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July's Wild Food

Golden Chanterelles

The flowery fruit of the kingdom fungi

chant-f-s.jpg (30866 bytes)The flashy Chanterelle is one of the most distinctively flavored mushrooms in all the world. It has been described as having the aroma of apricots and tasting more like a flower then a mushroom. There are several edible and delicious varieties but the one I will stick to here, the Yellow or Golden Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius) is easy to find because of its bright color and it's not hard to identify with a careful inspection. Chanterelles are found in mixed woods, under conifers and oaks from Alaska to California and Nova Scotia to Florida! Because of their wide distribution timing their arrival will largely depend on when "Winter" ends in your area. Chanterelles will fruit anytime from June to September depending on rainfall and temperature. The mushrooms pictured above were picked on July 13th in upstate NY. The diagram below shows some keys to proper identification. chant-dia-s.jpg (91737 bytes)
(A) The cap is bright orange to yellow, smooth and hairless, becoming wavy at the edge of the cap when mature. (B) The flesh is firm and white, tinged with yellow and smelling slightly fruity, like apricots. The stem is not hollow. (C) The gills are thick and similarly colored or lighter than the cap, often forking towards the edge of the cap. (D) Make sure the gills run part way down the stem.

There are two mushrooms that could be considered dangerous look alikes though neither is deadly, The Jack O'Lantern (Omphalotus illudens) has thinner more crowded gills and does not have white flesh, and the False Chanterelle (Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca) which also has thinner gills which are more orange in color and a cap which tends to be darker towards brown. As always if you aren't sure consult a field guide or a trusted expert. Bottom line as always: when in doubt throw it out! Recommended Field Guides:

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