Tag Archives: Laetiporus sulphureus

Chicken of the Woods is fruiting abundantly now

Email: geoffdann@hotmail.com

12/05/2018

Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus), near Hastings, May 2018

Judging by the large number of photos currently being posted from every corner of the country, 2018 is shaping up to be a classic year for Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus). If you’ve never found it and always wanted to try it, right now is the time to go looking. Chicken of the Woods is an unmistakable bright orange-yellow bracket fungus with a strong and pleasant smell of something like mushroomy-chicken. The only thing people easily confuse it with is Giant Polypore (Meripilus giganteus), which is greyer, larger, lacks the chicken smell and bruises black (and it’s not poisonous). COTW can be found growing on a variety of dead and living trees, especially oak, cherry, chestnut and yew. Some people claim it is poisonous when growing on yew, but there’s no actual evidence to support this theory and I have eaten it from yew on

Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus), near Hastings, May 2018

numerous occasions. May is typically when it starts fruiting, although it sometimes fruits again

in the early autumn. It is best eaten after its initial yellow “blob stage”, as soon as it has developed into brackets, but before if starts to get tough (at which point it becomes sour, and then bitter).

There’s many ways you can cook it, but my favourite is a cream and herb sauce.

Chicken of the Woods in cream and herb sauce, garnished with Adria Bellflowers

Ingredients (quantities to taste):

Fresh Chicken of the Woods
Fresh thyme (chopped)
Fresh chives (chopped)
Double cream
A little parmesan, grated
Salt and Pepper

Method:

Slice the Chicken of the Woods thickly.
Fry gently for 6 or 7 minutes in a 50/50 mixture of olive oil and butter. Turn regularly, do not burn.
Add the herbs and fry for another 30 seconds.
Add the cream and parmesan and continue cooking gently for another 3 minutes.
Season to perfection, and serve immediately.

Chicken of the Woods / Dryad’s Saddle / April 2014

Email: geoffdann@hotmail.com
Phone: 07964 569715

24/04/2014

It’s a hard life.  Day after day traipsing around lush woodland cloaked with bluebells and wood anemone in search of edible fungi and not finding any.  Almost makes me wish I had my old day job back. Not.

It has felt a little like being a beginner once again though.  Having moved from Brighton to Hastings last summer, I’m foraging in entirely new territory and that means I don’t know anywhere round here where I know I can find certain things if they are about at all.  So I have spent the past three weeks searching in vain for a local source of St George’s Mushrooms (not even pretending to hope I’d come across the Holy Grail of some morels).  I know via twitter and various forums I post on that people have been finding St George’s since February this year, although it would seem these finds are “outliers”, because there have not been a large number of sightings.  Perhaps after two good years for this species we are due a poor one.  But perhaps they have not been fooled by the early spring and they’ll start appearing en-masse at their “normal” time over the next couple of weeks.

Chicken of the Woods, photo taken 24/04/2014 near Hastings

Chicken of the Woods, photo taken 24/04/2014 near Hastings

Anyway – my luck has changed in the last two days.  I may not have found what I was looking for, but I have started finding plenty of other stuff instead.  These have included the cup fungus Peziza vesiculosa (Blistered Cup) and some Coprinopsis Inkcaps, both of unknown/disputed edibility, and two well-known edible species – Dryad’s Saddle and Chicken of the Woods.  I’ve never found the latter in April before.  It usually starts to appear about the end of May or the start of June.  The one I found today was still very soft, and looked like it had been growing for no more than about a week.

Chicken of the Woods is one of the safest of the wild fungi for people to pick due to it not being confusable with anything poisonous.  It does resemble a larger relative called Giant Polypore, but that species is only inedible because it is so tough and bitter.  They are reasonably easy to distinguish by smell – Chicken of the Woods smells and tastes like chicken, and Giant Polypore doesn’t.

As for what to do with it, I’m yet to find anything that beats frying it in butter then adding double cream, chives, paprika, salt and pepper.

Happy hunting, stay safe and if anybody reasonably local can point me in the direction of some morels then I’d be happy to offer two free autumn foraging sessions in return!

Geoff

 

Autumn arrives in Britain – It’s Mushroomtime…

07/09/2013

As anyone in rural areas of the north will not need to be told, yesterday autumn arrived in Britain, with a splash. The temperature dropped by about ten degrees in most places, and nearly everywhere had a very welcome downpour. We’ve just had the best summer since 2006, but it does now look as if it’s over. Hopefully (from my point of view anyway) there will be no repeats of the misplaced October heatwave we were subjected to in 2011.

7th September 2013, Sussex.

7th September 2013, Sussex.

It’s also perfect timing in terms of fungi. The first big flush of autumn species had just started poking their heads above ground in the last few days, and the change in the weather means they won’t get dried out and with a bit of luck they will start fruiting in abundance. Today was my first (advertised as) peak session with a group of foraging students, and it produced my first decent basketful of English wild mushrooms of 2013 (we are about 3 or 4 weeks behind northern Scotland down here on the south coast).

We found in excess of forty species altogether, and if I include a couple I found before the session officially started, the list of edible species found today is as follows:

Parasol mushroom (Macrolepiota procera), ruby bolete (Xerocomus rubellus), larch bolete (Suillus grevellei), bay bolete (Boletus badius), the blusher (Amanita rubescens), tawny grisette (Amanita fulva), brown birch bolete (Leccinum scabrum), blackening russula (Russula nigricans), rooting shank (Oudemansiella radicata), orange oak bolete (Leccinum aurantiacum), velvet russula (Russula violiepes), the miller (Clitopilus prunulus), blushing wood mushroom (Agaricus silvaticus), honey fungus (Armillaria mellea) and chicken of the woods (Laetiporus sulphureus).

Now is the time to book if you want to go mushrooming with an expert this autumn! 🙂

Geoff