As summer heat settles into Missouri, forage the forest floor for a culinary treat.
This week on Discover Nature, search for chanterelle mushrooms fruiting in the woods.
Chanterelles are funnel- or trumpet-shaped and have wavy cap-edges. Usually orange or yellow in color, with a fruity fragrance when fresh.
Chanterelles do not have true gills under the caps, such as those found on the poisonous, but similar-looking jack-o’-lantern mushrooms, which are sharp-edged and knifelike.
Find chanterelles in the same habitat that favors morels: on the ground in hardwood forests. They always grow on the ground in grass or leaf litter – never on decaying wood or trees.
A favorite fungus of chefs, chanterelles also feed a variety of wild organisms from tiny insects to mammals.
The fungus that gives rise to the mushroom forms mutually beneficial relationships with roots of trees, helping them to absorb water and nutrients, while the trees provide nourishment to the fungus.
Before eating any wild mushrooms, be certain you’ve correctly identified them.
Learn more about chanterelle mushrooms, including how to identify them, and recipes for preparing them in the kitchen, with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s online field guide and the Missouri Mycological Society.
Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.