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Cantharellus cibarius

Cantharellus spectaculus (Formerly Cantharellus cibarius)

  • Photos
  • Growth
  • Videos
  • Description
  • Edibility
  • Similar Species/ Variations
  • Look Alikes
  • Mutants
  • Medicinal Info
  • Drying and Freezing
  • Recipes
  • References

Photos:

Young Buttons:

Albino?:

Growth:

Cantharellus cibarius chanterelle identification

Chanterelles grow very slowly. From young button stage to fully mature size can take up to 30 days!

It is currently unclear how many species of Cantharellus in North America match the general description above. Until recently they were all lumped together in treatments of “Cantharellus cibarius,” but recent research has made it clear that Cantharellus cibarius is a strictly European species. In western North America (that is, from the Rocky Mountains westward) there appears to be less diversity among the cibarius-like species; so far, anyway, only four species have been delineated with contemporary species concepts; see the key to chanterelles and trumpets, beginning with couplet #17. But in eastern North America, we may well be in for some changes. At the time of this writing (early 2015), two papers have begun to describe cibarius-like species from Texas (Buyck & Hofstetter, 2011) and from Wisconsin (Foltz and collaborators, 2013).

Big Finds:

Videos:

Description:

Cantharellus spectaculus is a species of fungus in the genus Cantharellus. Found in North America, it was described as new to science in 2013. They are mycorrhizal fungi, meaning they form symbiotic associations with plants, making them very difficult to cultivate.

Being able to recognize false gills is one of the most useful skills for chanterelle identification. False gills appear as forked folds or interlaced wrinkles on the underside of a mushroom.

False gills of a chanterelle mushroomFalse gills are not easily removed from the cap, and look as though they have “melted”. You couldn’t separate them from the cap without ripping something. The picture on the right is an example.

Note how in chanterelle mushrooms the false gills are decurrent, meaning they run down the stem.

True gills are individual, blade-like structures. They can be picked off separate from the cap and each other. Button mushrooms in the grocery store are examples.

Other identification features:

Cap

  • Either convex or vase shaped
  • Mainly light yellow to orange-yellow, although there is a peach-colored Cantharellus persicinus.

Stem

Smooth, with no bulb around the base or ring. Not hollow. Same color as the cap.

Spore print

White to light yellow

Habitat

  • Chanterelle mushrooms are mycorrhizal, meaning they form a symbiotic beneficial relationship with plant or tree roots. You’ll find them on the ground in a variety of hardwood forests.
  • Often found near washes, the edges of dirt roads, or other places where the ground has been disturbed.

Smell

Just picked specimens will have a sweet smell like apricots.

Time of year

Late May in the deep South to September, or whatever passes as mid-summer to early fall in your area.

Edibility:

Edible and choice. Chanterelles are one of the most commonly foraged wild mushrooms in the US.

Chanterelles in general go well with eggs, curry, chicken, pork, fish, beef and veal, can be used as toppings on pizzas, be stewed, marinated, sauteed, or used as filling for stuffed crêpes. Of course these are just examples; chanterelles are versatile and can be added as an ingredient to most dishes. In European cuisine, chanterelles are often served with venison. A traditional method of preparing these mushrooms is sauteed and then used to make scrambled eggs. In Polish tradition chanterelles are used for making creamy sauces that top chicken. Many mushroom enthusiasts just like chanterelles sauteed in butter, with a pinch of salt, a clove of fresh crushed garlic and some whipping cream. This recipe is said to bring out the subtle flavor of the chanterelle without masking it with other aromas. This recipe has the added benefit of retaining flavor even after being stored frozen.

Similar Species (Variations):

Cantharellus lateritius, commonly known as the smooth chanterelle.

Cantharellus persicinus, the peach or pink chanterelle.

Cantharellus phasmatis is a species very similar but has a white stem. 

Look Alikes:

Caution must be used when identifying chanterelles for consumption due to lookalikes, such as the Jack-O-Lantern species (Omphalotus olearius and others), which can make a person very ill. Despite this, chanterelles are one of the most recognized and harvested groups of edible mushrooms.

Jack O Lantern (Left) Chanterelle (Right)

False Chanterelle:

Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca, a gilled boletoid fungus, can easily be mistaken for the highly prized edible Chanterelle, Cantharellus cibarius, and although some consider it safe (but bitter tasting) to eat some concerns still remain about it.

Mutants:

Medicinal/Nutritional Info:

Many species of chanterelles contain antioxidant carotenoids, such as beta-carotene in C. cibarius and C. minor, and canthaxanthin in C. cinnabarinus and C. friesii. They also contain significant amounts of vitamin D. Scientific research has suggested that the golden chanterelle may have potent insecticidal properties that are harmless to humans and yet protect the mushroom body against insects and other potentially harmful organisms.

