Handling Moldy Cordyceps militaris: Identifying Warning Signs

Are you aware of the dangers of using moldy cordyceps? Find out how to recognize the signs and the best way to handle it now!


Cordyceps sinensis, a precious and costly herb, requires careful storage to prevent mold growth. When cordyceps becomes moldy, it not only loses its valuable medicinal properties but can also pose potential health risks to consumers.

Recognizing Moldy Cordyceps and Proper Handling

In this article, we will guide you through the process of identifying signs of mold growth in cordyceps and provide you with expert advice on how to effectively manage this issue. It is essential to be aware of these signs so that you can take prompt action to prevent further damage. By following our expert tips, you can ensure the longevity and quality of your cordyceps.

Discovery of Moldy Cordyceps in Park Raises Concerns

Moldy cordyceps with white spots or green patches
Image: Moldy cordyceps with white spots or green patches

The freshness of fresh cordyceps lasts for a maximum of two weeks, whereas dried cordyceps can be stored for up to one year. It is important to note that this duration might decrease if cordyceps is exposed to mold due to improper storage. Clear indications of moldy cordyceps include:

  • Indicators of abnormalities in the cordyceps body include the presence of white spots, black spots, or mossy green patches.

  • The original color of cordyceps has been transformed by the emergence of dark spots, subsequently altering the shape of the cordyceps block.
  • The cordyceps that has become moldy no longer retains its original aroma, but instead emits a musty and damp scent.

Moldy cordyceps that is not properly treated can be very dangerous to use
This image depicts moldy cordyceps that has not been properly treated, highlighting the potential danger of using such specimens.

Signs and Handling of Moldy Cordyceps

As you may already know, mold is a harmful fungus that can grow on various types of food, including cordyceps. When cordyceps is parasitized by mold, it absorbs the herb’s nutrients. Additionally, mold contains toxic substances that can lead to poisoning, heart disease, cancer, and even death for those who consume moldy cordyceps.

However, if detected and handled promptly, mildly moldy cordyceps can still be used. When mold starts to appear on cordyceps, it typically begins at one point and spreads to other areas. Therefore, it is important to remove the moldy parts, disinfect the non-moldy parts, and process them accordingly.

In the case of heavily moldy cordyceps, they should not be used at all and should be disposed of to avoid any potential harm to your health and the health of your family members.

2. How to Handle Moldy Cordyceps

To continue using moldy cordyceps, there are specific steps that need to be followed:

Step 1: Determine the degree of mold contamination and remove the moldy parts
If cordyceps has recently molded on a small scale of about 5%, quickly remove the cordyceps from the jar or bag, and then eliminate the moldy parts to prevent further spreading.

If cordyceps has been heavily moldy, surpassing 5%, it cannot be treated or used any longer. It is crucial to dispose of the entire cordyceps to avoid any regrettable consequences for your health.

Step 2: Disinfect the non-moldy part of cordyceps
Rinse the non-moldy part of cordyceps in diluted saltwater with a concentration of approximately 20-30%. Subsequently, rinse it with hot saltwater at temperatures ranging from 65-70 degrees Celsius for dried cordyceps and 100 degrees Celsius for fresh cordyceps. Repeat this process 1-2 times.

Step 3: Process and store the disinfected cordyceps
Dry the disinfected cordyceps in the shade until the moisture content reaches 13%. Afterward, place the cordyceps in a glass jar or vacuum-sealed bag, tightly seal it, and store it in a dry, well-ventilated place away from direct sunlight.

3. Proper Storage of Cordyceps

How to store fresh cordyceps

Store in the freezer compartment
To extend the shelf life of fresh cordyceps by 30-45 days, store them in the freezer compartment. Start by placing the cordyceps in a vacuum-sealed bag, removing all the air inside the bag with a vacuum sealer, and then storing it in the freezer.

Store in the refrigerator compartment
While the refrigerator compartment can preserve fresh cordyceps for a maximum of 14 days, it is important to note that the fresh cordyceps branches may become moldy and lose their nutritional value if left for longer periods. Therefore, ensure you tightly seal the cordyceps in a jar and place it in the refrigerator compartment.

Dry the cordyceps
After drying fresh cordyceps, place them in a vacuum-sealed bag or a glass jar, tightly seal it, and store it in a dry, cool place away from direct sunlight. It’s worth mentioning that the drying process may cause a loss of approximately 10-20% of the nutrient content in the cordyceps.

Soaking cordyceps in alcohol
For preserving the original nutrient content of fresh cordyceps, you can soak them in alcohol instead of drying. This method provides highly nutritious cordyceps alcohol for consumption. Simply place fresh cordyceps in a container with a ratio of 10 cordyceps per liter of alcohol and soak for around 30 days before use.

The drying and soaking methods are recommended for larger quantities of fresh cordyceps. Smaller quantities should ideally be consumed within 14 days to preserve flavor and nutritional content.

How to store dried cordyceps

To prevent dried cordyceps from becoming moldy, place them in a vacuum-sealed bag or a glass jar with a desiccant packet. Ensure that the bag or jar is tightly sealed and store it in a dry, cool location away from direct sunlight. Regularly check the bags or jars to promptly detect signs of mold and handle them appropriately. Additionally, dried cordyceps can be soaked in alcohol for easier storage and use.

How to store powdered cordyceps

Powdered cordyceps are more convenient to use and store compared to fresh and dried cordyceps. Opt for carefully packaged powdered cordyceps in leak-proof, airtight glass jars or aluminum bags that protect against excessive air and light exposure. Store the product in places with temperatures below 30 degrees Celsius, ensuring a dry, cool environment away from direct sunlight.

How to store cordyceps soaked in honey

How to soak cordyceps in honey
– 5-20g dried or fresh cordyceps
– 500ml honey
– 1 glass jar with a lid

1. Clean the cordyceps and the glass jar, allowing them to dry.
2. Place the cordyceps in the jar and cover it with honey.
3. Seal the jar tightly and let it soak for approximately 7 days before use.

How to store cordyceps soaked in honey
– Place the jar in a dry, cool location away from direct sunlight.
– Glass jars are recommended for soaking cordyceps with honey.
– Avoid using plastic or metal jars, as they may affect the quality of the product.

It is important to be mindful of proper storage and handling practices to minimize the risk of mold, financial waste, and adverse effects on your health.