Chicken….of the woods

Haven’t done a mushroom for a bit so here is a great one to eat and an easy one to identify – Chicken of the Woods. People often say bright colours like red is natures way of saying poisonous – nonsense! Red apples, strawberries, raspberries, cherries – see what I mean? Likewise with this fungus, it is bright yellow often with orange streaks and it tastes great. This bright colour is one of the key identifying features.

Have a look at the video here:

In the summer look for a bracket type fungus – no cap or stalk or gills but more like a shelf – growing out of a tree. It can grow to spectacular sizes, up to metre or more but a few tens of centimetres is more normal. There are many bracket fungi but Chicken of the Woods is bright sulphurous yellow and quite soft when young. A lot of the other brackets are woody and don’t rot away but stay in place all season or permanently. There are three simple caveats with Chicken of the Woods – don’t eat ones growing on Yew trees (I have seen evidence suggesting this is not true, but stick with it for the time being), always cook it, and try a small piece first as it doesn’t agree with all people.

We enjoy it in stir fries and curries, sliced so it can fry all the way through. If you have any left over fry it and then freeze it for another day. As always don’t take all of the specimen/s, a third to two thirds and leave the rest to spread its spores.

This specimen went into a Chinese stir fry with the spare going in the freezer.

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