One of the first mushrooms of the fall is the delicious Yellow Chanterelle. A week or two after the first heavy fall rain small little yellow buttons will start appearing throughout the forest. Since this time of year coincides with hunting season in Oregon it is best for anyone out in the forest picking mushrooms to be wearing bright colors so they are not mistaken for a deer. This has always been one of my personal favorite mushrooms to look for, and is one of the easiest to find. But with every mushroom unless you are 100% certain of what you are picking DO NOT EAT IT! Now for a little about this treasure of the forest.
Since I love using Wikipedia for info here is a little bit of history and uses for this tasty treat:
“Though records of chanterelles being eaten date back to the 1500’s, they first gained widespread recognition as a culinary delicacy with the spreading influence of French cuisine in the 1700’s, where they began appearing in palace kitchens. For many years, they remained notable for being served at the tables of nobility. Nowadays, the usage of chanterelles in the kitchen is common throughout Europe and North America. In 1836, the Swedish mycologist Elias Fries considered the chanterelle “as one of the most important and best edible mushrooms.”
Chanterelles as a group are generally described as being rich in flavor, with a distinctive taste and aroma difficult to characterize. Some species have a fruity odor, others a more woody, earthy fragrance, and others still can even be considered spicy. The golden chanterelle is perhaps the most sought-after and flavorful chanterelle, and many chefs consider it on the same short list of gourmet fungi as truffles and morels. It therefore tends to command a high price in both restaurants and specialty store.”
Over the years I have dried, canned, pickled, and sautéed chanterelles in as many recipes as I can. Other mushrooms might be stronger flavored or different tasting, but this one is the easiest to find in large quantities. There are always several small stands of mushroom buyers around that will pay by the pound for these if you want to put in the time to find large amounts. The only thing about selling them that I never liked is that there is a subspecies of chanterelle that are white that the buyers will never take. I can’t tell any difference in taste between the two so that means more for me to enjoy. On a successful day I have found 20+ lbs of yellow chanterelles with only a few hours of searching.
Identification: The Yellow Chanterelle mushroom has a bright yellow to orange cap, which is funnel-shaped and wavy. The cap can grow up to 10 centimeters in diameter, and the stem is typically short and thick. The underside of the cap features gill-like ridges that run down the stem. These ridges are forked, blunt, and widely spaced.
Harvesting: Yellow Chanterelle mushrooms are typically harvested in the late summer and fall months. It is important to only harvest mature mushrooms with fully formed caps and gills. To prevent damage to the mycelium, it is recommended to cut the stem instead of pulling the mushroom out of the ground. Always carry a mushroom identification guide and ensure that you are not harvesting any toxic or poisonous mushrooms.
Cooking: Yellow Chanterelle mushrooms have a delicate, nutty flavor that pairs well with a variety of dishes. They can be sautéed, grilled, roasted, or added to soups and stews. These mushrooms also pair well with herbs such as thyme, rosemary, and sage.
For more detailed information please check out this link to the full Wikipedia article. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chanterelle
Some of my favorite recipes:
- Baked chanterelles served over rice or pasta
- Crock pot chicken with Chanterelle stuffing
- Sauteed Chanterelles
Some great reference books:
All That the Rain Promises and More: A Hip Pocket Guide to Western Mushrooms by David Arora (smaller pocket guide that is excellent to use)
National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms (National Audubon Society Field Guides) (all inclusive but fairly large)
There are also several E-books that can be found on Kindle unlimited
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