Chanterelle mushrooms are wild and offer a meaty consistency and delicate flavor. Their flavor becomes more pronounced when they are dried or cooked with mild meat or seafood. Chanterelles are expensive because they cannot be commercially produced; they grow only in intricate relationship with living trees, and they mature on the forest floor. Learning how to identify chanterelles by sight, texture, smell and taste assists when foraging for mushrooms.
Look at the color of the mushroom. Chanterelle caps and stems have a bold gold or yellow-orange color.
Observe the shape of the mushroom cap. A mature chanterelle cap is rounded and offers a convex opening that resembles that of a tulip.
Turn the mushroom upside down and look at the underside of the cap to examine the gills of the mushroom. Chanterelles have wrinkled gills that are separated versus touching. The gills merge into the top of the stem.
Pick the mushroom up and feel it. The stem should be smooth, solid and straight with no bulb at the base. The cap should feel fleshlike.
Smell the mushroom. Chanterelle mushrooms smell like peaches or apricots.
Taste the mushroom, only if an expert forager or chef has deemed it not poisonous. Chanterelles taste meaty and peppery.
Tips & Warnings
- Chanterelles grow amidst the soil and moss under Douglas firs and oaks. Chanterelles appear similar to false chanterelle and jack-o-lantern mushrooms.
- Do not eat mushrooms that you can not identify are unsure about, as poisonous mushrooms can cause illness.
- Photo Credit Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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