Sunday, August 28, 2016

Foraging: Chantrelles (Cantharellus ...)

Disclaimer:  Never ever eat any wild mushrooms without first having a qualified mycologist positively identify them.  Jack-O-Lantern mushrooms will kill you if you eat them instead of chantrelles.  The writer of this blog is not responsible for any harm that may befall you if you eat them.  

While it's still very hot in many place around the country, it is time to start thinking of fall pursuits.  Hiking, hunting, and foraging.  We had quite a bit of rain a few weeks ago, and the temps dropped just enough to make a day hiking in the woods enjoyable.  My brother and I loaded up and headed off to the squirrel woods.  While hiking around, lo and behold to my eyes we found tons of Chantrelles (Cantharellus).

Underside of Chantrelles
Chantrelles are of the considered one of the foolproof 4 or 5 (depending on who is doing the talking).  Chantrelles are usually a yellow or orange color.  There is only one poisonous species that is similar (Jack-O-Lantern Omphalotus olearius).  The inside flesh when cut open should be white, if it's not it's not a chantrelle.  It has false gills, that are a part of the actual cap, and the false gills will usually run down onto the stem.  Jack's will grow in clusters, while chants will usually be found individually.  Jacks have true gills while chants have false gills.  And Jacks will be orange or orangeish on the inside when cut.

 Chantrelles are delicious mushrooms.  As with all mushrooms, they must be cooked before eating.  You can saute them in some butter with a little garlic or salt and pepper.  They are delicious when cooked with eggs.  Saute them, and then freeze them for use later.  You can even dehydrate them, boil them, and reconstitute them for later use.  When preserving them like this, use them in the water to make a wonderful wild mushroom risotto.