This week it finally rained! So we scoured the woods and found enough chicken mushroom for all of us to have a wonderful meal! (This plus another bloom about this size.) Hip hip hooray! It is always so nice to find edible wild mushrooms to share.
Chicken mushroom is considered a safe mushroom, in that there are no poison look alikes…but you need to know what you are looking for! It is a polypore, which means it is a “shelf” mushroom (looks more like a shelf than an umbrella - the “classic” mushroom shape), it grows from wood (often dead wood), and it does NOT have gills on the underside, instead it has tiny pores (hence the name, “polypore”.) Chicken mushroom is bright yellow/orange, and the underside of Laetiporus sulfureus is yellow. There is another variety of chicken mushroom - Laetiporus cinncinatus - whose underside is white. This *IS* another bright yellow mushroom which grows on wood, but it has GILLS on the underside: The Jack O’Lantern. The Jack O’Lantern is poisonous (it makes you sick, though is not usually deadly). So make sure if you’re out in the woods you check the underside: NO GILLS!
Chicken mushrooms must be cooked before eating!!
You have so much this week you can really experiment. I like it sliced and sauteed in butter. I usually add water as well so it doesn’t dry out. After that…it’s up to you! I just eat it, maybe put it on top of a salad or eat as a side dish. you can use the cooked chicken mushroom in place of cooked chicken in chicken salad. Here is what Steve Brill writes about chicken mushroom, including links to a few recipes at the bottom of the page. My Vegan Chicken-Mushroom Fricassee was delicious if you wanted to try that!
Here is what is in your share this week:
- chicken mushroom
- cornelian cherries
- wild grape leaves (we had a request for more of these! They are really fun to work with!)
- peppermint - thanks to massage therapist extraordinaire and CSF member Claire who donated mint to the share this week!! Thank you Claire!!
Did you enjoy the cornelian cherries last week? Did you let them get ripe (soft and sweet?) As with last week they should ripen within a day or two. They ripen off the tree, so keep them out of the fridge and they should soften right up. Once ripe go ahead and put them in the fridge (keeps the fruit flies away! I have a cloth over mine as they ripen on the counter.) They can be eaten plain, raw (which is what our family did), or you can make something yummy with them, like a cornelian cherry and apple cobbler! Here’s a great page with info on the cornelian cherry (which is not really a cherry at all, but a member of the dogwood family.) Remember to be careful of the hard pit inside the fruit.
We had a request for more grape leaves, so more you got! Have you been making stuffed grape leaves? (The tutorial on rolling grape leaves.) Last time I made them I steamed them instead of sauteeing…very good as well!
If you want to do something with the sumac besides sumac lemonade, you can dry it and make a lemony spice from it. Strip the berries off the central stalk and lay them out on a tray. If you have a dehydrator you can use it, or you can air dry it (or put it in the stove on low heat until dry.) Once it’s dry grind it in a blender or coffee grinder and store in glass jars. Za’atar is a middle eastern spice blend used on veggies and meats. The main ingredient is sumac. Here is a recipe for za’atar.
Thanks again Claire for the mint!!!
Enjoy your share this week!!!
Love and chicken mushrooms,