Foraged Food and Medicine: Benefits of Chicken of the Woods and SalalsteemCreated with Sketch.

in food •  2 years ago 

A couple of weeks ago, Patrick and I went out hunting chantrelles as we had heard they were out, unfortunately, we did not find any that time but what we DID find was Chicken of the Woods and that was very exciting to me as I had yet to try it but had been meaning to for some time. While we were out, we went ahead and gathered some salal greens and berries for using in medicinal tinctures.

Here is our little cooler full of the goodies we brought home that day


Of course, being who I am, I looked up the health benefits of this wild mushroom and as could be expected with pretty much any foraged food, it is packed full of goodness such as protein, fiber, and vitamins B, C, D, and K. Those last two being especially great when you live in a place where we get little sun and need our vitamin D. Equally important is that it also is high in vitamin K as vitamins D and K need to be taken together to get the full benefits out of them. This is why I believe that taking vitamins and minerals in their whole food form, like we were created to do, is simply the best way. Just like with vitamins D and K, foods that are high in calcium are also often high in magnesium - two minerals that need to be taken together rather than alone. B vitamins and others are usually found in a complex form in foods, not separated out. As with all the others, B vitamins need to be ingested in their complex form as they work best together.

Besides, one never knows what kind of fillers and garbage is added to a pill form unless you are making your own supplements out of all natural ingredients like I do with turmeric, spirulina, crushed egg shells, and the like.

Here are photos I took of a couple of the chicken of the woods we found before we harvested them so if you are not familiar with it, you can see how it looks



Chickens of the Woods after dehydrating and vacuum sealing into mason jars


I also have a couple of recipe videos coming out showing how I used both the fresh and dehydrated mushrooms to make some yummy meals :D

Now salal is something that grows nearly as prolific as the blackberries around here. The berries are loaded with antioxidants and can be used for making jams, pies, and syrups. I have eaten them fresh and they have a nice flavor, but we prefer the blackberries for eating and making goodies so the salal berries we harvested that day I dehydrated up with the greens for using in my homemade cough, cold, and flu tincture and syrup.

Aside from helping to cure and relieve symptoms of colds and flus, some of the other traditional uses of the salal leaves are that they were used for curing colic, heartburn, diarrhea, and even tuberculosis. The leaves were also chewed up and used as a poultice in wound care.

Mr. Rain harvesting some salal greens and berries


close up of the leaves and berries after collection


Here is the video I made showing us collecting one of the mushrooms and the follow up I did with the salal and the mushrooms after we got home:

Hope you enjoyed this post and that you possibly learned something new from it. Have a wonderful weekend all! ~Heidi!


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Thanks for sharing this. I have only seen Chicken of the Woods once in my entire life! And I was too young and inexperienced to know what I was passing up:( I am looking forward to the video to see how you prepared them for dinner.


I'm with you! though I wonder if I've seen it and not known what it was, so I didn't note it, ya know?


I hear ya.

You are the gal to watch Heidsie Rain Lady, very inspiring!

I am not familiar with salal greens. They don't look familiar so they probably don't grow here in Nova Scotia. I do have a chicken of the woods spot though - waiting for them to appear. It is usually late September.

Chicken of the woods is also one of my favorite mushrooms to eat.
I haven't found one yet this season but I still have time.
I can't wait to see those recipes because most times I find edible mushrooms I end up frying them with butter because I never know how to cook them.

We did our first foraging this year! We found awesome morels! They were soooo good with breakfast! Farm fresh eggs and fresh goat milk. mmmm!

MY nephew found some on our trip thru WA last year and it was delicious.

I love chicken of the woods! My husband got one recently!

I have been to Chicken to try the chicken of the woods mushrooms although I see them quite often in this area. Now that I know a little more maybe I will get brave enough to cook with them. Thanks for a good post. 🐓🐓

Mm Intresting reading, I've never tried either salal or chicken of the woods, but I've wanted to try them for a long time. Lovely to see how many people in this community is so connected with nature and its healing abilities.

I really like Chicken of the Woods mushrooms (Laetiporus spp.). I either eat them right away, or freeze them straight up without any additional processing. I really like them in soup, like a pumpkin soup. They do eat like chunks of chicken in soup. Really good! Enjoy all your Chicken of the Woods -- you have a great supply there and the season has only just begun! :D

Both of those are such good wild foods! Nice foraging!

Wow, we have nothing like those mushrooms here in Australia.