Friday, August 5, 2011

Mushrooms Identified - Oyster, Cinnabar Chanterelle, Sulfur Shelf

Here is a trio of lovely, edible mushrooms we have found and happily consumed. We consulted several books and again had some guidance from the CVMS on the Cinnabar chanterelles and oyster mushrooms. The photos of the sulfur shelf were taken last autumn, and that mushroom was eaten in several dishes. Robert's main interest is the edible mushrooms, and I am finding all the mushrooms fascinating to learn about.

Pleurotus ostreatus is known as the oyster mushroom. Robert found several clusters growing from a black birch tree trunk in Norwich. It mostly grows from dead deciduous trees throughout North America, often all year under favorable conditions. The oysters that grow in summer tend to be pure white, while those that grow in autumn are more grey or light brown. The caps are 2"-8" wide when mature, semi-circular or elongated. A stalk may or may not be present, and the gills will descend the stalk. The spore print we took was light, white or maybe very light lilac. Oysters are a choice edible. Robert sautéed some with salt and pepper to eat. I oven roasted the rest and topped a pizza. The mushrooms he found were very young, so there were very few bugs present that we simply washed away.


Cantharellus cinnabarinus is a brightly colored, small mushroom known as the cinnabar chanterelle. We have come across these mushrooms in varying numbers at every location in Connecticut we have hiked. They grow on the ground, often in beds of moss, and are common in eastern North America. They can be found from late June through October. The caps can be 1/2"-2" wide, slightly convex, with a smooth, dry, and bright red-orange top. The gills are lighter colored, and the whole mushroom fades to pink with age. The stalk is solid and usually curved. The spore print we took was light pink. Cinnabar chanterelles are edible, and we sautéed up a bunch to eat, with good results. Each mushroom may be small, but there are often great numbers of them to be found in an area. We also accidentally dried a few, and they seem to hold up well.

Coconut and sulphur shelf soup with lamb's quarters
Laetiporus sulphureus is one of our favorite edible mushrooms, and it is known as a sulfur shelf, or chicken mushroom, for it's texture and similarity of taste to chicken. Sulfur shelf mushrooms grow on dead logs or stumps, and is common in North America. It is found between May and November, and does not require rain to stimulate it's growth, as it is growing from a tree. Sulfur shelf mushrooms grow as clusters of overlapping orange-yellow caps 2"-12" wide and fan shaped. The underside has pores, and is often yellow. When young, the color can range from bright orange to yellow and the caps are very wet and heavy. As the caps age, the color fades and they caps dry out. The spore print is white. When young, most of the mushroom can be gathered and chopped to use in dishes like chicken. Even on an older specimen, the very edges of the caps is often tender enough to eat. We chopped and froze an enormous mushroom we found last autumn, and still use to cook a pot pie or soup. Recipes for pot pie and stuffed bread can be found on this blog.

Fried chicken mushroom with onion strings

"Chicken" pot pie with ramps greens

2 comments:

arielmermaid925 said...

How amazing! I plan to try out the coconut soup recipe tonight. may add sauteed red pepper and lemongrass :)

we found about 5-7 lbs of chicken of the wood growing out of a joint of an oak where a limb must have recently fallen.

made risotto with it last night, subbing Asiago cheese for Parm. pretty bangin ^_^


how long will the mushrooms last in the refrigerator? and tips on preservation?

thanks! awesome blog

The 3 Foragers said...

To store chicken mushroom in the fridge, we just put it a paper bag for a few days. Otherwise, we keep some chopped in the freezer. It does not dry well, it gets similar to wood when dried.