Chicken of the Woods


2012.4.30 Chicken of the Woods

Laetiporus is a genus of edible mushrooms found throughout much of the world. Some species are commonly known as sulphur shelfchicken of the woods, the chicken mushroom, or the chicken fungus because many think they taste like chicken. The name “chicken of the woods” is not to be confused with the edible polyporeMaitake (Grifola frondosa) known as “hen of the woods”, or with Lyophyllum decastes, known as the “fried chicken mushroom”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laetiporus

Wow! About 23 inches and over 13 inches deep. We were so excited!

I checked to see if the was any other mushroom that looked like this that was poisonous on the internet. None!

I cut a piece of the mushroom and laid it on my skin to watch for a reaction. None!

Took pictures of this monster. I had never seen one except on the internet.

Darnell walks the dog most of the time. Her name is Miah. They walked way out back of our place and to the edge of the woods. About 4 steps into the woods he saw the mushroom, larger than life clinging to the side of a maple tree.

This is what I read at this site: http://americanmushrooms.com/edibles4.htm

David Fischer, Author of Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America (1992, Univ. of Texas Press)

SULPHUR SHELF MUSHROOMS GROWING ON ANY CONIFER TREE (PINE, HEMLOCK, SPRUCE, FIR, LARCH/TAMARACK, ETC.), EUCALYPTUS, OR LOCUST TREES SHOULD NOT BE EATEN! Also, as with a number of wild mushrooms and many other foods (e.g. shellfish, peanuts, and milk products), some individuals have allergic reactions to this particular species. (That’s why it was important to identify the tree. Oak or Maple is fine.)

Few edible wild mushrooms are considered as exciting a find as the Chicken Mushroom or Sulphur Shelf. It has a unique mushroomy flavor and a slightly grainy, meaty texture, and a single dead tree or log will often produce ten, twenty, thirty or more pounds! Because of its texture, the Chicken Mushroom or Sulphur Shelf is a fine candidate for fresh-freezing, so such a large fruiting needn’t go to waste. The trick is to cut the Chicken Mushroom or Sulphur Shelf into pieces of appropriate size for the cooking pan before freezing (blanching is not necessary) and, most importantly, when you’re ready to use some, do not thaw them first: have the cooking pan heating before you even open the freezer door!

Sauted Chicken of the Woods Mushroom with Garlic and Onion

On to cooking and the taste test:

I was doing a sample for taste testing so I kept the amounts small.

1 cup Chicken of the Woods Mushroom, chopped

1 tsp. Garlic, minced

1/4 cup Onion, minced fine

1 tsp. Chicken Soup Bullion (Paste)

Olive oil

2 Tablespoons Flour

1 cup Milk

Using a Cast Iron Pan heated to medium with a tablespoon of olive oil, add chopped Chicken of the Woods mushroom. Cook till starting to brown. Add onion and garlic and continue saulting till oil is absorbed.

Add more oil

add flour

Added chicken bullion paste

and milk and let it simmer Season with Salt and Pepper to taste. Continued to be a little  rubbery but did get a little better.

This is an experiment and I read several places and this appears to be the  common way of cooking it.  You can serve over toast or  rice or potato.

We cautiously tasted it. It tasted good but did have a slightly rubbery texture to it.

While I know I will continue my search as to how to prepare it, I know this was a good start. Darnell and I both ate what I prepared and neither of   us had any reaction. Next time we will eat a little more. From all I read, when foraging it is good to add things into your diet gradually so that is what we will do.

How to Harvest the Chicken of the Woods

This is exactly the way this went today. We harvested it without knowing how to do that. We used to say in WV, ” I got the cart, the horse before”. That is what we did. Next time we will do the harvesting right.  You are supposed to not break it from the tree with your hands which we did. Take a knife and just cut the outer rim of the mushroom. Pick the smaller sized ones. This in itself may take care of the rubbery texture since this was a very large one. Next time we will harvest the smaller one. Since they said that it could be frozen with no preparation beforehand, we froze the rim of the mushroom. I will try again another day to see if I can improve the texture either just by picking a smaller one or by how I cook it

This was such an exciting adventure!

These are the jewels of life, to get to experience things out of the ordinary.

So glad you were here so I could share the experience.

Come on over anytime.     Jan

The other mushroom you may see growing near where the Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms is growing. It is called the Hen of the Woods Mushroom. It looks like a Hen with her head tucked under her wing. It has a feathery look to it. Check out another picture of the Chicken of the Woods Mushroom. Looks like shelves on the tree.

Hen of the woods mushroom

                                                              Laetiporus gilbertsonii
Chicken of the Woods
Sulfur Shelf Mushroom
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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Liz Hand
    May 02, 2012 @ 19:57:16

    Did you find it around the Pittsbrugh area? Liz

    • savvygrammie
      Jun 24, 2012 @ 20:25:02

      I am from michigan but you are in a similar climate. Sorry I took so long to reply, …as I am getting used to the process. Thanks for stopping by.

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