Chanterelle and Black Trumpet Mushroom Hunting Guide

Chanterelles and Trumpets Mushroom Hunting Guide

Summertime brings one of the most popular wild edible mushrooms, “Chanterelles”. This delicious and common wild mushroom is often seen being used in recipes by famous chefs on TV. It is also one of the easiest wild mushrooms to find as they appear in every US state from late spring through late fall. If you’re looking for more information on chanterelles and trumpets, stay tuned and read on below to learn more about these mushrooms and how you can find them.

What is a Chanterelle and a Trumpet? 

Chanterelles and Black Trumpets are mushrooms that typically appear across the continental United States from late May in the south and spreading throughout the Midwest in the summer months. They begin in the PNW in late August and continue there until there is a hard freeze. Coastal California and Oregon’s chanterelle and black trumpet season doesn’t start until the late fall rains begin usually by November and continue through the entire winter up until about the end of March.

Chanterelles and Black Trumpets have several species in the genus Cantharellus and Craterellus. Recently, DNA studies revealed dozens of new and diverse species, all delicious and edible. Just in case you’re curious, you can see a few photo examples chanterelle mushrooms below:

chanterelle mushroom species

Left to right: Black Trumpet, Peach Chanterelle, Golden Chanterelle, Cinnabar Chanterelle, and Appalachian Chanterelle.

Black Trumpets:

Golden Chanterelle:

Smooth Chanterelle:

White Stemmed Chanterelle:

Fragrant Chanterelle:

Peach Chanterelle: 

Appalachian Chanterelle: 

Cinnabar or Fire Chanterelle:

West Coast Golden Chanterelle Species:

White Chanterelle:

Winter Chanterelle or “Yellowfoot”:

Rare Blue Chanterelle: 

The chanterelle and black trumpet mushroom are very popular among amateur mycologists as they are very easy to identify when compared to other mushrooms. By most people’s account, chanterelles and black trumpets are easily in the top 5 most sought after wild mushrooms in the United States.

The biggest question that you are most likely wondering however, is if you can eat chanterelles and black trumpet mushrooms.

Are Chanterelle and Black Trumpet Mushrooms Edible?

Yes, not only edible and delicious, but also very easy to find.

Now that you know chanterelles and trumpets are in fact edible, let’s talk about the times that you are going to want to avoid harvesting this blaze orange natural treat.

There are a few occasions that you will not want to eat chanterelle and trumpet mushrooms depending on where you find them and what condition they’re in when you harvest them. If you slice the stem and it appears nice and clean you are good to go but if your sliced stem reveals a bunch of “tunnels”, this indicates that there is a worm infestation and you will want to find more fresh specimens for you to consume.

Buggy chanterelle with worm tunnels

If they’re in the right condition and in the right place, congratulations, you’ve found a delicious wild edible mushroom that you’re sure to enjoy. Chanterelles and trumpets have a distinctive fruity odor like apricots. There are literally 1000’s of recipes online for these amazing wild mushrooms.

So, are Chanterelles Poisonous or have “Look-a-likes”?

There are some mushrooms like false morels that many people will eat but can be poisonous when consumed in too great of a quantity. However, this isn’t the case with Chanterelles and Trumpets. The only time that Chanterelles and Trumpets should be avoided is when some of nature’s insect friends have already started enjoying a meal before you’ve had a chance to harvest them yourself. These mushrooms are known for becoming a meal and habitat for a variety of insects and worms. 

There is mainly just one poisonous “look-a-like” to the chanterelle and is known as a “Jack-O-Lantern”. Chanterelles can fruit in massive patches, but they are never in a “clump” like Jacks.

Also, when sliced, chanterelles have a solid white flesh whereas the Jack-O-Lantern has orange flesh.

With that said, if you’re able to find these delightful treats, it’s important that you know how to properly consume them.

Can You Eat Hen of the Woods Raw?

No, you should never eat this mushroom raw. This is for a few different reasons. First, this is because the enzymes in most wild mushrooms will not break down properly during digestion without first being cooked. Second, as mentioned above, these mushrooms can often harbor insects, insect eggs and larva. So, while you may not see any insect activity on initial inspection, just imagine how it would feel to have larva crawling around after taking a bite. So, since you can’t eat them raw, what’s the most common way to enjoy Chanterelles and Trumpets?

