in tightly sealed containers. Moisture forms under the foils, which causes the mushrooms to spoil quickly.
Keep mushrooms cool and airy and eat them as soon as possible.
Mushrooms are booming in autumn. They go well in risotto, with pasta and of course in game dishes. As a study by the RBB from 2019 shows, edible mushrooms from German supermarkets, discounters and greengrocers are often spoiled and can become a health problem.
Mushrooms: “Actually only for the garbage can”
Wolfgang Bivour, a certified mushroom expert from the German Society for Mycology, examined mushrooms, chanterelles and porcini mushrooms for the RBB. According to the mushroom expert, 11 of the 15 samples were harmful to health. Some of the fungi examined were rotten, moldy or contained maggots and were therefore “actually only intended for the dustbin,” says Bivour. The expert declared only four samples to be flawless.
Risk of false mushroom poisoning
Eating spoiled mushrooms can cause something called spurious mushroom poisoning. This is the name of a disease that is not caused by toadstools, but by spoiled goods.
This food poisoning produces nausea and vomiting in mild cases. Severe diarrhea and vomiting can lead to a loss of electrolytes and water, which can also be life-threatening in infants, small children and the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.
The Charité in Berlin offers a telephone hotline for those affected. The so-called poison emergency hotline can be reached 24 hours a day on 030/19240. You can find other poison control centers and poison information centers here at the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety.
Tips for buying mushrooms: Recognize fresh mushrooms
- Mushrooms from the region are better than mushrooms that come from Poland or Belarus, for example, and have been transported a long way.
- Mushrooms should be packed in such a way that no condensation can form inside the package.
- Therefore, it is better to buy mushrooms in bulk.
- Mushrooms should generally not show any bruises or dark discoloration on the stem ends when they are bought.
- Fresh mushrooms are hard and dry and free from dark brown spots, the stalk ends are light.
- When you cut them open, the cut surface should also be light: the light lamellae show that the mushroom is fresh, with older mushrooms they turn brown. Open-bottomed mushrooms can develop spores and spoil, but fresh mushrooms have the rim of the cap fused to the stem. If mushrooms smell fungus-earthy, that’s a good sign.
- Fresh chanterelles are yellow, dry and rather crumbly. If they turn brown or mushy, they are usually no longer edible.
- Porcini mushrooms should be hard, no bump should form when pressed. It is best to buy porcini sliced so that you can examine the inside of the mushroom and avoid any surprises when you get home.
Store mushrooms properly
Mushrooms stay fresh best when they can breathe. Instead of storing them in a plastic jar, store them in a paper bag. It is important that the mushrooms are not crushed. Mushrooms keep for three to four days in the refrigerator or in a cool cellar.
Mushrooms can easily be frozen for three to four months. It is important that you briefly blanch the mushrooms in boiling salted water before freezing.
You can dry mushrooms in the oven. To do this, cut the mushrooms into thin slices and dry them in the oven at 40 degrees for at least four hours with the oven door open. The dried mushrooms will keep in an airtight container until the next mushroom season.
Tip for the preparation: Do not wash the mushrooms, just brush them off. Cut out any squishy spots.