Discussion in 'Foraging' started by Patchouli, Sep 25, 2018.
It stained when I rinsed it. It even stained the paper towel.
VERY CHOICE. Nice texture. Have never tasted anything like it, mild, not as strong flavored as store bought.
Thanks for encouragement.
Consider that cordyceps is fungus taken from the hairs of a certain caterpillar and we ingest that medicinally, well, some of us do.
I'm glad you liked it Patch, however go slow in trying new things, especially Mushrooms. Even Mushrooms that are safe to eat can cause some People Gastric Upset. I suggest that you get the Book "The Audubon Society Field Guide Guide to North American Mushrooms" It is a very clear and concise Book with Color Pictures and clear descriptions. If I recall correctly I paid less than $20.00 for my copy.
I think I have it, have to unpack it. Thought we were moving a couple months ago....
Nothing happened to me. I'm very excited about it but will be very careful. Found some interesting stuff growing from treebark, looks very edible.
Patch that thing growing from the Tree could be a Burl, it's to hard to eat. LOL Just kidding Patch, take a Picture, some Tree Mushrooms are very good to Eat, while others are to "Woody" to Eat.
The other day, the top photo specimen looked better. I didn't think they got old that fast.
The white stuff looks nasty and I don't think I'd risk eating it even if it was safe because I don't know the origin or age of the landscape timber it's growing on.
These were probably too old and definitely look like choice boletes, not on my property. Maybe next time.
In post #32 this thread, cross section view of cut mushrooms, the sponge-like surface on under side of cap scraped or peeled away very easily and stained itself dark.
The shelf Mushroom Pictured above looks like a Mustard Yellow Polypore and looks to "Woody" to Eat, however there are no comments in my Book as to it Edibility. I would stay away from it. I don't know what the White Fungus is, I would not Eat it. The Bolete Pictured above looks like a White Suillus, Edibility is good.
I've never seen such a big stem on a mushroom.
Hoping for more rain so I can get out to the grasslands to look around for some on my day off.
Two stems and they formed into one cap, sort of. Didn't get to it soon enough. Has a few bugs.
Same type as others I've shown, boletes. I'm happy they got so huge.
This is a mushroom facbeook group. Someone posted two photos of Amanita Muscaria, with a frog on it. That is the classic image of mushrooms in illustrations.
If I could find someone who knows about them I would love to learn. In the meantime I will buy at the store.
Check your area with the link Weedy provided for a "mushroom" group. In her area they had get-togethers, walks in the woods, classes.
Yes, they do. We have people who have PhD.s that are active in the group.
Those are really nice Photo's Patch. Try to get a Spore Print by clipping the Stem close to the Cap, place the Cap on a White piece of Printer Paper Gill side down and place a Cup or Bowl over it and leave it for a couple of Hours. These Prints are Pretty cool, and if you want to you can lightly spray it with Polyurethane and frame them to make some unique Art.
I did gill prints with students.
There is another facebook group that has some great photos of lichens, mosses, ferns and fungi. The members are from all around the world, so the photos show specimens from around the world.
Death-Cap Mushrooms Are Spreading Across North America
“There’s nothing in the taste that tells you what you are eating is about to kill you.”
Chasing the Chicken of the Woods
One can easily spot the chicken of the woods mushroom by its impressive size and vibrant yellow-orange colors. This large polypore has surprised many a nature lover the first time they found it! Yet did you know they're also edible, and considered a delicacy in some parts of the world?
This mushroom has a lemony, meaty taste. Some think it tastes like its chicken namesake; others describe the flavor as being more like crab or lobster. Whatever your opinion, the chicken fungus makes a great substitute for meat in almost any dish.
It's important to note that this is one of those mushrooms that sometimes causes gastric distress in certain people. If you want to avoid a possible stomach misadventure, only try a little bit your first time to see what it does to you. Also always avoid chicken of the woods growing on conifers, eucalyptus, or cedar trees, as these are reported to contain toxins that can make people sick.
Even if you never plan on eating one, this is a fascinating mushroom. Let's learn a little more, starting with some basic chicken facts. We'll then move on to mushroom identification tips for this species, and close with some cooking advice.
(Note that people often confuse this species with the hen of the woods, which is a completely different mushroom. More info about the hen of the woods, or maitake, is here.)
Chicken of the Woods Basic Facts
This mushroom is a polypore, meaning they disperse spores through small pores (holes) on the underside of their caps. You can learn more about poroid mushrooms in this article.
The different species of the chicken of the woods mushroom are both saprotrophic (feeding on dead trees), and parasitic (attacking and killing live trees by causing the wood to rot). Whatever their method of feeding, you'll always find them growing on or at the base of a living or dead tree.
Chickens are easily recognized by their large clusters of overlapping brackets, and bright yellow-orangish colors. The colors fade as the mushroom grows older.
Many polypores are also medicinal mushrooms, although there hasn't been much research done on this one. One study has indicated that it inhibits bacterial growth.
Other names are chicken fungus, chicken mushroom, and sulphur shelf. The genus is Laetiporus.
There are about twelve species of chicken of the woods in the Laetiporus genus. This article focuses on Laetiporus sulphureus, the species that grows on hardwoods where I live in Eastern North America. You may also hear about these species:
Laetiporus cincinnatus (right) - Also found in Eastern North America, although this species is often more reddish.
Laetiporus conifericola - A yellowish species found in Western North America that often fruits on conifers.
Laetiporus gilbertsonii - The West Coast version that's found on oaks and eucalyptus trees.
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Chicken of the Woods Identification
Chicken of the Woods identification is infamously easy, thus they're considered one of the "safe" mushrooms for beginners. Of course I always encourage hands on education from a local expert, so please don't rely on just the Internet to learn how to identify mushrooms.
