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The Essential Guide to Chanterelle Mushrooms

The Essential Guide to Chanterelle Mushrooms

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Chanterelle mushrooms are an excellent addition to any cook’s kitchen, with a light, almost fruity flavor and enjoyable texture that makes them a delicious addition to just about any dish.

The only downside to Chanterelle is that sourcing the best for your kitchen can be difficult, which means many people have never had the pleasure of experiencing them.

To solve this problem and share this delicacy with more people, we’ve put together this essential guide to Chanterelle mushrooms. Here we give you all the info you need about the different types of Chanterelles, how to source them, how to cook them, and some of our favorite recipes.

Types of Chanterelles

There are around forty different types of Chanterelles to be found in the wild, and differentiating between them can be difficult because they exhibit some minor variations.

Understanding the variations will enrich your enjoyment of Chanterelles, and help you identify two similar mushrooms that look like chanterelle but should be avoided for safety reasons.

How do I Identify a Chanterelle?

There are a few strong identifying characteristics that you can use to identify a Chanterelle, including:

  • The cap – The cap of a Chanterelle tends to be convex with a characteristic vase shape. The color of the cap ranges from a light yellow, through a more orange-yellow, to a peach-colored one found on the Cantharellus Persicinus.
  • The stem – The stem of the Chanterelle is smooth, without the presence of a bulb, and is entirely solid. The color is generally the same as the color of the cap.
  • The habitat – Chanterelle mushrooms are mycorrhizal, meaning that they form a symbiotic relationship with other plants and tree roots.They can often be found near washes, at the edge of dirt roads, and in other places where other plants are present, but the ground is disturbed.
  • The smell – Freshly picked chanterelle mushrooms have a remarkably apricot-like smell.
  • The false gills – One of the most obvious characteristics of a true Chanterelle is the presence of false gills under the cap. These forked folds cannot easily be removed from the cap and should obviously run down the stem.

What Look-Alikes Should I Be Aware Of?

There are two major Chanterelle look-alikes to be wary of, including:

Jack O’lanterns

The Jack o’lantern looks very similar to the Chanterelle and is found in similar habitats. However, Jack o’lantern mushrooms contain the toxin muscarine which can cause severe stomach upset if ingested.

The best ways to differentiate a Jack o’lantern from a Chanterelle are:

  • The Jack o’lantern has true gills, as opposed to the Chanterelle’s false gills. True gills are non-forked and should come easily away from the cap without damaging it.
  • As Jack o’lanterns are not mycorrhizal, they can be found away from trees and tree roots. Chanterelles cannot.
  • Jack o’lanterns actually glow faintly in the dark. So, when in doubt, see if they glow in a dark room!
Jack O’Lantern Mushrooms (Omphalotus olearius) growing near an Oak tree.

False Chanterelles

False Chanterelles are very similar to true Chanterelles and, although not toxic in the way that the Jack o’lantern is, they are unpleasantly bitter.

There are a number of ways you can distinguish a false Chanterelle from a real one, including:

  • Much like the Jack o’lantern, the false Chanterelle has actual gills instead of false gills.
  • The color of the false Chanterelle is much more orange than a real Chanterelle and is graduated, with the darkest spot in the center of the cap.
  • The stem of the false Chanterelle is often slightly scaly where it meets the cap, which is not something you’ll find on a real Chanterelle.
False chanterelles (Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca) on a bed of moss.

How to Find Chanterelles Near You

As we mentioned earlier, Chanterelles are a mycorrhizal species, forming a beneficial symbiotic bond with other plants, especially trees.

This means you can find many species of Chanterelle mushrooms on the floor of hardwood forests.

Chanterelles also prefer areas of disturbed earth, so you’ll want to prioritize washes and the edges of first roads or paths that are near the root networks of hardwood trees.

Chanterelle Season

The best picking time for Chanterelles is around July to September in the United States or mid-summer to early fall in other countries.

Because they are mycorrhizal, Chanterelles are not suited for commercial growing, meaning they can be very hard to find in some areas.

But there is a way around that!

Where to buy Chanterelle Mushrooms

Right here, on Foraged! Foraged is a bit like Etsy for mushrooms. We host the best certified Chanterelle foragers across the country and enable you to purchase mushrooms directly from them. Foragers are required to uphold our Values and Ethics to ensure that wild foods are harvested sustainably and safely.

So, if you want to experience Chanterelles or any other wild mushroom for yourself, Foraged offers the most convenient and the most responsible solution.

We feature only the best small businesses and individual foragers selling chanterelle mushrooms and you can search for the chanterelle price per pound to find the best chanterelle mushroom price on our marketplace.

We’re as passionate about mushrooms as you are, which is why we only work with the best small-scale farmers, certified foragers, and mushroom product creators.

