Seasonal Alert: Chanterelles!

They’re out, just about right on time.

In spite of the deluginal rains, not too many mushrooms have come up yet, and a recent visit to a favorite spot was not very productive, so we weren’t expecting to come upon them.

Dumb. If you want to collect a lot of mushrooms, always expect them.

Chanterelles in the only container available

Chanterelles in the only container available

As usual, they were hiding – but visible to anyone who was on the alert for a glint of orange

 Chanterelles in typical spot

Chanterelles in typical spot

Bill has already written a super guide to chanterelle hunting, so my contribution comes from the kitchen

After you’ve caught

your chanterelles

your chanterelles

Well, no, come to think of it, not after, before. When you’ve first discovered the treasure consider the habitat, chanterelles have an unfortunate tendency to grow in very sandy soil.

Feel ‘em up before you pick. If they feel like you must have gathered them when you got tired of picking up seashells you might as well leave them be; deeply embedded sand is very hard to wash off.

About the only thing you could do with them would be to make chanterelle vodka; all the sand would eventually fall to the bottom of the jar and you could just very carefully decant the good stuff, leaving both mushrooms and sand behind.

If they’re just a little gritty they can be washed, but in the meantime they will have shared their sand with everything else in the basket (or shirt, as the case may be), so it pays to keep them segregated. Mushrooms growing in grass or leaf mold are a lot easier to clean.

2 tips before I leave the keyboard to go deal with this batch:

1. If you clean up the non-sandy ones as soon as you get them home, you can often just brush them off. Once they start drying out, any leaves or pine needles sticking to them will be sticking so firmly the chanterelles must be washed.

2. Never leave home without a pocket knife .

leslie land chanterelles-pinched-and-cut

The base of a pinched off chanterelle is more likely to pick up dirt while it’s in the basket

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