Chicken of the Woods

Thanks I suppose to the wet end of summer/early fall, we’ve been enjoying lots of great wild mushrooms (along with the shiitakes we grow).  In addition to plenty of wonderfully delicious chanterelles, this two pound beauty is the second chicken-of-the-woods we’ve found this year.

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Best of all, we didn’t have to forage for hours in the deep woods.  These awesome gifts of nature were all near our house, easy to find and easy to harvest.

Years ago we were on a tour of the wetlands around Apalachicola, Florida and the tour guide kept pointing out all the great food growing or living in the wild there.  At one point he said with a chuckle, “If you go hungry in Apalachicola it’s your own fault.”

I reckon that’s true on White Flint Farm as well.

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17 comments on “Chicken of the Woods

  1. shoreacres says:

    I just can’t get over these things. It’s certainly beautiful. I’m not sure I could bring myself to eat one, but I’m not gung-ho on things like shitake sandwiches, either. Morels, on the other hand….

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    • Bill says:

      This is an extremely delicious mushroom. It can’t be grown by cultivation so it only can be found in the wild. They bring a lot of money from chefs at high-end restaurants. We feel pretty fortunate to be able to get them “for free.” I’m confident that if you had one you’d really like it.

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  2. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, I have mentioned before on this blog that the sought after mushroom is hunted in the Spring and is the Morel. They grow wild here and many hunt through the woods during the warm days of Spring in search of the Nebraska delicacy. I’ve not really been one to desire mushrooms but I don’t dislike them either. If they are in a prepared dish, I’m good with that but I just wouldn’t intentionally put them in one that I’m fixing. I’ve never seen mushrooms being sold at a farmer’s market here in Nebraska. Grocery stores do have fresh mushrooms but I don’t think it’s a hot selling item to the local folks. Those that have moved in from other parts of the country might have a taste for them but I seriously doubt that those that have lived most of their life in Nebraska use mushrooms in their meat, potatoes, and corn.

    Have a great Virginia day in the garden.

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    • Bill says:

      Here morels are called “hickory chickens.” They come up in April and are a treat when they can be found.

      We enjoy mushrooms sauteed, in soups, in omelettes, on pizza, etc. The chicken of the woods is an especially tasty mushroom. I’m sure you’d like it.

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  3. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    WOW, now that’s a beaut! And TWO this year (already)? I really need to get out and have a look around the yard; but the elusive monster I’d be searching for would be the Giant Puffball, which I have only seen twice – first as a small child and again after we came here, twenty+ years ago… (Think I’m due… ; )
    But, I DO love, when our old dependable, Butter Mushroom (Slippery Jack), pushes its way through the freshly shed needles on the leeward side of the Red Pines.
    Okay, so the Jacks aren’t up yet, but I did find some other beauties… Could I send you a photo to see if you recognise it? Not sure if this is any indication of edibility, but they smell AMAZING: )

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    • Bill says:

      The mushroom in the photo came up very near the one we found earlier this year. We were thrilled to find it.

      I’d be happy to look at your picture, but I only know a few mushrooms. My wife has been wanting to forage them for years and earlier this year she found a cauliflower mushroom and some chanterelles and took them to a friend of ours who is a mushroom expert for identification. He gave us a positive id on them as well as on the first chicken of the woods. We have other edible mushrooms around now but we’re just sticking with these because they’re the most desirable and the easiest to identify.

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  4. avwalters says:

    I’m going to have to get over my fear of wild mushrooms. So far, all I’ve tried are morels–easy to identify. My underlying fear of poisoning my family is interfering with possible new culinary and gathering adventures. Maybe there’ll be a local class.

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    • Bill says:

      We decided to just stick with the ones that are easy to identify and have no poisonous look-alikes. The ones we’ve been gathering are as easy to identify as morels. The chicken of the woods and chanterelles sell for big bucks when you can find them. It’s a great treat to be able to just pick them in the wild. We had a friend who helped us learn to identify them (and who showed us how easy it is). Maybe you can find someone in your area who can help you learn. Foraging for them is a lot of fun and generates some amazing meals.

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  5. I am forever entranced by the strange beauty of mushrooms. –Curt

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  6. pattisj says:

    What a beautiful mushroom! Almost too pretty to eat. Two pounds? That’s a lot of mushroom!

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  7. WOW! I wonder why they call them “chicken of the woods”? Looks more like a rose to me. Regardless – that’s an impressive mushroom. That reminds me I need to run out back and see if the chanterelles have popped yet.

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    • Bill says:

      It got the name because it has the taste and texture of chicken. It makes a great meat substitute.

      Hope you’re finding lots of chanterelles. We’ve been fortunate to have lots of them this year.

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