This section is specifically for the Laetiporus sulphureus species, although you can apply most of the characteristics to other species as well. I'm familiar with Laetiporus sulphureus as it grows in my area (New England).
If you think you've found a chicken of the woods, check for these familiar features:
The sulphur shelf has no real stem. The caps grow in large brackets, which are individual "shelves" ranging from 2 to 10 inches across (about 5 to 25 cm) and up to 10 inches long.
The brackets are roughly fan-shaped and may be smooth to lightly wrinkled. They grow in an overlapping pattern stacked one on top of the other. Thus the fruiting body can be quite large!
The outside cap color ranges from bright whitish-yellow to bright whitish-orange. If you cut them open, the inside flesh will be soft and similarly colored. As the mushroom ages, the brightness of the colors fade and the flesh becomes harder and more crumbly.
The caps sport whitish to yellowish pores on the underside, not gills.
Always found growing on or at the base of dead or dying trees, never on the ground or alone in fields.
These mushrooms grow on dead or dying hardwoods, most commonly oak but also cherry or beech. Species growing on eucalyptus or cedar trees should be avoided, as they may cause gastric distress. They're sometimes found under conifers as well.
Laetiporus species are all over North America and Europe. The main species discussed in this article, Laetiporus sulphureus, grows in Eastern North America. If hunting for this mushroom, check and see which species grow in your region.
Time of Year:
Summer through fall, which is August through October in most areas. Other species that grow in warmer climates may be found in early winter as well.
The spore print is white, and is a little difficult to get as the caps aren't so distinct. You probably won't need a spore print for chicken of the woods identification
The above are pretty good rules for identifying Laetiporus sulphureus, the chicken of the woods species that grows in Eastern North America. There are slight differences among species but all in all, it's a very recognizable mushroom.
What if you can't find this mushroom, or you don't have the time/impetus to go looking for it? You're in luck! Unlike many gourmet mushrooms that are considered delicacies, the chicken can be cultivated. You can try to grow your own, or purchase one from a specialty grocery store.
So whether found or grown, it's time to move on to the real "meat" of this article.....
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Chicken of the woods Pt 2
Cooking the Sulphur Shelf
So you've found a massive chicken of the woods mushroom, or you succeeded in growing or purchasing one yourself. Now what?
Now it's time to whip up a batch and see what all the fuss is about! Many people consider chicken of the woods to be a delicacy, with their meaty texture and flavor reminiscent of lemon and chicken.
Before we get into cooking tips, I'll mention again that some people have an adverse reaction to this mushroom. A small percentage of those who try it experience nausea, vomiting, swollen lips, or other gastrointestinal unpleasantness.
For this reason it's important to just try just a little bit of this mushroom the first time to see how it makes you feel. Don't scarf down an entire chicken as you may regret it! It's also best to avoid those growing on eucalyptus or conifer trees, as those seem to have a higher propensity towards making people sick.
Some general cooking tips:
This mushroom becomes harder and more brittle with age, so fresh young specimens are best. Look for caps that are juicy with a tender texture. Ideally they should ooze clear liquid if you slice them.
I prefer to clean these mushrooms by just wiping them down with a damp cloth. They're so spongy that regular washing makes them too waterlogged.
You can store them in a paper bag in the refrigerator before cooking, but no longer than a week.
Cut your chicken fungi into smaller pieces for easier cooking. These pieces can be blanched, sautéed, fried, or baked.
If you have too many mushrooms to cook at once, these species will survive a stint in the freezer so sautée them and freeze for later.
Go easy on the amounts of cooking oil unless specifically deep-frying. These mushrooms can absorb a lot of oil during cooking, making them sit in your stomach like a lead balloon.
You can use the sulphur shelf in place of chicken or tofu in any recipe. They also work well in curries, rice recipes, risottos, casseroles, or any egg dish.
Chicken of the Woods Recipe
This easy chicken of the woods recipe was adapted from Italyville.com, an awesome and delicious Italian cooking blog. It's a simple and tasty way to enjoy their flavor and texture. Serve it as an appetizer, side dish, or add it to meat or pasta.
3 cups chicken of the woods mushrooms, cleaned
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups of tomato sauce
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
Clean the mushrooms with a damp cloth, and then either tear or chop them into small pieces.
Warm the olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic. Let it cook for one minute.
Add the mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally as they turn a vibrant orange.
Pour in the white wine and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the tomato sauce and let the whole thing simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
There's a lot to enjoy about the chicken of the woods, whether admiring its vibrant beauty in nature or exploring its possibilities in the kitchen. Try to get your hands on a specimen and tweak some recipes of your own.
(I'll give you another hint....they're REALLY good deep-fried).
Our pediatrician reminded us every spring to check the yard for mushrooms, to pull them carefully up and throw them away. I'd stick my hand in a plastic grocery bag to use as a glove and turn it outside in, capturing the death caps.
I appreciate your concern, @Tacitus .
Mushrooms are awesome.
Willy nilly gathering without proper knowledge, experience, and feedback from smart mycology resources is not wise.
@JAC the photos of the polypores are so brilliantly colored. I've never used shelf 'shrooms, at all.
There are many medicinal qualities in other 'shrooms. I wish medical society in the U.S. would wake up. Apparently Australia and Japan are using medicinal mushrooms with great success against various cancers.
You can grow Chicken of the woods on logs.
I will not collect wild mushrooms,until I have been trained to do so by a Pro.
that's what I mostly said, @joel, (always actually),until I decided to examine a few resources, including wild mushrooms in the backyard. As seen in this thread. Some mushrooms don't have poisonous lookalikes. I am comfortable with my decision and I am not advising anyone to gather or collect mushrooms to ingest.
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