How do you store pheasant back mushrooms in the fridge?

Pheasant back mushrooms, also known as dryad’s saddle or hawkswing mushrooms, are a flavorful wild mushroom that can be found growing on decaying wood in the spring and fall. They have a meaty texture and robust, woodsy flavor that makes them a prized ingredient in many dishes. However, like all mushrooms, proper storage is important for maintaining quality and freshness.

Should pheasant back mushrooms be refrigerated?

Yes, pheasant back mushrooms should be refrigerated. As with most mushrooms, cold temperatures help slow the enzymatic and microbial activity that causes them to deteriorate. Refrigeration extends the shelf life of fresh pheasant back mushrooms significantly compared to leaving them at room temperature.

How to store pheasant back mushrooms in the fridge

Here are some tips for proper storage of pheasant back mushrooms in the refrigerator:

  • Clean the mushrooms gently by wiping with a damp paper towel or soft brush. Avoid soaking or washing them fully in water, as this can cause them to absorb extra moisture and deteriorate faster.
  • Trim the ends of the stems and cut larger mushrooms into thinner slices. This allows for more rapid chilling in the fridge.
  • Place the mushrooms in a paper or cloth bag in the refrigerator. Do not use plastic bags, as this traps in excess moisture and accelerates spoilage.
  • Make sure the refrigerator is set to a temperature between 35-40°F (2-4°C) for optimum freshness.
  • Use the mushrooms within 3-5 days for best quality. The sooner they are used, the better they will taste.

What causes pheasant back mushrooms to deteriorate?

There are a few key factors that can cause pheasant back mushrooms to deteriorate and lose quality faster, even when refrigerated:

  • Microbial growth – Bacteria, molds, and other microbes that are naturally present on mushrooms can grow rapidly in warm temperatures and cause them to rot and decay.
  • Enzymatic activity – Mushrooms naturally contain enzymes that help break down their cell structures. These enzymes accelerate at warmer temperatures, causing the mushrooms to soften and liquefy.
  • Excess moisture – Too much moisture causes mushrooms to become soggy and slimy. Storing in plastic bags or washing can introduce excess moisture.
  • Physical damage – Bruising, crushing, and rough handling can damage the mushrooms and provide entry points for microbial growth.

Proper refrigeration helps limit microbial and enzymatic activity for better preservation. Gentle handling minimizes physical damage. And storage in breathable paper or cloth rather than plastic prevents excess moisture buildup.

What are the signs that pheasant back mushrooms are going bad?

Watch for these signs that indicate your pheasant back mushrooms are deteriorating and should be discarded:

  • Appearance of sliminess or wetness
  • Darkening in color from white/beige to brown/grey
  • Softening in texture and loss of firmness
  • Strong sour or rotten smell
  • Visible mold growth
  • Dry, shriveled appearance

Fresh pheasant back mushrooms should look dry, springy, and pale in color. Discard any that show signs of spoilage.

Can you freeze pheasant back mushrooms?

Freezing is an excellent way to preserve fresh pheasant back mushrooms for longer term storage. To freeze pheasant backs:

  • Clean and slice mushrooms as desired.
  • Lay slices out in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Place in the freezer until completely frozen, about 2-3 hours.
  • Transfer frozen slices to ziplock freezer bags, removing as much air as possible.
  • Store bags laid flat in the freezer for up to 6 months.

To use frozen pheasant backs, simply remove desired amount from freezer and defrost in the refrigerator overnight before use. They can go straight into cooking applications once thawed.

How long do pheasant back mushrooms last in the fridge?

With proper storage in the refrigerator, fresh pheasant back mushrooms will typically last:

  • In paper or cloth bag: 3-5 days
  • Wrapped in plastic: 1-2 days
  • At room temperature: 1 day max

For best quality and flavor, try to use refrigerated pheasant backs within 3 days of harvesting or purchasing. The sooner they are enjoyed, the better!

Tips for getting the longest fridge life

Follow these tips for maximizing the shelf life of your refrigerated pheasant back mushrooms:

  • Refrigerate as soon as possible after harvesting or bringing home from the store.
  • Store loose in paper bags rather than plastic wrap or bags.
  • Keep fridge temperature between 35-40°F.
  • Wash just before use rather than in advance.
  • Cook mushrooms within 3-5 days for optimum freshness and flavor.
  • Freeze any you won’t use within 3-5 days.

How to select fresh pheasant backs at the store

Follow these tips when shopping for pheasant back mushrooms:

  • Look for mushrooms with firm, plump caps and minimal curled edges.
  • Avoid any with slimy textures, brown discoloration or dampness.
  • Check that the gill side underneath is beige, not purplish grey.
  • Select mushrooms harvested within the past 1-2 days for ultimate freshness.
  • Only purchase amount you plan to use within 3-5 days.

Choosing the freshest, firmest pheasant backs you can find makes a big difference in flavor and how long they will keep in the fridge.

