As the Summer heat swealters I’ve noticed of all the chanterelle species, these Cinnabar Chanterelles (Cantharellus Cinnibarinus) have been the most persistent fruiting bodies!
Typically Chanterelles come out around the beginning of summer, depending on the region you’re foraging. As with all mushrooms, they love a good series of rain storms, but as the heat comes to a peak toward the end of the summer they begin to fizzle out as Boletes and Amanitas stake their claim on the forest floor. To this day I’m still finding some beautiful chanterelles of all species but with a more keen eye and in less quantities. BUT, like I said, these Cinnabar Chanterelles don’t quit!
I’ve also found that as Chanterelles (Cantharellus Cibarius), Smooth Chanterelles (Cantharellus Lateritius), and Appalachian Chanterelles (Cantharellus Appalachiensis) tend to spread across different regions of the forests during the season, these Cinnabar Chanterelles like to stand their ground and reproduce right where they started when the season began. Though they’re small in stature they continue to fruit in great numbers throughout the entirety of the season. Their sweet flavor will have you coming back for more, and luckily, they’ll be there!
Suggested Cinnabar Chanterelle Recipe:
Summer Pesto Pasta with Chanterelle Mushrooms
This dish is the perfect mix of sweet and savory!
DISCLAIMER: *As with all wild foraged edible mushrooms, be sure to have a 100% positive ID before consuming & be sure to always cook your mushrooms throughly, sautéing them for at least 10 minutes on medium heat before consuming. Never consume wild edible mushrooms raw.*
What you’ll need:
~2 cups Foraged Chanterelle mushrooms, 2 table spoons butter, 2 cloves garlic, pesto, grape tomatoes, pasta of your choice
*optional +sriracha, + parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast to keep it vegan)
1. Clean your chanterelle mushrooms - either blow off dirt, wipe off dirt with a damp cloth, or if they’re too dirty, rinse them & if this step is necessary - be sure to take this extra step before proceeding:
If Chanterelles have been wet or submerged in water, be sure to saute without fat (butter/oil) to allow the water to steam out of the mushrooms BEFORE you move on to step 3.
2. Boil salted water for your pasta of choice.
3. Saute your chanterelle mushrooms in a medium pan (cast iron preferred) on a medium heat, adding butter + garlic, stirring here & there for at least 10 minutes. Add sliced grape tomatoes after mushrooms are thoroughly cooked.
4. Add pasta to water and cook for 6-8 minutes - strain.
5. Add cooked pasta to veggie pan and add preferred amount of pesto sauce. Stir & add any additional toppings before serving.
Like many mushrooms, these are grouped into an umbrella term for easier categorization. Though Bolete refers to the genus Boletus, not all Boletes are species of the Boletus Genus.
Generally these mushrooms considered Boletes feature a plump body with a spongey pore surface made up of tiny tubes that extend down from the cap. Of course, in typical mushroom fashion there is a handful of "Gilled Boletes" so don't get too comfortable...
Bolete mushrooms can display some of the most beautiful colors in the mushroom world. Many Boletes are already colorful, and then stain different colors, creating an almost tie-dye look as they bruise.
(As with all mushrooms, if you can help it, don't always pluck them. BUT for identification purposes, it does help to be able to study the entirety of the mushroom; therefore if you're making an intentional decision to properly ID a new mushroom, definitely pluck it from the ground in order to analyze all parts of the mushroom.)
Here are some basic tips for Identifying Bolete Mushrooms in particular:
Observe the cap: texture, colors, and shape.
Gently pull the mushroom up from the base, trying your best to keep the mycelium in tact as you pull it up from the ground. Mycelium color is a big help in properly identifying bolete mushrooms.
Once you've got a visual of the entirety of the mushroom, study the shape of the stipe, look for any reticulation, scabers, or smooth textures.
Observe the underside of the cap, the color, the size of the pores, and mark it a couple times to see if the pore surface stains any color.
Next use your knife to slice a cross-section of the mushroom. Here you can study the staining of the body of the mushroom and the pore tubes to see whether they're deep or shallow compared to the cap flesh.
