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Chanterelles are a group of edible wild mushrooms.


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Though chanterelles come from a variety of species, they tend to share similar features. The skin should be smooth and not fuzzy or scaly. On the outside, they range in color from whitish-yellow to orange,[1] with a smooth color distribution across the exterior and underside. When cut in half, you will see that the inner flesh is paler than the outside.[2][3] The cap is curved and smooth on young mushrooms, becoming funnel-shaped as it gets older.[3] On the underside of the cap, chanterelles have blunt false gills,[3] which are wrinkled folds, with a "melted-on" look and forking at the edges.[2][3][4] The false gills should come partially down the stem, blending smoothly into it.[2] The stem is dense and meaty,[3][4] and it should not break cleanly when snapped, instead splitting into fibers.[3] They are fruity in aroma, somewhat akin to apricots, and this characteristic remains even after cooking.[2][3]


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Depending on the local climate, chanterelles are typically available from late summer through fall. In milder temperate climates, they can sometimes extend into the spring.[5]

Selection and storage

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As wild mushrooms, chanterelles must be foraged for or sourced from other foragers—they are not cultivated and available on a large scale.[3]


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Chanterelles grow across the northern hemisphere, mainly in forests.[6] They grow individually on moss-covered ground—never from wood[3]—primarily below pine and spruce trees, but also under fallen foliage. Use a small knife to cut them at the base of the stem and pick them. 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.


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Especially when foraging yourself, make sure you can positively identify chanterelles and differentiate them from poisonous lookalikes. Only young and unscathed chanterelles are worth collecting.[1] 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. Cut the stems to check for tunneling left by bugs, and discard any portion that shows signs of infestation.[1][5] Very dirty mushrooms are best left behind.[5]


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If dirty, use a brush to dry-clean the chanterelles and remove as much dirt as possible before storage. Store raw chanterelles in a paper or waxed paper bag in the fridge[4][3]—avoid plastic and washing them until right before use to prevent decay. They will last up to a week.[5] Cooked chanterelles can be stored in the freezer,[3] especially vacuum-sealed or in their cooking liquid.[5]


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Use a bristled brush to sweep any dirt or grit from the nooks and crannies of the mushrooms. Use a paring knife to remove any very dirty areas,[5] then a damp towel to give them a final wipe. The less water you use to clean them, the better—if you have to use running water, dry the mushrooms well afterwards.[4] Cut any larger mushrooms into chunks, then proceed with your recipe.

Chanterelles are hearty, fragrant mushrooms well-suited to a variety of cooking methods, though they should not be eaten raw.[3] Because their texture is dense and somewhat tough, they benefit from low and slow cooking.[1][6] They can also be pickled or dehydrated and ground to a powder—this powder adds flavor to dishes where it is used.[5]


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  1. a b c d Lyle, Katie Letcher (2016-09-15). The Complete Guide to Edible Wild Plants, Mushrooms, Fruits, and Nuts: Finding, Identifying, and Cooking. Falcon Guides. ISBN 978-1-4930-1864-2.
  2. a b c d "Chanterelle". Wild Food UK. Retrieved 2024-02-21.
  3. a b c d e f g h i j k l "Chanterelle Mushrooms: Identification, Foraging, and Look-Alikes - Mushroom Appreciation". 2022-02-24. Retrieved 2024-02-21.
  4. a b c d "Wild About Mushrooms: Chanterelle". Retrieved 2024-02-21.
  5. a b c d e f g Bergo, Alan (2012-12-20). "Chanterelle Mushrooms". Forager | Chef. Retrieved 2024-02-21.
  6. a b Davidson, Alan (2014-01-01). Jaine, Tom (ed.). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780199677337.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-967733-7.