Hunting Chanterelle Mushrooms

Warm, wet July weather has many good effects. Wildflowers are blooming their best. Mushrooms including chanterelle mushrooms pop up on the forest floor.

Considered to be one of the vase mushrooms, these mushrooms are one of the easy ones to identify out in the woods. Their bright yellow to deep orange color might make them easy to spot.

A vase mushroom from the side has a thick stalk that flares out to the top. From the top the cap is usually dented and the margins are irregular. Chanterelle mushrooms have gills going up the side of the stalk out under the cap.

hunting for chanterelle mushrooms
This chanterelle mushroom almost got overlooked. Dry leaves and twigs were partially over it. I saw it only because I was looking down searching for a glimpse of orange.

There is another orange mushroom called the Jack O’Lantern which is poisonous. It grows in clumps on dead stumps and is a definite gill mushroom with all its gills tucked up under its smooth margined cap.

I hadn’t gone out looking for mushrooms. I was looking for wildflowers and found an assortment. As I started up a hill through the woods, watching for glimpses of color, I spotted orange.

My wildflower walk suddenly became a search for chanterelle mushrooms. They tend to grow scattered in the leaf litter. They are often a smaller mushroom and the litter can hide them.

chanterelle mushrooms
Color is the easiest way to spot chanterelle mushrooms. They look messy with their uneven edges. These are fresh with a damp look. Older ones lose that sharp color and darken.

Many of the ones I saw were small. I passed them by. It’s a good idea to leave some mushrooms behind to scatter spores to start new fungus nets for mushrooms next year.

The larger ones I found were two to three inches tall and nearly that wide across the top. A half dozen were plenty for our dinner that night.

“Missouri’s Wild Mushrooms” by Maxine Stone from the Missouri Department of Conservation has recipes for many of the popular edible mushrooms including these choice ones. But I decided to do a simple dish.

Diced and sautéed chanterelle mushrooms mixed with fried rice made a good side dish for a stir fry dinner.

Find out more about chanterelle mushrooms and morels in “Exploring the Ozark Hills“.