Chanterelle refers to a group of wild edible mushrooms from multiple genera—typically species from the genera Cantharellus, Craterellus, Gomphus, and Polyozellus. The term 'chanterelle' derives from Latin Cantharellaceae / Cantharellus cibarius. In Austria the mushroom is called 'Pfifferling' or 'Eierschwammerl'.
Habitat[edit | edit source]
Chanterelles grow in the entire northern hemisphere, mainly in conifer forests and rarely in deciduous forests. It grows on moss-covered ground, primarily below pine and spruce trees, but you also find it under fallen foliage.
Characteristics[edit | edit source]
Though the mushrooms called chanterelles come from a variety of species, they tend to share similar features. They range in color from white to orange, with a meaty flavor and a funnel shape. In beech forests, its cap is almost white. Also, high solar radiation can cause the chanterelle to lose its color. At the start of the growth phase, the hat is curved and the edge of it is rolled up, but becomes funnel-shaped at an advanced age. On the bottom side of the chanterelle are thick egg yolk yellow irregular grooves. The stem thickens and smoothly proceeds to the hat.
Foraging[edit | edit source]
Mushrooms need air and therefore you should not use a plastic bag to collect them. Either a basket, or a burlap bag is suitable for transport. Especially in steep forests, a bag is more comfortable than a basket. Another helpful tool for collecting chanterelles is a jackknife, with which a little of the cleansing can be done on the spot. Furthermore, mushrooms in general need to be cut off rather than picked. This spares the mycelium, which is the vegetative part of a mushroom. Finally, taking along a mushroom guidebook increases safety for collectors who do not look for chanterelles only.
Only young and unscathed chanterelles are worth collecting. Older ones are often seized with maggots that hollow out the stem of the mushroom. Whether a chanterelle still has a solid stem can easily be figured out with a soft squeeze. Furthermore, the larger the chanterelles are, the more the taste diminishes and the consistency of the mushrooms weakens, which means they are likely to break into parts.