Chicken of the woods is a really great mushroom. It is one of the larger mass mushrooms so it can make a good size meal, feed a lot of people, or have leftovers to dehydrate or preserve. This is also one of the easiest mushrooms to identify, perfect for beginners. The texture is very chicken like, I don’t eat chicken tho. I really appreciate the abundant growth and nutrition of the mushroom. It is definitely a good one to look for. It grows many different places. Ive seen it on the West Coast, Ohio, Pennsylvania. I read it even grows in Hawaii.
This mushroom is pretty east to identify, probably one of the easiest to identify. It was one of the first few wild mushrooms I ate. These are the scientific names of the common species of chicken of the woods.
These are the two main species:
These are also chicken of the woods, but slightly different genetics. They are typically edible, with some cases of gastrointestinal upset, so try a little at first.
One of the main identifying features of the mushroom is its bright yellow orange color. There are some that are paler orange and sometimes slightly cream. If you see the bright orange and yellow it is more of a guarantee. It usually grows in overlapping or singular shelves. When is it young, it can look like yellow foam on the tree, but over time will grow out into the shelves. The bottom of the mushrooms must definitely have pores. The pores are yellow to white depending on the exact variety and environment.
For more in depth video about identifying chicken of the woods, I would highly recommend learnyourland.com, or looking at his videos on youtube about chicken of the woods.
The recipes below are just starting points for other dishes. This mushroom has a lot of potential. It could be grilled, breaded, powdered, made into a broth, or so may things.
This recipe is made with wild foraged chicken of the woods. The one I used in this recipe was very very young. I picked it because the day before there were two and when I went back the next day someone had picked one of them, even tho it was very small. I didn’t want to chance it because id been looking for it all summer, so I picked it instead of letting it grow. It was in an exposed area. I have also used past prime and older chicken of the woods and it came out fine as well. The best time to eat it is somewhere between what I used today and what I’ve used before, I just don’t find them at the right time. It is okay to use as long as its not too leathery or chewy which happens if it is very old.
This is one of simplest way to cook it. All you need is a pan, some oil, and if you want salt, pepper, of a few spices. When cooking with oil or frying it is always best to use a high heat oil so it doesn’t burn and become carcinogenic. Avocado and Grapeseed oil are some of the healthiest high heat oils. Oils like olive oil start to smoke when they reach a certain temperature and transform into a more carcinogenic molecule, these oils are best for using fresh like a salad or on bread.