pickled chanterelles

dwheeler at teleport.com dwheeler at teleport.com
Tue Aug 11 00:42:40 EST 1998

In article <6qfnal$dk9$1 at news.igs.net>,
  "fudge" <fudge at mv.igs.net> wrote:
> BEWARE: There are some real killers that look just like chantarelles.
> Probably....?
> Get someone you don't like or a politician to taste them first.
> Good luck. The pickles sound fantastic.
> Farmer John

Actually, chanterelles are probably one of the safest mushrooms to eat. They
are considered one of the easier fungi to recognize: bright yellow to
buff-orange cap; no gills; usually associated with nearby conifers; apricot
aroma. The nearest lookalike I am aware of is Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca (aka
False Chanterelle) which has gills. Less likely to be confused are Gomphus
sps (G. floccosus=Scaley Chanterele;  G. clavatus=Pig's Ear). The three
species named above can cause mild symptoms of poisoning in some people.
However I have eaten G. floccosus without harm, and rather enjoy G. clavatus.

Denis R. Benjamin in "Mushrooms: Poisons and Panaceas" (c. 1995, W. H.
Freeman and Associates, New York) notes: "at the beginning of the newly
initiated mycophagist's career, the task looks daungting indeed - huntreds of
mushrooms to learn, each with look-alikes. The reality is much simpler. The
beginner can start off on the right food by studying the acommpanying table."

Included in this table of generally safe mushrooms is Cantharellus cibarius
(=C. formosus), with look-alikes Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca, Cortinarius sps,
and Omphalotus olearius. Under potential outcomes, Cortinarius sps can cause
renal failure leading to kidney transplants. But these fungi always have
gills (unless parasitized by another fungus) and usually have a cobweb-like
veil/annulus. Omphalotus olearius is always found on wood (although care must
be taken since the wood may be buried).

Mycophagists should always have a quality field guide to compare descriptions
of what they have found with what is described. I would suggest: David
Aurora's excellent Mushrooms Demystified and All The Rain Promises; Orson K.
Miller's Mushrooms of North America and Mushroom In Color; Phillips'
Mushrooms of North America; and Alexander H. Smith's The Mushroom Hunter's
Field Guide.

Finally, even experts can make mistakes. Get a second opinion (or three or
four) before eating some mushroom you cannot _positively_ identify.

Daniel B. Wheeler

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