Yellow Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius)

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.

When picking a patch of chanterelles it is best to cut them off at the base with a sharp knife. Pulling them out of the ground can damage the fungal matt that is under the ground. By cutting them you can get several crops out of the same location until the first hard frost hits under the forest canopy. Also alway remember to leave a few mushrooms in a patch so that they can continue to reproduce and produce even more in the years ahead.

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:

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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Umbrella false morel (Gyromitra californica)

one of the only mushrooms that we found out this spring
one of the few mushrooms that we found out this spring

I normally don’t write-up anything on mushrooms that you shouldn’t eat, but then I realized it would be good to have some of the others included just to help people identify some of the look a likes to the delicious edible ones.  That and I couldn’t find any of the edible morels today while I was wandering the woods.  This spring has been very dry so there is not a lot out in the woods.  This is the same problem that we had last fall unfortunately while looking for chanterelle. This mushroom is not edible!  

Other common names: California elven saddle (used to be Helvella californica)

Description/features:

  • Cap is domed, umbrella-like, or wavy and spreading, the edge of cap is not attached to the stalk
  • Caps are yellow-brown to dark brown (almost black) smooth and some what wrinkled .  But not honeycombed or pitted.
  • Stalks have prominent ribs that extend up the underside and underneath the cap.

Locations you can find them: in the woods (yes I know that is obvious)  mainly under conifers along old logging roads.  They can be found fall, winter, and spring in the pacific northwest.  I have only seen them in the spring so far.  Normally in the fall other species of helvella are coming up.

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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Fly Amanita (Amanita muscaria)

A beautiful mushroom that always reminds me of Smurf houses.  The smurfs were hiding when I found these on a hike through the woods.  This mushroom unfortunately is poisonous to eat.  Deaths from its consumption are extremely rare, and it is eaten as a food in parts of Europe, Asia, and North America after parboiling. Amanita muscaria is noted for its hallucinogenic properties, with its main psychoactive constituent being the compound muscimol. It was used as an intoxicant and entheogen by the peoples of Siberia and has a religious significance in these cultures. There has been much speculation on traditional use of this mushroom as an intoxicant in places other than Siberia; however, such traditions are far less well documented.  And with that I still do not recommend that anyone ever eat it.

Description:

A large conspicuous mushroom, Amanita muscaria is generally common and numerous where it grows, and is often found in groups with basidiocarps in all stages of development. Fly agaric fruiting bodies emerge from the soil looking like a white egg, covered in the white warty material of the universal veil. Dissecting the mushroom at this stage will reveal a characteristic yellowish layer of skin under the veil which assists in identification. As the fungus grows, the red color appears through the broken veil and the warts become less prominent; they do not change in size but are reduced relative to the expanding skin area. The cap changes from globose to hemispherical, and finally to plate-like and flat in mature specimens. Fully grown, the bright red cap is usually around 8–20 cm (3–8 in) in diameter, although larger specimens have been found. The red color may fade after rain and in older mushrooms. After emerging from the ground, the cap is covered with numerous small white to yellow pyramid-shaped warts. These are remnants of the universal veil, a membrane that encloses the entire mushroom when it is still very young. The free gills are white, as is the spore print. The oval spores measure 9–13 by 6.5–9 μm,non-amyloid, and they do not turn blue with the application of iodine. The stipe is white, 5–20 cm high (2–8 in) by 1–2 cm (0.4–0.8 in) wide, and has the slightly brittle, fibrous texture typical of many large mushrooms. At the base is a bulb that bears universal veil remnants in the form of two to four distinct rings or ruffs. Between the basal universal veil remnants and gills are remnants of the partial veil (which covers the gills during development) in the form of a white ring. It can be quite wide and flaccid with age. There is generally no associated smell other than a mild earthiness.

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Where to find it:

Though generally encountered in autumn, the season can vary in different climates: fruiting occurs in summer and autumn across most of North America, but later in autumn and early winter on the Pacific coast. It is often found in similar locations to King Boletes aka Boletus edulis, and may appear in fairy rings. Conveyed with pine seedlings, it has been widely transported into the southern hemisphere, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa,  and South America, where it can be found in the southern Brazilian state of Paraná. Almost every time I have found this mushroom there has always been a King Bolete nearby.  The only exceptions has been when I spotted it under dense regrowth in a fir planting.

Strangely enough this mushroom reminds me of Santa Claus.  All that bright red and white colors as Christmas approaches.

More info

Wikipedia

http://botit.botany.wisc.edu/toms_fungi/dec99.html

 

 

Yellow footed Chanterelle (Craterellus tubaeformis)

yellow foot1

Shortly after the Golden Chanterelle is done appearing for the year this cooler weather species of Chanterelle will grace us with its presence.  This is one of a group of mushrooms that are know as a winter mushroom.    They have a similar look to chanterelles with their shape and the blunt edge gill like ridges that run partway down the stem. They seem to be half way between a chanterelle and a black trumpet with their semi hollow funnel-like shape.  The stems are hollow and there is a slight divot in the top of the cap.  As with any mushroom always make sure you are 100% of the identity.  Even with having correctly identified it always eat a small portion to make sure you do not have an adverse reaction to it.  I have mostly found them growing in large clumps on dead logs that are most of the way rotted.  If you find a good area of dead wood you will most likely find these growing from them.  I have been able to find them all the way into February, but a series of hard freezes will stop them from growing until the next year

These have a really nice aroma that is almost identical the golden chanterelle. The smell when drying is outstanding. They can be sautéed for truly great flavor but are not nearly as good when deep fried. They are often best plain or in ways that showcase their subtle flavor. They rehydrate much better than a chanterelle, and make a nice mushroom powder that is outstanding for flavoring alfredo, and béchamel based sauces. Since the flavor is subtle it can easily be overpowered with other flavors. A cantharellus/craterellus mix is nice. Chicken, pork or fish, rice, pasta, some vegetables, some cheeses and soups are good choices for recipes using these. I tend to use dehydrate most of these when I find them.  They are great fresh but it is nice to be able to them to flavor other meals when you can’t make it to the woods to get more.

Some links to more information

 

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Sauteed Chanterelles

Today’s mushroom hunt may not have been very successful, but if it had been this is what I would have done with them. Hopefully with the heavy rain in the forecast over for the next couple days it will make next weekend a tastier trip to the forest.

ingredients:

1 lb assorted chanterelles cleaned and sliced up

3 garlic cloves peeled

1 shallot

2 tablespoons of olive oil (butter works great also)

1/4 cup white wine (only use a wine you would drink not table wine)

Heat your pan to medium-high and add in the olive oil. Dice up the garlic and shallots then add to the pan. Cook until the shallots start to change color. Usually just a couple minutes is all you need. Next add in your mushrooms and stir fry until the mushrooms start to give off their water. This will take 3-5 minutes depending on the heat. At this point turn up the heat and add in the wine and cook for an addition 2 minutes. Now you are done and can eat them plain or use them to top a burger or a nice juicy steak. Enjoy!