CALABOGIE HIKER: Yummy wild Chicken Of The Woods mushroom!

BLOG 2: This beautiful mushroom stopped me dead in my tracks. It was larger than my head and was a vivid orange colour with yellow trim. It looked and felt like velvet. It was growing at the base of a standing Oak tree. The Oak was alive. I have since found this mushroom mainly on the side of a dead fallen trees. It's not hard to spot the bright orange in the woods. It rained in the area for a couple of days before this delicious polypore popped out of the tree below. It is important to know that I positively identified this mushroom as an edible named Chicken of the Woods before I harvested it. I even got a second positive ID on site. I checked around to make sure there were no unidentified mushrooms or poison ivy beside or touching it. Lucky for me, it was above ground siting between two trees away from any danger. I was able easily remove the whole 12" by 12" mushroom. It was sort of heavy. I carefully brought this mushroom home and washed it with water. I then took apart the layered polypore sections and sliced them into 3" pieces. I tossed the mushroom slab pieces into the frying pan with butter and fresh garlic. I fried them for 10 minutes on medium heat. They were surprisingly tender with a texture and taste similar to chicken. They were yummy!

(National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms, 1995, pp 468) (Photo by Colleen Hulett)

Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphurous) grow between May and November. I found several in late August after a lot of rain. This wild mushroom is popular among foragers and eaten around the world. It can grow up to 30" wide with clusters of overlapping polypore, each weighing a pound. Its hard to digest when its old and can give one a stomach ache if its growing on certain trees like eucalyptus and pines. Some people have had an allergic reaction causing swollen lips. (Source: National Audubon Society 'Field Guide To North American Mushrooms'1995, pp.468)

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