Drying and Freezing:

Since the mushrooms hold a lot of water, they are often prepared using a “dry sauté” method: after cleaning, the mushrooms are sliced and put in a covered pan over high heat with no oil or butter. The mushrooms then release much of their water, which can be allowed to boil off or be poured off and used as a stock. Many people often cook the mushrooms with butter because it “sweetens” them. Infuse them into vodka:

Chanterelles can also be pickled in brine. Salted water is brought to a boil and pickling spices such as peppercorns, mustard seeds, and thyme are added. The mushrooms are then cooked in this solution for 5–10 minutes before being transferred to sterilized bottles along with some of the liquid. Sliced garlic and dill can be added to the bottles for extra flavor. The remaining liquid forms an excellent stock for making soup. When pickled in this way, chanterelles can last from six to twelve months. Another storage technique is drying. Mushrooms can be dried with gentle heat in an oven at temperatures of 65 °C (149 °F) or less. A vacuum process is also practical on large orders. A few hours before final preparation, put dry mushrooms in water which they absorb for returning to nearly original size. Mushrooms can then be used as fresh, and will last indefinitely as dry. Fresh chanterelles can generally be stored up to ten days in a refrigerator. Chanterelles are also well-suited for drying, and tend to maintain their aroma and consistency quite well. Some chefs profess that reconstituted chanterelles are actually superior in flavor to fresh ones, though they lose in texture whatever they gain in flavor by becoming more chewy after being preserved by drying. Dried chanterelles can also be crushed into flour and used in seasoning in soups or sauces.

Chanterelles are also suitable for freezing, though older frozen chanterelles can often develop a slightly bitter taste after thawing.

Recipes:

Though records of chanterelles being eaten date back to the 16th century, they first gained widespread recognition as a culinary delicacy with the spreading influence of French cuisine in the 18th century, when they began appearing in palace kitchens. For many years, they remained notable for being served at the tables of nobility. Nowadays, the usage of chanterelles in the kitchen is common throughout Europe and North America. In 1836, the Swedish mycologist Elias Fries considered the chanterelle “as one of the most important and best edible mushrooms.”

Chanterelles as a group are generally described as being rich in flavor, with a distinctive taste and aroma difficult to characterize. Some species have a fruity odor, others a more woody, earthy fragrance, and still others can even be considered spicy. The golden chanterelle is perhaps the most sought-after and flavorful chanterelle, and many chefs consider it on the same short list of gourmet fungi as truffles and morels. It therefore tends to command a high price in both restaurants and specialty stores.

There are many ways to cook chanterelles. Most of the flavorful compounds in chanterelles are fat-soluble, making them good mushrooms to sauté in butter, oil or cream. They also contain smaller amounts of water- and alcohol-soluble flavorings, which lend the mushrooms well to recipes involving wine or other cooking alcohols. Many popular methods of cooking chanterelles include them in sautés, soufflés, cream sauces, and soups. They are not typically eaten raw, as their rich and complex flavor is best released when cooked.

Broiled Scallops with Chanterelles Recipe - Lovely broiled scallops are served with a browned butter sauce and chanterelle mushrooms for a quick dish that's great for company.

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/231868/broiled-scallops-with-chanterelles/?internalSource=rotd&referringId=15174&referringContentType=Recipe%20Hub

Chanterelle Risotto Recipe - Savory and cheesy, this sublime vegetarian risotto makes a wonderful main dish for fall dinner parties.

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/47757/chanterelle-risotto/?internalSource=hub%20recipe&referringId=15174&referringContentType=Recipe%20Hub

Chanterelle Mushroom and Bacon Tartlets Recipe - Wild chanterelle mushrooms and bacon combine wonderfully in this impressive and elegant starter.

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/52559/chanterelle-mushroom-and-bacon-tartlets/?internalSource=hub%20recipe&referringId=15174&referringContentType=Recipe%20Hub

Chicken with Chanterelle Mushrooms and Marsala Wine Recipe - This take on a classic recipe combination of chicken and Marsala wine uses chanterelle mushrooms and plenty of butter to deliver a tasty chicken main dish.

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/221551/chicken-with-chanterelle-mushrooms-and-marsala-wine/?internalSource=hub%20recipe&referringId=15174&referringContentType=Recipe%20Hub

References:

https://www.mushroomexpert.com/cantharellus_cibarius.html

http://botit.botany.wisc.edu/toms_fungi/july97.html

https://lsa.umich.edu/herbarium/news-events/all-news/search-news/three-new-chanterelle-mushrooms-discovered-in-the-midwest.html