Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Smooth Chanterelles

Now is one of the best time to hit the woods if you are wanting to try out some chanterelles. The smooth chants are up and the patches are easy to spot because of the massive amounts of bright orange.

These chants are a good one for beginners because the underside has no gills or wrinkles. It is completely smooth underneath. There may be a hint of ridges or wrinkles on some of the larger ones, but because of this smooth feature there are no poisonous look-a-likes, making it one f the safest chanterelles to identify and eat. They are also out in abundance and if you find a nice patch, you can pick 2-3 pounds of them in only 10 minutes.

You will usually find a few larva tunnels in the stems and fleshier parts so be sure to trim these unless you want that extra protein. Always be sure to cook them thoroughly, eat them in moderation and avoid drinking alcoholic or at least limit alcohol to one glass as mixing alcohol and wild mushrooms has often led to some gastronomical distress.

One thing to consider when cooking smooth chanterelles is that these meaty mushrooms retain a lot of water. So avoid washing your finds if possible. If you do have to wash them, try to lay them out on towels and dry them thoroughly. Because they have so much water, chants will often reduce in size, ending up only about a third the size once cooked.

I have found smoooth chants in many places but the place I find the largest patches is in the small dry runoff valleys running down into small creeks. When you find a valey with some, walk both up and down it. Patches tend to be strung out along these drainage lines. At least that is the case in my area.

Happy hunting.

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