Cooking Chanterelle and Black Trumpet Mushrooms – A Beginner’s Guide

As is the case with many different mushroom species, there are a whole lot of different ways you can cook Chanterelles and Trumpet mushrooms. Everyone has their own unique favorite recipe based on their region, heritage and how they’ve enjoyed them in the past. Chris has fixed thousands of batches of these mushrooms over the years.  

Delicious Ways to Prepare Chanterelles and Trumpets…

There are numerous other delicious recipes that you can incorporate these mushrooms into. Just a few you should consider that can be found for free online include:

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/grilled-chanterelle-mushrooms-parsley-lemon

If those recipes aren’t enough to keep your wild mushroom meals new and engaging, you can also find over 80 wild mushroom recipes including several more Hen of the Woods recipes in Chris’ Mushroom Hunter’s Cookbook. There’s one key thing that you must do before you can ever worry about how you’re going to cook your mushrooms. That thing being the simple fact that you must first find a nice batch of them growing in the wild.

How to Find Chanterelle and Trumpet Mushrooms

To have the best luck hunting Chanterelle and Black Trumpets, there are a few things that you need to consider before heading out into your local woods. First, you need to know when these delicious golden treats arrive. Second, you need to know where you should be looking to have the most success possible and finally, you need to make certain you’re harvesting the right kind of mushrooms.

Thankfully there is mainly just one other species in the woods that resemble Chanterelles, but more on that below. For now, let’s talk about when you can expect to find Chanterelles and Trumpets in your area.

Chanterelle and Black Trumpet Season – When do they grow?

As mentioned earlier, Chanterelles and Black Trumpets are mushrooms that typically appear across the continental United States from late May in the south and spreading throughout the Midwest in the summer months. They begin in the PNW in late August and continue there until there is a hard freeze. Coastal California and Oregon’s chanterelle and black trumpet season doesn’t start until the late fall rains begin usually by November and continue through the entire winter up until about the end of March.

Now that you know when you should be hunting these mushrooms in your area, let’s go over a general guide on where you may be able to find them.

Where do Chanterelles and Black Trumpets Usually Grow?

Chanterelles and Black Trumpets are usually associated with a particular tree species which varies with location and specific chanterelle species. While they can be found near a variety of tree species, there are a few trees where the mushroom is far more common. You can find more information on what trees to look for in the hunting tips below.

  • East of the Mississippi: Hardwood forests with oak and beech. A few pines mixed in in the south. 
  • PNW: Mature conifer forests for all chanterelle species. Trumpets are only found along the coast.
  • West Coast: Under pin oaks along with conifers for trumpets and chanterelles, even winter chants…

How to Identify Chanterelles and Black Trumpets

Thankfully, these mushrooms are considered one of the easier wild mushrooms to identify. This is primarily due to their bright orange or black colors. All species of this mushroom will leave a whitish to slightly yellow spore print when collected. Also, these mushrooms normally grow in a patches but never in clumps. They will typically be orange on top and yellow or white on the bottom. Below are several photographic examples of Chanterelle and Trumpet species that you can reference for positive identification.

NOTE: The images below are in a gallery. Click on a particular photo to view it full sized.

 

ALWAYS REMEMBER: If you’re unsure about any mushroom’s identification, be certain to get it confirmed before consuming. The best way to do this is to first go on a guided mushroom foray. You can find guided forays in many areas locally, or sign up for one of our guided forays that Chris hosts all over the United States. If you’re already a member of the Morel Mushroom Hunting Club, you can text Chris directly for identification confirmation.

Once you know how to successfully identify and cook Chanterelles and Trumpets, you’re probably going to want to find as many as possible. Below are just a few great tips to help your harvest increase to an entirely new level. 

Hunting Tips to Find More Mushrooms

Below are just a few tips to help you increase your Chanterelles and trumpet yields time after time. 

  • Remember Where They Grow –Remember that Chanterelles and Trumpets are always found growing in patches and return every year in the same location and times so always take notes.
  • Remember Where You First Found Them –Chanterelle and Trumpet’s will often return year after year.
  • Get to Know Your Trees –Chanterelles and Trumpets prefer certain trees depending on your location and the species of mushroom.
  • Start Eating Slowly –Just start slowly until you’re certain you enjoy the taste and aren’t allergic to the mushroom.
  • Find Young Specimens –Chanterelles and Trumpets grow slowly, up to 3 weeks. Older specimens often become a food source for unwanted worms. They have a better taste when harvested young. Look for smaller specimens for the best results. 

