I went over to the playground across the street from my house when a wonderous thing appeared before my eyes, could it be, is it that time already?
It is! Looks to me like it is chicken of the woods season!
These look like four beautiful chickens to me but I am not a mycologist or an expert forager or anything of the sort, don't go eating mushrooms you find and then blame me if you die, there are many amazing guides and actual mushroom experts online who will help you to properly identify mushrooms and groups that go out and pick mushrooms with experts to identify them. That said I like to live on the wild side so I grabbed these even though they looked immature, I came across this one nearby that some child had already destroyed:
That destroyed one is a lot more typical of this variety in that it was growing on an oak tree, these mushrooms feed off of hardwood trees like oak, avoid any growing on any evergreen trees. Here is where it was growing:
These are the first I have found growing on the ground but they were nearby an oak tree where I have found a chicken growing in the past.
A couple were sort of weird and grey one side, not sure if it was dirt or mold or from the sun getting on them or part of the mushroom or what.
This one is gorgeous, no dirt or damaged parts. I grabbed them all and filled a pretty fat sack.
If you could buy these in a store or market, they would cost $20- $30 per pound, this is a couple of pounds.
I tried to cut off as much of the dirt around the base as I could, this is not a problem when they are growing on a tree, then you just cut them off as close to the tree as you can. One thing to look out for with these is bugs, bugs love them and if they get there before you do they will ruin it, that's another reason I picked these as soon as I saw them. After I got the dirt off I put them in the fridge in a paper bag, they will keep in there for a while if the humidity is right.
I grabbed the pretty one for my lunch, I sliced it into roughly 3/8th inch slices and it was in the pan with butter probably less than 10 minutes after picking.
It's a lot like cooking actual chicken, these should never be eaten raw, it will brown up and sometimes turn a little red. I took a small bite first to make sure I actually had the right mushroom, that's the final test, if a mushroom actually tastes as it is supposed to taste then it is probably the right one. These have a pretty amazing flavor, its like a lemony chicken/lobster flavor, seems like the older ones I have eaten are a little tougher and have a stronger more lemony flavor, these were more tender and have a more delicate but still lemony chicken/lobster flavor.
It's delicious by itself without anything and I ate some like that but I decided to kick it up a notch.
I toasted and buttered up a nice honey wheat English muffin and fried up an egg, topped it with a big pile of the chicken of the woods and then a little ketchup and my epic homemade hot sauce. It was unbelievably good and its been a couple of hours at this point and my throat hasn't closed up and I haven't been struck with uncontrollable vomiting or diarrhea . I guess I picked the right mushroom.
Do you ever do any foraging? Would you risk your life for a snack?
This is a @steemit exclusive! These low resolution cell phone photos and dull commentary are @funbobby51 original content, all rights reserved, please upvote generously and RESTEEM, I risked my life for this post!