How to Find Chanterelle Mushrooms

published by Spider39 on Feb 15, 2013

Chanterelle mushrooms are often used by chefs for their delicate flavor and aroma to enhance their dishes. Seasoned hunters of Chanterelles know where to find them after doing extensive research about the mushroom’s physical characteristics and where they typically grow, since picking and eating a look-alike can prove to be fatal.

Chanterelles are a relatively unique mushroom that is found in the Southwestern part of Montana. They closely resemble a flipped up umbrella with irregular scalloped edges around the cap that have blunt ridges that run the full length of the stem. The color of chanterelle mushrooms range from a warm yellow to a bright orange hue that bears a slight apricot scent. When searching for chanterelles it is important to be aware of your surroundings.

A good place to find Chanterelle mushroom is in the Bozeman area of Montana. Seasoned hunterusually start looking for these mushrooms in higher elevations, but they can be found in other places as well. When you see a lot of moss, this is usually a good place to start. 

Chanterelles grow in a shaded moisture rich environment and often will be present around White Forest pine, birch,beech, conifer, spruce, Douglas fir and Western hemlock, low-lying bushes or even alongside country dirt roads. For a beginner, the search for chanterelles may take some time to identify, since they have some very close look-alikes.  Two such mushrooms are:

• Jack-O-Lantern

• False chanterelle

Why You Need to Know the Difference

Unlike chanterelles, Jack-O-Lanterns are very poisonous, have sharp gills, wider more uniformed caps, a deeper orange color, and grow in tight clusters. They have the ability to grow even without the presence of trees, which will never be the case with a Chanterelle mushroom.

False chanterelle also have sharp gills and are more of a brownish orange hue that is not uniform all over the body of the mushroom. Their stems are thinner and lack the distinctive mild fragrance of apricot. They are considered by some to be mildly poisonous and are not edible.

Once you spot the differences between the Jack-O-Lantern and the False chanterelle from the real Chanterelle mushroom, it should take no time at all to fill your bucket with them! However, if you have doubts about the mushrooms you’ve picked being the right ones, throw them away. Eating poisonous mushrooms can be fatal!

Here’s a simple checklist to follow:

• Are the mushrooms a bright yellowish-orange color?

• Do they have the slight aroma of apricots?

• Do they have scalloped irregular-shaped caps of different sizes?

• Chanterelles always grow in the presence of trees, but can also be found near moss and bushes.

• Rhe stems of Chanterelles are fleshier

• The color of Chanterelles is uniform over its entire body.

Chanterelle season starts from mid-July to early to late fall depending on the weather conditions. Remember to research a reliable edible mushroom guide book and study photos and detailed descriptions of this particular mushroom to avoid mistaking it for a look-alike. Educating yourself will make your mushroom picking experience a fun one!

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