Once you start finding larger yields of Chanterelles and Trumpets, it’s important that you know how to properly harvest them.  

What Hunting Equipment Should You Use to Harvest?

Some mushrooms, like morels, are best carried in mesh bags to allow for better spore distribution. Chanterelles and Trumpets are the same and should be placed in a large basket or bucket bag to better transport the mushrooms. Additionally, it can be very challenging to harvest Chanterelles and Trumpets with your hands without pulling up a clump of dirt along with the mushroom. Because of this, you will need a large kitchen knife, a hunting knife, or a mushroom knife. This should be all you need aside from a comfortable pair of shoes to begin harvesting your own Chanterelle and Trumpet mushrooms.

How to Clean Chanterelle and Trumpet Mushrooms

Once you have collected all the Chanterelles and Trumpets you like, it’s time to get them home and prepare them for either cooking, as covered above, or storing. Either way, the first thing you’re going to need to do is to clean and cut your fresh harvest. To clean your Chanterelles and Trumpets, just rinse them with cold water and NEVER soak them. You can use a brush to remove excess dirt, but Chanterelles and Trumpets are normally a very clean mushroom already. After you have thoroughly cleaned them, it’s time to either store or cook them. For cooking tips, please see the recipe section above. For storage, you have a few options available.

What’s the Best Way to Store Chanterelles and Trumpets?

While there are several different ways that you can store Chanterelles and Trumpets, Chris recommends freezing them by slicing them into 1- or 2-inch strips and vacuum sealing them prior to freezing. Chris states this will allow your mushrooms to keep for up to 5 years and come out of the freezer tasting like you just picked them yesterday. There is no blanching or cooking necessary. 

Can You Freeze Chanterelles and Trumpets? 

As mentioned above, not only can you freeze them, it’s the most recommended way to preserve the mushrooms. 

Can You Dry / Dehydrate Chanterelles and Trumpets?

Yes, you can dry / dehydrate Chanterelles and Trumpets, but there’s a bit of a catch to this method of preservation. Larger Chanterelle specimens should not be dried as they will often have a bit of a tough texture when cooked which makes them almost non-edible. This isn’t the case with Black Trumpets as they dry and reconstitute perfectly. To successfully dry Chanterelles and Trumpets, you must have very young, fresh specimens that are sliced very thinly and slowly dehydrated using a food dehydrator. Using this method, Chris has found that they do reconstitute well, especially when used in soups. 

Final Thoughts

We hope that you now have a far greater understanding about the Chanterelles and Trumpets mushroom. Hopefully, you now feel confident going out to find your own. You should be able to not only identify them, but also clean, cook, preserve and share this wonderful golden treat from nature with those closest to you. 

Have You Ever Hunted Chanterelles and Trumpets Before?

Have you had the opportunity to hunt or eat Chanterelles and Trumpets? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Please take a moment to share your stories, photos and recipes in the comments area below and thanks for stopping by! 

Planning to Go on a Hunt?

Are you planning an upcoming hunt for Chanterelles and Trumpets? If so, don’t forget to also be on the lookout for some other great mushrooms you may find along the way like:

  • Chicken of the Woods

  • Lion’s Mane

  • Shrimp of the Woods

  • Giant Puffballs

  • Common Oysters and Golden Oysters

  • Shaggy Mane

  • Hedgehog

  • Lobster Mushrooms

  • Parasols

Always be certain that you know exactly what mushroom you’ve found before eating it. When in doubt, get confirmation from someone familiar with mushroom hunting. You can also check with others in your local area for guided mushroom hunts or sign up today for one of Chris’ guided edible mushroom forays where you can learn more about your own native edible mushroom species. 

Join the Club!

Are you ready to take your mushroom hunts to the next level? Are you tired of trying to find someone to help you identify the mushrooms you in the woods? If so, take a moment to sign up for the Morel Mushroom Hunting Club. By doing so, you can enjoy benefits like:

  • Mushroom Reports
  • Newsletters
  • Photos
  • Member Submitted Photos
  • Recipes
  • Mushroom Questions and Answers
  • Hunting Tips
  • Places to Hunt
  • Morel Species
  • Videos
  • Facebook Group
  • Identification Help: Text Chris directly with pics of your finds you need help identifying. Chris will respond within 24 hours!
  • … AND MORE! Check out the membership page for more information