What is the shelf life of psychedelic mushrooms - and how long do their active ingredients last?
Time to read 8 min
Time to read 8 min
How long can mushrooms be kept? A question that not only mushroom pickers ask themselves in the fall. The shelf life is largely dependent on the type of storage. Fresh mushrooms spoil more quickly than dried ones and must therefore be used up quickly.
We tell you everything you need to know about storage and on the question of how long psychedelic mushrooms can be kept. Because how long mushrooms can be stored, whether psychedelic or not, is up to you in some ways.
Before we get into the question of how long psychedelic mushrooms can be kept, we should first clarify one thing: Possession of psychedelic mushrooms is not legal in Germany, as it is a narcotic. Here, we are usually talking about dried magic mushrooms.
So psychedelic mushrooms are illegal? The mushroom itself is not explicitly mentioned in the BtMG, it is much more about the active compound psilocybin, which is not legal in Germany.
Meanwhile, however, there are more and more people who grow psychedelic mushrooms at home and use them in the form of microdosing. This is not about intoxication, but experimentation. It is believed that psychedelic mushrooms could show effects on numerous diseases and symptoms. Consequently, the demand for the mushrooms has increased rapidly. Thus, the question about the shelf life of psychedelic mushrooms comes up again and again.
However, cultivation of psychedelic mushrooms is also not allowed, although there are so-called grow kits for sale on the internet. A gray area allows the legal purchase of these kits, because of course no grown mushrooms are sold. For cultivation, you only need mushroom spores - these in turn do not fall under the BtMG. Consequently, a grow kit is not illegal and can be purchased online.
However, mushrooms themselves, dried or fresh, are prohibited. Neither selling them nor storing them yourself is allowed. Thus, the question of how long psychedelic mushrooms can be kept doesn’t really arise - unless you want to be in a gray area.
Did you actually know what active ingredient makes psychedelic mushrooms psychedelic in the first place? It's psilocybin, which was discovered several thousand years ago. The history of mushrooms is extremely rich, and their discovery was instrumental in the invention of LSD. We speak of psychedelic mushrooms whenever psilocybin is present, which your body later converts into psilocin.
By the way: There are some highly poisonous mushroom species out there that do not contain any psilocybin and do not belong to the psychedelic mushrooms. A good example is Amanita phalloides, also known as the death cap, which causes most mushroom poisonings in Germany every year.
Many nature lovers love to pick mushrooms in the forest. But can you find psychedelic mushrooms in this country? Germany is actually home to several species of these mushrooms, which you can find and harvest during your forays into nature. Especially Psilocybe Cynascens is native to woody environments and grows there in abundance. In dried form, it has a long shelf life and is also traded on the black market.
Probably the most common specimen in Germany, Austria and Switzerland is the liberty cap, which particularly likes to grow in pastures and near manure. Basically, the higher up you look for this mushroom, the more often it appears.
The most visually familiar psychedelic mushroom is Amanita muscaria. It comes from the Amanita family and is considered poisonous. It is often found near Boletus mushrooms.
Theoretically, you can look for psychedelic mushrooms in the forest, although not all varieties grow in Germany and temperate climates. However, it is crucial for a find that you can recognize psychedelic mushrooms. For this reason, we have created a list that tells you more about the typical mushroom species.
What is the shelf life of mushrooms? That also depends on what kind it is. In any case, the shelf life of mushrooms is highest when dried. The varieties listed here can be stored dried for years.
Many specimens are native psychedelic mushrooms, such as Panaeolus papilionaceus. But where do psychedelic mushrooms grow? It’s different from variety to variety. You can find many in the middle of the forest, on meadows or at the roadside. A little mycology lesson can’t hurt.
Basically, you have several options when you want to preserve fresh mushrooms. Drying psychedelic mushrooms is the most common method, but alternatively you can freeze them or even pickle them. And then your mushrooms will last for how long? Let's take a look at that now!