Are you a forager yourself? If you’re looking for where to sell chanterelle mushrooms, set up your shop today. It’s free to list and only takes a few minutes.

What Do You Use Chanterelles For?

Delicious food! The primary reason for picking Chanterelles is to cook with them. Since the times of Ancient Greece, Chanterelles have been prized for their delicate woodsy flavor and enjoyable texture.

These mushrooms can be used in a huge variety of dishes and are often used as a meat substitute in vegan dishes.

What Do Chanterelles Taste Like?

Chanterelle mushrooms have a light and delicate flavor, that some describe as almost fruity, with an equally delicate, buttery, melt in the mouth texture. They pair very well with white wine, onions, garlic, and cream.

Chanterelle recipes

To help you make the best of your Chanterelles, we’ve brought together some of our favorite recipes, from the very simple, to the slightly fancier:

Baby courgettes and Chanterelle mushrooms with basil

Starting simple, this combination of delicate baby courgettes and chanterelle mushrooms with the punch of rich fresh basil makes a delicious al fresco lunch.

Ingredients

  • One large handful of fresh chanterelle mushrooms
  • 5 baby courgettes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • large pinch sea salt flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ lemon
  • One small handful of fresh basil leaves

Instructions

  • First, slice the baby courgettes lengthways into thin strips and peel and finely chop the garlic.Mix together the chanterelle mushrooms and courgette strips and add two of the three tablespoons of olive oil and salt. Stir to combine.

    Add the mushroom mix to a frying pan over a high heat with the remaining oil and cook for around 6-8 minutes.

    Remove the pan from the heat and add the garlic and season with black pepper.

    Serve in a wide bowl with the juice of the ¼ lemon and the roughly torn-up handful of fresh basil leaves

Chicken, Madeira and Chanterelle Casserole

A perfect one-pot winter warmer, this casserole is easy to make and packed with flavor.

Ingredients

For the casserole

  • 1 medium chicken, jointed into 8 pieces
  • 1 tsp plain flour
  • 75g/2½oz butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 5 tbsp Madeira
  • 500ml/18fl oz chicken stock
  • 200ml/7fl oz double cream
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only, chopped
  • 250g/9oz chestnut mushrooms, cut into quarters
  • 100g/3½oz chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the potatoes

  • 1kg/2lb 4oz floury potatoes, such as King Edward, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 150g/5½oz butter
  • 150ml/5fl oz double cream

Instructions

  • Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and dredge them in the flour.Put a pan over a medium heat and add ⅔ of the butter.

    Fry the chicken pieces in batches until golden brown and then place in a casserole dish.

    Put the casserole dish over a medium heat and put in the onion, garlic, Madeira, chicken stock, cream, and thyme.

    Stir well to combine and bring to the boil.

    Reduce the heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes.

    Stir in the mushrooms and simmer for further 12-15 minutes.

    Season with salt and pepper and then stir in the remaining butter and parsley.

    Boil the potatoes in salted water before reducing the heat and simmering for 12-15 minutes.

    Drain the potatoes and return them to the pan over a low heat for a few minutes to dry them out.

    Until smooth and then add in the butter and cream.

    Plate up the casserole and serve with a large spoonful of the mash.

Mushroom Millefeuille

Marrying the delicate flavors of Chanterelles with the crisp crunch of puff pastry makes for an excellent dinner party treat.

Ingredients

  • 500g/1lb 2oz all-butter puff pastry

For the filling

  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 450g/1lb Chanterelle mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 25g/1oz butter
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • A small bunch of tarragon leaves, chopped
  • A splash of Madeira
  • 200ml/7fl oz double cream

For the garnish

  • A handful of Chanterelle mushrooms, chopped
  • A knob of butter
  • A squeeze of lemon juice
  • A small handful of chopped chives

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.Roll the all-butter puff pastry out into a 2m thick rectangle.

    Put the pastry on a baking sheet and prick with a fork. Then place another baking sheet on top of the pastry to stop it from puffing up too much.

    Bake for 20 minutes, remove the upper tray and allow to cool.

    Fry the shallots and mushrooms in butter.

    Add the tarragon, Madeira, and cream before seasoning with salt and pepper.

    Cook the filling over a medium heat until it has reduced by ⅓.

    Put the filling in a blender and blend to a mousse consistency.

    Spoon the mousse into a piping bag fitted with a medium-sized plain nozzle.

    Fry the Chanterelle mushrooms for the garnish in the butter and finish with the lemon juice.

    Use a biscuit cutter to cut out 12 circles of about 7.5cm/3in diameter.

    On each plate, place a circle of pastry and then pipe a good amount of the mushroom mousse onto the circle.

    Top with another circle and mushroom mousse before finally topping with a circle of pastry. Decorate with the garish of Chanterelles and chives.

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