Growing Chanterelle Mushrooms
Chefs prize chanterelle mushrooms just as they value truffle, that other famous fungus.
The chanterelle is mycorrhizal. This means it has a mutually beneficial relationship with the roots of certain trees.
Before we look at growing chanterelle mushrooms, a quick look at the bare essentials of these unusual fungi.
Chanterelle Mushrooms: The Basics
Source: Beth Dunham
- Key Features: No true gills and a funnel-shaped cap. Yellow in color. Smells faintly of apricot. 2 edible species in the same genus. The Tubular Chanterelle has a browner cap and a hollow stem. Luminous Chanterelle is much more orange and also has a hollow stem
- Habitat: Woodland. Especially oak or beech but sometimes birch and pine. Favors broad-leaved woods. Often grows among moss or where plant cover is sparse. Seen on sloping ground
- Season: Summer and fall
- Frequency: Grows either singly or in troops
- Cap: This is convex when the mushroom is young then flattens and becomes funnel-shaped with a depression in the center. Flesh is thick and dry on top. The skin doesn’t peel. It’s an egg-yolk yellow that fades with age
- Gills: No proper gills just a network of veins
- Spore Print: Pale yellow
- Stem: Fleshy and solid. Broad at the top and narrowing toward the base. Color of stem slightly paler than the cap
- Flesh: Pale yellow. Smells of apricots. If eaten raw, has a mild aftertaste with a kick of pepper
Where and When To Find Chanterelles
Source: Wild Harvest
In broad-leaved and coniferous woods, you’ll often spot chanterelle mushrooms in the undergrowth.
These mushrooms relish damp places like hollows and ditches.
Chanterelle is actually a pretty common mushroom but it’s tough to spot. It hides under moss and leaf litter which help to conceal its brilliant yellow color.
The mushroom grows throughout the temperate zone. It often crops up after summer storms.
When it comes to commercial picking, intensive carpet picking has been clamped down upon and regulated in some countries. France and the USA have imposed strict limitations on just how many chanterelles you can pick.
The mycelium on the chanterelle must be allowed to fruit in subsequent years so no implements should be used when picking that tear the moss and damage the mycelium.
If you have wondered about growing chanterelles, it’s really not straightforward.
The nature of the symbiotic relationship they have with certain trees mean you are limited. Those trees need to be where you want to grow or you’ll be clean out of luck.
Let’s assume that you are lucky enough to have some substantial beech, birch or spruce trees in your garden…
- If you have one of the trees that lacks a mycorrhizae fungus, make sure the soil around it is nicely drained and low in nitrogen
- You’ll need to test the pH of the soil. Anywhere between 4 and 5.5 is good. Sodium chloride helps to lower the pH levels. Lime is ideal if it needs a boost
- Start the mushrooms in July
- Rake over the soil where you plan to grow the chanterelles
- Take an old chanterelle. Break it up and scatter the pieces where you would like your mushrooms to grow. It is hard for these mushrooms to reproduce because they produce less spores than other types
- When it comes time to harvest your chanterelles, twist and pull them rather than cutting. Minimize harvests to no more than once every three weeks to prevent compacting the soil
Careful harvesting will lead to these mushrooms appearing year after year in the same spot. If you are successful in growing chanterelles then you should be blessed with an ongoing supply as long as you take good care of them.
It really isn’t straightforward growing chanterelles so if you are lucky enough for the conditions to fall in your favor, why not give it a go and see if you can bag some of these delicious mushrooms for your kitchen!
We have eaten the chanterelle since the times of the Romans.
Slugs and larvae tend the leave the chanterelle in peace so the flesh remains intact more so than with other mushrooms.
Its consistency is firm and compact. This needs to be compensated for with slightly longer cooking times.
Chanterelle can be cooked alone. It’s great sprinkled with some parsley, too.
These mushrooms make the perfect accompaniment to eggs in omelets and the color coordinates as well! They also go well with meat and can be pickled.
Chanterelles travel well so they are widely sold at market.
This site has some excellent recipes with chanterelles.
If you have the right conditions in your garden and fancy growing some chanterelles, why not give it a go?
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