Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fungus among us

If you've been in the woods in the last few weeks, you may have noticed numerous huge mushrooms erupting from the soil or dead/dying trees. With extensive late summer rains, this year has been particularly good for many fungi. Some of these fungi are edible or even delicious. Here comes the disclaimer: eating the wrong mushroom can kill you. Really poisonous mushrooms are much worse that poisonous plants which are unlikely to kill you in small amount or with proper medical care. That being said, several species of puffball are edible:

Wikipedia says the giant puffball (Calvatia gigantea) is similar to tofu when cooked. There are several of these erupting around town.

Chicken of the woods (genus Laetiporus) supposedly tastes like, you guessed it, chicken. I think that's because it's kind of tough and flavorless. I nibbled on some of this one and while I didn't go into kidney failure, I do think it would have been better sauteed in butter with a little garlic.

Happy foraging!


  1. Chicken of the woods needs to be very fresh and young. Otherwise it gets woody and less chickeny. And, yes, you want it sauteed in butter with garlic.

  2. Via Twitter @LocalInAnnArbor: I don't think that is Chicken of the Woods - prob what used to be Polyporus sulfureus. Good when cooked in butter (tender part).