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Chanterelle Mushrooms




Cantharellus -- Chanterelle Mushrooms

Scientific classification

C. cibarius
C. cinereus
C. cinnabarinus
C. craterellus
C. formosus
C. lateritius
C. lutescens
C. minor
C. pallens
C. persicinus
C. subalbidus
C. tabernensis
C. tubaeformis
C. xanthopus

Cantharellus is a genus with many delicious and popular edible mushrooms. It is a mycorrhizal edible fungus, meaning it forms symbiotic associations with plants, making it very challenging to cultivate. Caution must be used when identifying chanterelles for consumption; lookalikes, such as the Jack-O-Lantern, can make a person very ill. Still, the yellow chanterelle is one of the most recognized edible mushrooms and can be found in Asia, Europe, North America and Australia.

Synonyms and common names

C. cibarius
yellow chanterelle, chanterelle
C. subalbidus
white chanterelle
C. formosus
Pacific golden chanterelle
C. tubaeformis
funnel chanterelle, yellow foot, winter mushroom


The best known species of this genus is the yellow chanterelle[1] , which is orange or yellow, meaty and funnel-shaped. It has forking gills on the underside, running all the way down its stalk, which tapers down seamlessly from the cap. It has a fruity smell and a peppery taste, and is considered an excellent food mushroom.

In California and the Pacific Northwest of USA there is also the white chanterelle[2] , which looks like the yellow except for its off-white color. It is more fragile and found in lesser numbers than the yellow chanterelle, but can otherwise be treated as its yellow cousin.

The Pacific golden chanterelle, C. formosus, has recently been recognized as a separate species from the yellow chanterelle. It forms a mycorrhizal association with the Douglas-fir and Sitka spruce forests of the Pacific Northwest. This chanterelle has been designated Oregon's state mushroom, due to its economic value and abundance.

Cleaned funnel chanterelles
Cleaned funnel chanterelles

The yellow foot[3]) is a yellowish-brown and trumpet-shaped chanterelle found in great numbers late in the mushroom season, thus earning the common name winter mushroom. The cap is convex and sometimes hollow down the middle, and because of this it is also known as funnel chanterelle. The gills are widely separated, and of lighter color than the cap. It grows on moss or rotten wood, and is an excellent food mushroom, especially fried or in soups.

Use in food

Chanterelles in general go well with eggs, chicken, pork and veal, can be used as toppings on pizzas, be stewed, marinated, fried in butter, or used as filling for stuffed pancakes. Of course these are just examples; chanterelles are versatile and can be added as an ingredient to most dishes.

Preparation and storage

Since the mushrooms hold a lot of water, a good way of preparing them is to "dry sauté" them: after cleaning, the mushrooms are sliced and put in a pan over medium heat. When covered in the water they've released, they are removed from the heat and frozen in their own water. Alternatively, the water can be used in sauces or simply discarded.

Chanterelles can also be pickled in brine. Salted water is brought to the boil, and pickling spices such as peppercorns, mustard seeds, and thyme are added. The mushrooms are then cooked in this solution for 5–10 minutes before being transferred to sterilized bottles along with some of the liquid. Sliced garlic and dill can be added to the bottles for extra flavour. The remaining liquid forms an excellent stock for making soup. When pickled in this way, chanterelles can last from six to twelve months.

Another storage technique is drying. The chanterelles are dried in open air and then stored without a lid. A few hours before final preparation the mushrooms are put in water which they absorb and return to practically their original size. They can then be used as fresh.

Fresh chanterelles can generally be stored up to ten days in a refrigerator.


The species with the common name black chanterelle[4] is, as its Latin name implies, not of the Cantharellus genus, and thus not really a chanterelle. It is sometimes called the trumpet of death, though it is in fact a delicious mushroom, and not poisonous. It is hard to find because of its liking for dark and sheltered places.

Similar species

The false chanterelle (Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca) has finer, more orange gills and a darker cap. It is edible, but typically a culinary disappointment. The very similar Jack-O-Lantern mushroom (Omphalotus illudens) and its sister species (Omphalotus olivascens) are very poisonous, though not lethal. They have true gills (unlike chanterelles) which are thinner, have distinct crowns, and generally do not reach up to the edge. Additionally, the Jack-O-Lantern mushroom is bioluminescent.


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