How to clean pheasant back mushrooms

Proper cleaning is important for both food safety and maximizing fridge life. Follow these steps:

  1. Use a soft brush or paper towel to gently wipe away any dirt or debris.
  2. Trim the bottom 1/2 inch off the stems using a sharp knife.
  3. If the mushrooms seem at all damp or slimy, quickly rinse under cool water and pat extremely dry with towels.
  4. Refrigerate immediately after cleaning.

Avoid extended soaking or rinsing unless absolutely necessary. Quick dry brushes followed by refrigeration is best for preserving texture and flavor.

How to store prepped pheasant backs

For mushrooms you have sliced, diced or otherwise prepped in advance:

  • Place prepped mushrooms in an airtight container, with parchment between layers if slicing.
  • Make sure no moisture accumulates in the container.
  • Use within 2 days for best quality and freshness.

Keeping your prepped pheasant backs chilled in an airtight container helps retain texture and prevent drying out until you are ready to cook.

Can you store in the crisper drawer?

Yes, you can store pheasant back mushrooms in the refrigerator crisper drawer. The lower humidity environment helps reduce moisture accumulation that could cause spoilage. Some tips for crisper storage:

  • Place an unbleached paper towel in the bottom of the crisper to absorb condensation.
  • Keep mushrooms in a loose paper bag or cloth bag, not plastic.
  • Keep temperature between 35-40°F.
  • Use within 3-5 days for best quality.

The crisper provides slightly better air circulation than refrigerator shelves. But mushrooms should still be kept loosely in breathable paper rather than plastic.

Can you refrigerate in the original packaging?

It’s best not to store pheasant back mushrooms in their original plastic packaging in the refrigerator. Leaving them in plastic causes excess moisture accumulation that accelerates spoilage. Instead:

  • Remove mushrooms from the original store packaging.
  • Place loosely in a clean paper or cloth bag.
  • Refrigerate using best practices outlined above.

For longest fridge life, always transfer mushrooms to breathable paper or cloth bags rather than leaving them in plastic.

Troubleshooting common issues

Use this troubleshooting guide if you notice any problems with your refrigerated mushrooms:

Issue Cause Solution
Slimy texture Excess moisture Dry thoroughly before refrigerating; store in paper, not plastic
Darkening/browning Enzymatic activity Use within 1-2 days; keep fridge colder
Wilting Dehydration Keep in bag with towel to retain moisture
Strong odor Spoilage Discard mushrooms immediately

Catching issues early and adjusting your storage practices can help avoid losing your precious mushrooms to spoilage.

How do humidity levels affect storage?

Proper humidity levels are important for mushroom storage in the fridge. Too much humidity causes excess moisture, while too little causes drying and wilting. Ideal conditions are:

  • Fridge humidity level: Around 60-70% RH
  • Storage container: Breathable paper or cloth to moderate moisture

Avoid storing mushrooms in sealed plastic bags, as this can drive humidity near 100% and accelerate spoilage. Open paper bags work well to provide air circulation while retaining just enough humidity.

Usage and Consumption Tips

Once you have properly stored your pheasant back mushrooms in the fridge, here are some tips for usage and consumption:

Prepping Wild Mushrooms

  • Clean gently by wiping with a damp towel or brushing with a soft brush.
  • Trim the ends of the stems.
  • Slice larger caps into thinner pieces before cooking or drying.

Cooking Pheasant Backs

  • Saute in butter or olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add to soups, stews, and braises.
  • Roast at 375°F until lightly browned and tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Grill over medium heat for rich, smoky flavor.

Enjoying Raw

  • Thinly slice caps and stems to add to salads.
  • Add raw to noodle dishes for texture and flavor.
  • Puree with oil, vinegar, and herbs for a pheasant back mushroom sauce.

Drying for Long Term Storage

  • Use a food dehydrator or low oven to fully dry sliced mushrooms.
  • Store dried slices in an airtight container for up to 1 year.
  • Rehydrate before use by simmering in soups or broths.


Can you store pheasant back mushrooms in the freezer?

Yes, pheasant back mushrooms freeze very well for long term storage. Simply clean, slice, spread out on a baking sheet, freeze until solid, then transfer to freezer bags. They will keep for up to 6 months in the freezer.

How do you revive limp pheasant backs?

If your mushrooms have gotten a bit limp or wilted, you can revive them by giving them a quick ice water bath for 5-10 minutes. Then pat extremely dry before refrigerating or using. This can help perk them up.

Do pheasant backs need to be cooked before eating?

It is recommended to always cook pheasant back mushrooms thoroughly before eating. Cooking helps break down potentially indigestible compounds in raw mushrooms and reduce risk of any contamination.

Can you eat pheasant back mushrooms raw?

While not recommended, some people do choose to consume pheasant back mushrooms raw or lightly cooked. Make sure mushrooms are very fresh and clean. Be aware of potential health risks involved in eating raw wild mushrooms.

What is the best pheasant back mushroom substitute?

If you can’t find pheasant backs, oyster mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms both work well as substitutes in recipes due to their similar meaty texture and woodsy flavor.

Leave a Comment