Gardening

Winter Chanterelle Mushrooms – foraging, cleaning, cooking

By February 14, 2019 February 21st, 2019 6 Comments

Identify and Harvest your own Winter Chanterelle Mushrooms

See the Video.

Hunting or foraging for Winter Chanterelle Mushrooms on Vancouver Island, BC. The wild mushroom, Craterellus tubaeformis, is also called the Yellow Foot or Yellow Legs and it’s easily identified. We harvest, clean, and cook these delicious wild mushrooms. Our Winter Chanterelle wild mushroom recipe for flaky tarts is a homestead favourite.

Wild Mushroom Books

Hunting for Wild Mushrooms

Winter Chanterelle (Craterellus tubaeformis)
Winter Chanterelle (Craterellus tubaeformis)

Winter Chanterelle (Craterellus tubaeformis)

This post is being written this week (No…I really mean that).

This is Kent from MAN about TOOLS and it was a beautiful Sunday morning on Vancouver Island when we headed out to look for Winter Chanterelle Mushrooms.

My wife and I have been picking mushrooms for years and we have one rule. If you can’t identify it, then it’s poison. So do your homework and go out with someone who knows mushrooms in your area, and don’t eat anything you don’t know.

003 Winter Chantrelle Wild Mushrooms.1764

Winter Chanterelle Mushroom Hunting

It’s just above freezing and there’s been quite a bit of rain recently. Waterproof, breathable hiking gear and rubber boots are a must. We are looking specifically for Winter Chanterelle mushrooms here on the west coast. They like to grow in mossy, dark areas with a lot of rotting trees. The summer was very dry this year so we’re not sure if we are too early yet to find any.

We bring a small bucket and knife with us to cut and collect them.

We think foraging for wild food is part of becoming more resilient and self-sufficient. It’s something we can do together and we like to get out in the woods whenever we can.

Wild Mushroom foraging

Wild Mushroom foraging

We did find a lot of mushrooms in general on this first outing so that was a good sign that we might find Chanterelles. We only pick what we know to be edible. And although these look beautiful, we leave them right where they are.

First Find

Small cluster of Chanterelle Mushrooms

Small cluster of Chanterelle Mushrooms

Finally we spotted a little cluster of Winter Chanterelles. They have a distinctive shape and colour and once you know what to look for they really stand out. They are delicate and usually come out quite clean.

It was our first find of the day and Marilyn had to dig a bit to get them out. When you’ve been searching all day you don’t want to leave any behind.

Another small cluster of Wild Mushrooms

Small cluster of Chanterelle Mushrooms

Here’s another small cluster of two. This first day didn’t yield much but we figured it’s early in the season yet.

A Week Later

We came back the next weekend and did better. We started finding bigger mushrooms and in more numerous clusters.

A tight cluster of Winter Chanterelle wild mushrooms

A tight cluster of Winter Chanterelle Mushrooms

Some of the distinguishing features of this mushroom are it’s dimpled cap, it’s bright yellow stem that is often wrinkled, and the spore surface that’s a vein-like structure under the cap that blends into the hollow stem.

Distinct features of the Winter Chanterelle

Distinct features of the Winter Chanterelle

We have several books in our home library on wild mushroom foraging.

It gets dark pretty quick in the late afternoon this time of year so I’m glad I brought a light for the camera. It’s a small LED panel with a diffuser.

In our area these wild mushrooms are called the Winter Chanterelle but they can also be referred to as the Yellow Foot or the Funnel Chanterelle. We pronounce it “shan-trel” but it’s probably more accurate to say “shan-tA-rel”

The Best Yet

The following weekend was the best. We found the biggest clusters.

Area with many large clusters of Winter Chanterelle Mushrooms

Area with many large clusters of Winter Chanterelle Mushrooms

The Winter Chanterelle are similar to the ones found in the fall but they are smaller and have a hollow stem.

Some clusters where buried under moss

Some clusters where buried under moss

And then all that searching paid off, it seemed like we found the mother load. In just one area we found many many clusters of Chanterelles. This is where it gets to be really fun and you fill your bucket quite quickly.

In The Kitchen

Cleaning Winter Chanterelle Mushrooms in the kitchen

Cleaning Winter Chanterelle Mushrooms in the kitchen

Marilyn starts by cleaning the mushrooms we found. She uses a small brush to gently remove any dirt, moss, or needles. And scissors to trim off the ends.

Cleaning Chanterelle Mushrooms with a small brush. Making pastry tarts.

Cleaning Chanterelle Mushrooms with a small brush. Making pastry tarts.

She will be making Mushroom Tarts from these Chanterelles. They will be fried with and onion and put in puff pastry.

We stored them in our woodshed for a week or so and they held out well in the cooler temperatures.

She does not wash the mushrooms because it seems like they soak up too much water this way and become soggy.

Frying onions. Deglazing the frying pan with water.

Deglazing the frying pan with water.

Once she has cleaned the mushrooms she dices an onion and fries it in a pan on the stove. And then deglazes the pan with a bit of water.

The cleaned mushrooms are then chopped and added to the pan with the onions.

Adding chopped Winter Chanterelle Mushrooms to the onions in the frying pan.

Adding chopped Winter Chanterelle Mushrooms to the onions in the frying pan.

Garlic is pressed and added with salt and pepper.

Bread is toasted then chopped on a cutting board. The pieces are then turned into crumbs with a Magic Bullet grinder. These crumbs are then mixed into the onions and mushrooms frying in the pan.

Making breadcrumbs from toast. Chopping on a cutting board

Making breadcrumbs from toast. Chopping on a cutting board

This is then pulled from the heat and into a stainless steel bowl where feta cheese is blended in.

Adding feta cheese to the Winter Chanterelle Mushroom tart filling

Adding feta cheese to the Winter Chanterelle Mushroom tart filling

The oven is preheating while puff pastry is rolled out on a large cutting board. One sheet is cut into six pieces then a heaping tablespoon of the mushroom filling is dropped in the center of each square.

Brushing on egg mixture to seal the wild mushroom tart pastry

Brushing on egg mixture to seal the wild mushroom tart pastry

Egg is brushed on the to seal the edges before the pastry is folded over. A fork helps seal the edges.

Winter Chanterelle Mushroom tarts baking in the oven

Winter Chanterelle Mushroom tarts baking in the oven

The tarts are set on a baking sheet. When the oven is hot enough the tarts are baked until golden brown.

Delicious Winter Chanterelle Mushroom tarts on a plate

Delicious Winter Chanterelle Mushroom tarts on a plate

Mmmmm….delicious!

Thanks for reading

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