Stop and smell the… CHANTERELLES!!
Once again, I went for a walk in the woods and was shocked by the bounty that nature provides when I make the time to search it out. Look at those beauties!
In case you haven’t gone mushroom hunting, it’s a delight. I leave the house with a vague destination, no peak to bag, no panorama to catch, no goal except to meander slowly and pay attention. It is so nice to just BE: to be present, to smell the forest, to remember which direction I came from, and pick where I want to go. To watch the world work its magic slowly, growing with seasons and time, and to forget about needing to DO all of the time. I carry a wicker basket, so the spores of the mushrooms can fall out as I walk (a trail of breadcrumbs to the mushroom patch once they fruit too!). I carry bear spray, water, snacks, I bring the dog, and with no rhyme or reason, I explore!
You can see in the first picture- chanterelles can be mischievous, hidey little devils. Sometimes, as with most hunts, it’s best to expect to find nothing so that I can’t come away disappointed. Sometimes, however, when you find one, there are probably more around. Chanterelles are in season right now, they like partly sunny, wet, mossy forest floors. And in the right conditions, can be as big as my face!
Once I get chanterelles home, I clean them with minimal water and a toothbrush. Water makes mushrooms mushy – but since they pop up out of mossy forest floors they often need some kind of cleaning.
I think chanterelles are best fried in butter until they lose all of their moisture. When they start turning brown and crispy, add them into pesto or stirfry. YUMM!!
And in the situation when I have so many I can’t cook them all at once, I like to dehydrate the rest and save them for later.
A cream of chanterelle soup late in winter really makes home feel cozy and warm!! And I love the memory of the adventure that brought my food to my home. Meals paired with memories taste even better.