Saturday, November 7, 2009
Edible Mushroom:Chanterelles (Cantharellaceae)
Edible Mushroom: Chanterelles (Cantharellaceae)
Description: Chanterelles are a great favorite of European mushroom hunters and are becoming more popular in the United States.
These mushrooms are funnel-or trumpet-shaped and have wavy cap edges. Most are bright orange or yellow, although one, the black trumpet, is brownish-black. Fresh chanterelles have a pleasant, fruity fragrance.
To make sure you have a chanterelle, check the underside of the cap. Some species of chanterelle are nearly smooth underneath, while others have a network of wrinkles or gill-like ridges running down the stem. The ridges have many forks and crossveins and are always blunt-edged. (True gills are sharp-edged and knifelike). Size 1/2" to 6" wide, 1" to 6" tall.
When and Where: Summer and fall; on the ground in hardwood forests. Usually found in scattered groups.
Cautions: When you can recognize those blunt-edged, crisscrossing ridges, you won't confuse chanterelles with anything else. However, take extra care at first that you do not have the poisonous jack-o-'lantern (see Poisonous Mushrooms). Jack-o'-lanterns have knifelike gills and grow in the tight clusters on wood or buried wood, rather than on the ground.
Cooking Hints: Chanterelles are tough and need long, slow cooking, but when properly prepared their flavor is excellent. Saute slowly in butter until tender, season with salt, pepper and parsley, and serve on crackers.