Here are a couple basic terms used in Bolete Mushroom Identification:
Scabers: an organic speckled pattern made of small, stiff granular projections
Reticulation: a netting pattern, either faint and flush or robust and textured
Staining: when the flesh of a mushroom bruises a different color
Mushrooms that grow mycorrhizally have a mutually beneficial (symbiotic) relationship with the plants and trees around them? For instance, during a dry spell, mushrooms can send water to plants from their mycelieal network to the plants root systems (or rhizosphere). On the other hand, plants can send nutrients gained from photosynthesis processes to fungi’s mycelial network to help boost growth when they need it!
1. Clip the stem or stipe of your gilled mushroom so that only a small bit remains.
2. Place the mushroom cap gills down on a piece of white paper (or if you’re expecting a light colored spore print then a sheet of tin foil is a great choice).
3. Place a cup or bowl over the mushroom cap on the paper or foil and place a small object (like a pencil, pen, clothes pin etc.) just under one area of the lip of the cup so that there’s a small opening for airflow.
4. Wait about 6 hours (or overnight) then remove the cup and take a look at what spores have dropped! If you don’t see any there’s a chance you’ve plucked a mushroom that’s too mature. It’s best to try a few spore prints at a time of the same species just to be sure you’ll have a successful print.
A key feature of Amanita mushrooms is their bulb structure from which they emerge. Here I pluck a young Amanita from its bulb 💡😬 you can see once I pop the cap off the stipe how the universal veil is still covering & protecting the gills before they mature enough to drop their spores.
Amanita mushrooms emerge from a bulb in the soil / humus in forests and meadows. The spots on the caps are remains from the universal veil covering the young mushroom before it emerges from the bulb. These mushrooms, Amanita Muscaria, are typical icons for fungi and are known to contain high amounts of psychoactives in addition to other toxins that can be harmful to humans.
Stumbled upon this beautiful fruiting of Ringless Honey Mushrooms (Armillaria Tabescens) on a walk in the forest. Honey mushrooms are parasitic and saprobic on the wood of broadleaf trees. This grouping was at the base of a living oak tree.
The search for wild mushrooms is a scavenger hunt that enables the hunter to enjoy some of his or her quarry as food. [...] Delving a bit deeper, we see that it is important and fascinating to learn their ecological importance as recyclers, symbionts, insect killers, and a food source for many insects and animals.
Laetiporus Sulphureus “Chicken of the Woods” “Sulphur Shelf”
On our trip across the U.S. we’ve spotted both Laetiporus Cincinnatus and Laetiporus Sulphureus (as shown here). Both are considered “Chicken of the Woods” and are delicious edibles. With both mushrooms we’ve enjoyed slicing them into strips (if you find a more mature or larger species like pictured above, be sure to discard any tough margins), sautéing them *always be sure to cook your wild edible mushrooms for at least 10 minutes*.
For the above dish we sautéed this Chicken of the Woods in butter, garlic, and soy sauce, adding onions, and sliced & sautéed edible chanterelle mushrooms. We added the veggies and mushrooms to cooked ramen in a homemade broth, topped with cilantro and green onion.
When headed out on a mushroom foraging journey it’s important to bring along just a couple basic tools:
1. Bug Spray
I like to wear long pants most of the time to deter bugs but spray is important either way. I’ve already encountered a horrendous number of ticks this season and snakes so be safe out there!
An important part of thoroughly identifying fungi is to slice cross sections to determine bruising colors, interior consistencies, textures etc. Plus a knife is a great tool for collecting a specimen from the stipe without disturbing the mycelial network beneath.
3. Basket or Paper Bags
You’ll find most foragers in the mushroom community use baskets for collecting their specimens. Baskets are a great way to let your mushrooms breathe and even continue to drop their spores as you walk through the forest. But, if you’re like me, carrying a heavy camera and lenses, a field guide, in a backpack, brown paper bags may work best. I recently bought a 50 pack of paper lunch bags and they've worked really well for keeping my mushrooms aerated, divided by species, and contained.
4. Camera or Journal
An important part of learning your fungi is to be able to record characteristics. A camera (even a phone camera) works great for documenting ecology, size, color, texture, fruiting surface, mycelium color, etc. and/or journal and pen to handwrite information.
5. Field Guide
This last item isn’t always necessary but its extremely helpful for those just beginning their journey into mushroom identification. Two field guides I highly recommend are:
Walter E. Sturgeon’s Appalachian Mushrooms: a Field Guide
David Arora’s All that the Rain Promises and More...