Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mushrooms Identified - Black Trumpets

Black Trumpet Dauphinoise
Mycology discussion groups in the Northeastern US were buzzing with talk of a monumental year for black trumpet mushrooms (Craterellus fallax), and we saw several specimens at the CVMS forays brought in by other people. Robert and I were very excited to come across some while hiking, he took many pictures and we wondered what we should do with our finds. Then, we were out looking for hen-of-the-woods in a new location when we came across more than 6 pounds of this wonderful fungus. Recipe searches and cooking commenced, and we dried enough to fill 2 gallon jars. The simplest way to eat them was on a pizza with goat cheese and some caramelized onions, and we made a Dauphinoise, soups, and are thinking of making a fondue with brie and black trumpets.

Can you see the trumpets?
Searching for black trumpets takes a slow and patient style, unless you know of some places that they appeared in previous years. They grow in mixed deciduous forests, often associated with oaks and beech trees, and we found many clustered with mountain laurels. The season runs from July through November, but the dry summer conditions held them off until the rains came with tropical storm Irene in late August. The trumpets are rather difficult to spot on the forest floor among the leaf litter and branches since they are so darkly colored. They appear more like dark holes, until your eyes adjust, when you will usually find a large area of clusters of the fungus.

Black trumpets are vase shaped, about 1"-5" (3-14cm) high. The top, outer edges of the "vase" are usually curled over and can be wavy, smooth, or ragged and split, ranging from 1/2"-4" (1-10cm) wide. The inside surface is dry and minutely scaly, dark brown to black. The underside, or outside of the "vase"  is smooth and lighter colored due to the spores being present.We have also seen Craterellus cinereus, which has raised veins on the underside and is also edible, but not as desirable. The stem is hollow and tapering downward to the base. The flesh of the black trumpet is thin and brittle, and tastes very earthy and I think it can taste a bit iron-y. Paired with cream it is divine.

The spore print of the black trumpets we found was a light peach or buff. On the west coast, they find Craterellus cornucopiodes, which has a white spore print, but very similar appearance to Craterellus fallax.
Spore prints


Comfrey Cottages said...

my brother and i just found black trumpets 3 days ago:) first time I have ever found them, so pretty excited! glad you had a good year for them also:) nice post!

The Reverend Fowl ™ said...

I like these, but I remember these were forbidden in fine dinning because they may be sandy.

Anonymous said...

wow...great post! beautiful photos and the pizza with goat cheese and caramelized onions looks absolutely delicious :)

Perry said...

Reverend- They are only sandy if you do a crappy job cleaning them.

The Reverend Fowl ™ said...

I mean the commercial, dry ones.

The 3 Foragers said...

We don't find them in sandy areas, only in leafy forests. While picking the trumpets we pinch the bottom bit off, leaving behind most of the debris. While cleaning them, we do tear them in half to look for spiders or leaf bits, but rarely find anything.