We distinguish between mushroom shelf life in fresh form and in dried form. Psychedelic mushrooms are mostly used in dried form, you don't have to worry about the shelf life here. However, if you have found some mushrooms in the forest and want to store them fresh, you should use them up within the shortest possible time.
You have collected fresh mushrooms and don’t want to dry them? Start with optimal storage as soon as possible. Put your yield onto a paper towel and then put it in a sandwich bag (made of paper).
However, how long mushrooms will keep depends on more than just the mushroom itself. Many psychedelic mushrooms are full of nematodes (small worms feeding on the substance of the mushroom). If you don't dry them, these tiny worms will eat your mushrooms piece by piece. As you dry them, the harmless buggers die off, and your mushrooms will stay fresh longer.
The mushrooms may not be crushed during storage, but they must be completely enclosed by the paper. The perfect place to store them is in the refrigerator, the temperature should be around 4° Celsius.
Attention: Before using, be sure to check if your mushrooms already have brown spots or are rotten. In this case, you must dispose of them, otherwise the use may have side effects.
How long mushrooms can be kept depends on their condition. A fully dried mushroom can last for several years, but any residual moisture will quickly ruin the shroom. After harvesting, begin preparations as soon as possible so that you can store your mushrooms in a durable manner and still use them years later.
The first step is to spread your mushrooms out on a fresh, dry towel, preferably washed without fabric softener. Alternatively, you can use kitchen paper or a piece of cardboard. No mushroom should touch the other, enough distance is important. Place the cardboard or towel in a dry place in your home where the mushrooms will not be exposed to direct sunlight. If you want to speed up the pre-drying process, place a fan in front of it.
Only completely dry psychedelic mushrooms are durable and can no longer mold. Pre-drying is finished as soon as your mushrooms become wrinkled and feel like a piece of rubber. The shelf life of mushrooms still depends on how carefully you store them.
The second step is the final drying, which ensures a longer shelf life of the psychedelic mushrooms. To get the harvest completely bone dry, air drying is not enough. This method is more suitable for smaller quantities that are quickly used up. The crucial thing with air drying is that your room is not too humid. If in doubt, use a hygrometer beforehand and check the humidity!
Tip: If you use a dehydrator, you can extract all residual moisture from your mushrooms and thus significantly increase the shelf life. Instead of a dehydrator, you can also temporarily use your own oven or an air fryer. Alternative aids are classic drying agents or even the use of a fan. The latter is best used in conjunction with a dehumidifier.
How long the complete drying process takes depends on the method used. With an automatic dehydrator, you need about four to eight hours. If you use a desiccant, the process will take several days or weeks. It is best to check how dry your mushrooms have become every three days. The same applies to the fan method. Theoretically, you should run the device around the clock, but of course this costs electricity. As an alternative, you can either order psychedelic mushrooms online or invest your money in a good dehydrator.
And what is the shelf life of dried mushrooms if they’re stored really well? In this case, you can store your mushrooms for several years, they will not rot or grow mold. However, the psilocybin in psychedelic mushrooms may lose its potency over time. If you are storing mushrooms for less than a year, a sealed jar is the perfect location. For larger quantities, you should vacuum seal them airtight and in portions, otherwise you will have to damage the packaging each time you take them out.
If you want to keep your dried mushrooms longer, you can freeze them and increase the shelf life. However, you should never freeze mushrooms that you have collected fresh. They would rapidly develop mold after thawing and are no longer edible then.
The shelf life of psychedelic mushrooms depends largely on how they are stored. When fresh, they rarely last longer than three to five days. The situation is quite different with dried specimens, which you can theoretically store for years. The only problem is the decreasing effect due to the loss of the ingredients.
By the way, here's a final tip: If you want to give fresh mushrooms a few more days of shelf life in the short term, you can pickle them in honey. This way, they can stay fresh for up to four months.
How long (psychedelic) mushrooms and their active ingredients can be kept is therefore always a question of storage!