Raw vs. Canned Mushrooms and Olives

When we live in a fairly developed economy, it’s easy to get convenient options like canned or packaged mushrooms and packed olives at the local store. In fact, many online recipes from American sources call for canned ingredients, including olives and mushrooms.

On the other hand, raw mushrooms and olives can be somewhat difficult to obtain, tricky to store safely, and require some more steps while cooking or baking. In flavor, however, it seems like fresh or raw ingredients always win out.

If you’re confused about using canned or raw mushrooms and olives, here’s a breakdown of what to expect from both. The discussion below will hopefully give you an idea of the ingredients type you need to go for:

Using Fresh Ingredients

When you look at the online discussions or consult someone in real life, it seems like those who’ve used fresh mushrooms are heavily in favor of them. Many cooks also claim that using fresh, raw mushrooms would mean that you’d never go back to the canned variety. For olives, though, we might have to go with the brined version instead of the canned or fresh varieties:

Here are a few reasons why this is so:

  • Canned mushrooms and olives have usually been soaking in brine or oil for several weeks, months, or even years. This means that they’re full of sodium and have significantly less benefits than the fresh varieties
  • Fresh mushrooms and olives give us more protein, vitamins, and other beneficial substances.
  • Canned mushrooms have a lot of calories and carbs, with even sugar being an addition at times. This is why those with issues like diabetes or dietary limitations might want to stick with the fresh options
  • Many also report that the taste of fresh mushrooms is superior to the canned ones. While we cannot say the same for olives, as the fresh ones are quite bitter, we can look for alternatives that aren’t canned.
  • There are several different kinds of mushrooms; when we buy fresh, the experiences will vary up our palate. The shimeji mushrooms are quite different from the champignons, for one.

The  Label on Canned Mushrooms

Canned or packaged mushrooms usually have a label that tells you where they’re sourced from. If you take the time to read this label, it will usually tell you that the source of these mushrooms is in some other country, perhaps halfway across the word.

Most people would prefer to support local businesses rather than some huge international corporation. If you’re one of them, buying fresh is a good way to ensure a responsible purchase.

How to Buy Fresh Mushrooms

If you’re lucky enough to have access to raw mushrooms at a nearby supermarket, it’s a good idea to research how to get the best ones available.

Some recommend passing over prepackaged mushrooms and going for the loose variety. This way, you can pick them up beforehand and determine their quality as well as their physical condition. You’ll get a nice haul of fresh mushrooms and also get the best value for your money.

However, getting prepackaged raw mushrooms would still do. If you’re in a rush to prepare your meal, grabbing a package shouldn’t hurt the recipe too much.

When you do get to browse through the loose mushrooms, or are just looking at them in their packaging, check the caps. The mushroom caps should be whole and intact. It’s best if they’re large with small stems. There shouldn’t be much shriveling or dryness, either; discoloration also means that you should steer clear of that particular specimen.

When you touch a fresh mushroom, remember that it should feel light, firm, plump, and somewhat springy in your hand. They shouldn’t be spongy. While it’s fine if they feel a little damp, drop them back if you detect any moistness of sliminess.

Use your sense of smell while shopping for fresh mushrooms. If you detect a  very strong, earth scent, it means you’re getting some very flavorful mushrooms. At all events, a fishy or sour smell from mushrooms is a warning sign. Whether you’re buying morel mushrooms or some other kind, checking carefully is a must.

Canned Olives

Canned olives might not be the most appetizing item, especially if you have a refined palate. Their texture is somewhat spongy, and you can’t really taste the olive flavor over the brine. All packed food has gone through some process in order to make it last longer, but olives are processed using lye so that it loses its bitterness. The lye does its job, but it ruins the texture and taste of the natural olive.

Brined but Not Canned

If you’re on the search for the most beneficial and nutritious options for olives but still want them to be easily edible, check your local supermarket. Many grocery stores, specialty delis, and supermarkets might have brined olives for sale. If these are not canned, they’re probably better in both taste and nutrition than the canned ones.

First off, the open brined olives usually have a much better texture. Some can even be very firm, but others become succulently soft. Second, they retain a lot of the olive flavor, so we can enjoy the food to the fullest.

Yet another option you can explore are cured olives. These are just ribbed using salt and cured until they’re very flavorful. Their appearance might not be that great, as the salt causes him to wrinkle out and become very dense. Once they go through  the curing process, these olives are great for mixing in salads, jazzing up bread, or using in pasta, soups, etc.

Storing Raw Olives and Mushrooms

If you have managed to get your hands on some fresh olives, there’s no point in trying to store them as they are. If they’re ripe enough to eat, store them in brine yourself and check on them in a week or so. As long as you use natural brine, the result will be delicious and quite a bit better than canned or bottled olives.

Raw or fresh mushroom are a different story altogether. Since mushrooms have such a high moisture content, they will spoil very quickly if you don’t store them properly. You’ll probably be bringing the home from the supermarket in a paper bag. This might help them breath for some time, but will make them spongy and wrinkly in  a few days.

If you have prepackaged mushrooms, let them stay in the original packaging or the fridge.

For fresh loose mushrooms, use the smallest possible container. Cover the opening with plastic wrap and make some holes in the plastic using a toothpick.


If you’re trying to switch to a healthier lifestyle, making a few simple changes could result in a lot of difference. Shunning the high-sodium canned ingredients is a step in the right direction. Other easy tips include switching to olive oil, as that is believed to help with weight loss. With such changes and a bit more exercise, we’d hopefully be able to reach our health and body goals very soon.