Wild Washington Chanterelles are a sight to behold as they lay nestled in golden clusters around the mossy douglas firs. The bright yellow a stark yet welcome contrast to the deep autumn colors. These hearty beauties possess a distinctly delicious earthy, woody flavor with a slightly fruity aroma that is sure to highlight the elegence of any meal. There is no better way to truly taste the wild of the Pacific Northwest.
Where do they grow?
Chanterelles grow wild all around the world from Europe to North America, Asia and Africa. They are found in mossy coniferous forests, mountainous birch forests, beech forests or among grasses and low-growing herbs. They fruit from September to February on the West Coast. Your best chances of finding a cluster in Washington State is to look under the leaves around douglas firs. (In California they tend to grow around oaks).
Wild Washington Chanterelles have their own distinct flavor that may vary depending on where they grew. In some areas they are known to have a fruity, apricot-like essence with an earthy, woody note to the flavor. Wild chanterelles from the Pacific Northwest definitely add spark and spice to meal time. A perfect pairing with pasta and chardonnay , or even the highlight of a simple no nonsense stir-fry. This mushroom will leave you wanting more.
Records indicate that Europeans have been eating chanterelles at least since the 16th century, but they didn’t gain more widespread popularity until the rising influence of french cuisine in the 18th century. It was around this time that it started to become a staple in the royal kitchens and notably in turn a food for nobles. Eventually it’s popularity reached across the class divide and became a food that graced everyone’s tables.
The Pacific Northwest chanterelles have a mycorrhizal relationship with douglas firs. This means they feed on sugars from the tree and the tree in turn provides nutrients for the mushrooms.
- Chanterelles have high amounts of fiber, which is crucial for burning belly fat.
- They have a large amount of plant based protein which is excellent for a myriad of things including healthy hair, skin, bones and muscles.
- A great source of B Vitamins which helps aid in a healthy nervous system.
- Anti inflammatory properties which help aid in the relief of chronic pain such as arthritis.
- Chanterelles contain beta glucine and selenium which are two compounds that are know to boost immune health and fight of diseases.
- Extremely high levels of antioxidants in Chanterelles result in powerful anticancer properties and strong anti aging effects.
Where can I Buy these and other wild foraged mushrooms?
Out of season? No problem! You can find dried one’s right here:
How to clean:
Cleaning these tasty mushrooms can be a little bit tougher due to the folds around the cap area where dirt can become lodged. The best way to go about this is to clean them gently with a toothbrush or nylon mushroom brush, under cold running water. Do not soak them! They already have enough moisture in the flesh.
How to tell a real chanterelle from a fake chanterelle:
Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca, also known as a fake chanterelle, grows abundantly where the real Pacific Northwest chanterelles grow. The best way to tell the difference is that the fake chanterelle is a deeper orange color and has what are referred to as true gills. This means that the underside of the mushroom has even, uniform blade like gills that stop at the stem, whereas the true chanterelle has droopy non uniform gills that cannot be separated from the cap without tearing the mushroom. These run all the way down the stem. If you get it wrong, don’t worry too much, the fake chanterelles are not poisonous, they just taste very bitter. But it is always safest to start out with an experienced forager who can tell poisonous mushrooms from safe ones.
Image of a real chanterelles:
Image of a fake chanterelle:
Serves 8 as an appetizer
|Paul is a well-known Berkeley chef. He recommends that these marinated chanterelles be eaten as appetizers or be heated and drained to serve over pasta.
||In a sauté pan or skillet, heat the oil until it becomes very hot, then add the chanterelles. Toss them in the pan quickly for 3 to 5 minutes.
Combine all the marinade ingredients. Add the chanterelles and the oil from the pan. Marinate the mushrooms for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator. This will keep for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||160 kJ (38 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||3.8 g|
|Percentages are roughly approximated usingUS recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Some great informational links: