Forager's Notes on Chanterelles
by Caitlin Roberts
July 28, 2020
Tom from Villa Fungi is sharing his Forager's Notes with us:
As the summer progresses, I am heading to higher elevations to continue foraging for chanterelles. I wanted to share some thoughts about chanterelles with you.
Golden Chanterelles – these fungi are more likely to have solid stems, with no or fewer tunneling tracks. But unlike smooth chanterelles, golden are more apt to bruise and show signs of being foraged at high temperatures. When first harvested they look perfect, by the time I return to sort and store them they will start showing signs of bruising and can develop soft/wet spots from condensation contact. When I do my final portioning I look for and try to remove affected chanterelles.
Smooth Chanterelles - Smooth chanterelles are much more common than golden, representing about 85% of chanterelles found locally. However, smooth chanterelles are more likely to have evidence of tunneling in the stem. After pulling the mushroom out of the ground ( although the subject of some debate, research from the University of Oregon indicates that if the stem is cut at the soil, the remaining portion of the mushroom can negatively impact the mushroom in the ground ). I pull and trim the end. If the stem is solid with minimal “ant” tracks I place in the basket, but if the stem does not have a crisp cut, I will pull the chanterelles in half and shave out the stem. If the tunneling activity has consumed too much of the stem or head of the mushroom I will place it in the “cull” basket.
Black Chanterelles – If rain conditions are just right and I am lucky to find them ( some years they don’t produce in any kind of quantity ), I get on hands and knees and harvest the black trumpet mushrooms. I trim the bottom with scissors so that any attached dirt is removed before the mushroom is placed in the basket. I try to leave behind any dirt-splattered mushrooms.
Dirty Chanterelles – Chanterelles grow best with rain from thunderstorm. The ( in-ground network of the mushroom ) of the chanterelle needs storms that can penetrate the dense tree tops and that rain water is able to flow across the forest floor. Repeated storms keep the mushrooms growing but if they are growing in an exposed area the bottom can be splatter with dirt. These mushrooms are avoided so that you have the cleanest chanterelles possible.
Dry Chanterelles – When the high temperatures settle in locally or even after a day or two following heavy precipitation, chanterelles that I am collecting can begin drying out. These mushrooms are a good value because you receive more by volume. To compensate for the drier mushroom just add some stock at the end of your sauté.