Foraging for Chanterelle Mushrooms: A Complete Guide
If you are a lover of wild mushrooms, or if you have never eaten one before, then this chanterelle blog is for you. Foraging for chanterelle mushrooms is a great activity to do when you are out in the woods. They grow on the ground and look like yellow-orange trumpets.
This blog will provide information about how to identify the prized chanterelle mushroom, where to find them, what they taste like, and how to cook them. If this sounds interesting to you then keep reading!
Where are chanterelles found?
Chanterelles are found all over the world throughout Europe, North America, Central America, Asia, and North Africa. They can grow in any type of habitat, from forests to agricultural land, or even urban areas if they have access to enough moisture.
Chanterelles are most commonly found around maple, beech, and oak trees — but can also grow near pine and Douglas fir as this is where the chanterelle mushroom love to live under the trees duff layer with its decomposing needles.
An old, mature forest floor is a great place to start searching for chanterelles. They can also be found in grassy or moss-covered areas.
Families of chanterelles usually grow close to each other, so if you find one, there are probably more nearby!
Some varieties of chanterelle mushrooms will grow in clusters on the ground while others will live alone just above ground level like a club fungus.
Do Chanterelles grow in the UK and Ireland?
You can forage chanterelles in the UK and Ireland but chanterelle mushrooms are most commonly seen foraged in North America.
Where are chanterelles found in the UK?
Chanterelles are found in the UK, usually from September to October. Chanterelle experts have been known to find them as late as December sometimes when there is a very cold winter and warm spring.
Areas where chanterelles have been found before include: Darlington Quarry (Durham), Leith Hill Woodland Park (Surrey) and Newlands Corner Plantation near Newcastle-under-Lyme (Staffordshire).
Who are UK chanterelle experts?
There are many people that can be classified as expert foragers of mushrooms, but we’ll highlight John Wright here.
John Wright is a renowned mycologist (aka person that studies mushrooms) and has written many of his own books including the popular ” The Foragers Calendar”.
His approach to foraging is suited to those looking for guidance and advice. If you want to go on one of his foraging courses you can click here to learn more.
I know that sometimes finding chanterelles can feel like searching for the Holy Grail, but I still think it’s worth trying your luck at least once in your lifetime!
Where are chanterelles found in Ireland?
Ireland has a long history of wild mushroom hunting, so chanterelles are not too elusive.
The golden chanterelle mushroom grows wild throughout much of Northern Ireland but they have been seen elsewhere also – on Kerry’s South-West Coast for example. They seem to prefer areas with acidic soil such as heathlands or other moors where there is little competition from tress.
Other areas for chanterelles in Ireland are:
– Wicklow Hills
– West Cork
– The Burren and Cliffs of Moher
Experts recommend that you take a wooden fork with you when foraging so as not to disturb the ground too much or get poked by plant thorns.
Chanterelles can also grow on old apple trees, especially those close to rivers which may explain why these types of tree feature prominently in chanterelle hotspots such as Lough Tay near Glendalough and Sliabh Beagh Mountain.
Trees that chanterelles grow near
When foraging for chanterelles, it is best to look near trees like oak, aspen and maple. These are the best types of trees to find them near because the tree roots provide a lot of nutrients in order to help chanterelle mushrooms grow.
Oak trees provide a lot of nitrogen and tannins which these fungi need when eating tree roots that have been broken down by decomposition.
Maple is also beneficial because its leaves give off more sugars than most other types of deciduous forests including oaks and beeches. These sugars help the chanterelle mushrooms grow and continue to produce.
Best chanterelle soil types
There are a few best types of soil that chanterelles like to grow in. The best type for chanterelle mushrooms is well-drained, acidic and rich soils with high levels of organic substances such as leaf litter or wood debris.
The second best type of soil would be clay loams because this adds more acidity, which is what these fungi thrive off when it comes to living conditions. Clay also provides an excellent base for them to form since it remains moist longer than most other types including sand.
When to forage for Chanterelles
Once July has started you should start looking for the light yellow fruiting bodies of the chanterelle mushroom. When the chanterelle season is in full swing, you can find these mushrooms everywhere. Chanterelles are most common from July to October and will start fruiting earlier as spring approaches.
What month should I be foraging chanterelles?
The best months to look for chanterelles are late summer and early fall when they’re at their peak! When it’s hot outside during other seasons, don’t forget about your local state park or forest preserve where there may still be wild edible mushrooms are available through September and into October if not longer depending on weather conditions.
Chanterelles stand out against the forest floor with their bright golden colouring and veiny pattern. Their overall shape is round with very thin stems so chanterelle mushrooms are easy to distinguish from other forest floor fungi.
The gills of the chanterelle are very different when compared to other mushrooms. True chanterelles do not have bladed gills but forked, slightly rounded folds that look like gills. These run part way down the stem. be careful not to mistake a true chanterelle for a false false chanterelle. Learn how to identify false chanterelles in the next section.
Chanterelle Look a likes
Eating wild mushrooms can be a risky prospect. Although the risk of mushroom poisoning is unlikely, always be sure you correctly identify any mushrooms using multiple sources before eating them.
The False chanterelle, Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca, is similar as it looks orangey yellow but the flesh’s colour doesn’t change when cut in half. The gills of the false chanterelle are more crowded than the true Chanterelles.
The fruiting body of the Omphalotus olearius, or Jack O Lantern mushrooms is commonly found on deciduous wood in Britain. It is darker orange than other members of the Chanterelle family and is poisonous.
What happens if you eat a jack o’lantern mushroom?
If you eat jack o’lantern mushrooms or you do not know what kind of mushroom it was, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor immediately as they are poisonous.
False chanterelles can cause hallucinations and illness if eaten in large quantities.
How To Prepare and Cook Chanterelles
When thinking about chanterelle recipes you should take into account they can be used either fresh or dried.
If you’re using chanterelles fresh, they can be simply sautéed in a pan with butter or olive oil. They will cook down and turn into an orange brown color when lightly cooked. If you are cooking chanterelle mushrooms for more than three minutes, the water content of golden chanterelles may evaporate and dry them out.
Similar to how chanterelles can be used fresh, dried chanterelles can also be made into mushroom powder by drying their stems (cut off at the base) on low heat until brittle enough to break up finely underfooting your spice grinder – this is called “chasing” in French cuisine.
Golden chanterelles come at a high price to chefs, who often consider them just as good as morels or truffles. Chanterelles are a diverse mushroom that can be cooked a number of different ways and taste great. They bring a dish to life so why not try create one for yourself with this chanterelle sauce that’s perfect for pasta.
Chanterelle Sauce Recipe: Melt ½ Tbsp butter in pan over medium heat then add thinly sliced chanterelles or chanterelle mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, cook until chanterelles are soft. Then add ¼ cup cream or crème fraîche, let the chanterelle sauce simmer until thickened then remove from heat.
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