Chicken of The Woods – Try This Delicious Mushroom In Your Next Meal

What Are Chicken Of The Woods Mushrooms?

Chicken of the Woods is an edible mushroom from the genus known as Laetiporus. The Chicken Mushroom got its name because when it is cooked it has a texture that is very close to chicken meat. In fact, it could easily replace chicken in just about any recipe.

chicken of the woods

Does Chicken of The Woods Mushroom Taste Like Chicken?

Chicken of the Woods is an edible mushroom from the genus known as Laetiporus. The Chicken Mushroom got its name because when it is cooked it has a texture that is very close to chicken meat. In fact, it could easily replace chicken in just about any recipe.

Where Can I Find Chicken Of The Woods Mushrooms?

Farmer’s Markets

Finding a local mushroom forager is going to be your best bet when looking for Chicken of The Woods mushrooms. Farmer’s markets near you are a good place to begin your search. The season for Chicken of The Woods is late-spring until early fall. So, if you are interested in trying them fresh then your best chance will be during these times.

 

Sometimes it can be tough to find a good mushroom forager. If this is the case for you, try asking some local mushroom farmers and see if they know where to find any. They might be able to bring some in specially for you, or at least be able to point you in the right direction..

Hunting & Foraging

Hunting for mushrooms is a daunting task for anyone who is new to the mushroom foraging. However, foraging can result in some fantastic fungi! (pun intended)

 

It’s important to know that if you are foraging for Chicken of The Woods to do extensive research before you eat your first specimen. The best way to be sure is to get a mushroom field guide app, and cross reference those findings with additional research.

 

Even though the bright orange color of chicken of the woods is easily distinguishable from other mushrooms there are some look alike species and you will want to be extremely cautious before eating anything you foraged.

 

For example the Jack O’ Lantern mushrooms are bright orange and have a similar structure. They are also deadly poisonous and should not be consumed. This is why we say if you are unsure about foraging…just don’t!

 

That doesn’t mean you can’t learn how to forage through education though. Consult with books and local experts who might be willing to assist you on your journey.

 

Another great thing you can do is just explore for mushrooms and don’t eat them. Half the fun is finding these marvellous creatures in their natural habitat. You can simply snap a few photos and continue on hunting.

chicken mushrooms

How To Identify Chicken of The Woods

Chicken of the woods can be easily spotted due to their vibrant, bright orange and yellow colors.  These wavy cap mushrooms can be found growing in fan-shaped clusters at the base of oak trees and on decomposing oak logs. The mushrooms have a soft, fuzzy texture and are slightly wrinkly in appearance.

 

We have gone to the liberty of digging up an article to help you learn how to identify chicken of the woods. A must read before you do any foraging!

Different Species of Chicken of The Woods

Two commonly found varieties are Laetiporus sulphureus and Laetiporus Cincinnatus. The latter of which is the more desired in terms of taste despite both varieties being edible.

 

Cincinnatus can be distinguished by it’s creamy white coloring on the underside of the caps, while sulphureus (aka suplher shelf) has a more yellow underside. 

Environment & Growing Season

Chicken of the woods can mainly be found growing on or around the roots of oak trees. They are mostly found on oak but they can also be found on cherry and beachwood.

 

Laetiporus Cincinnatus being the choice edible of the two species is often found growing at the base of oak trees near the roots. Laetiporus Sulphureus however, is more likely to be found growing on decomposing tree trunks and branches.

Chicken mushrooms can be found growing throughout North America (Canada & US) and have also been identified in parts of Europe as well.

 

The growing season it typically late-spring to early-fall making them a great mushroom to forage throughout the season.

Are Chicken of The Woods Safe to Eat?

If you are indeed dealing with Chicken of The Woods then YES, they are safe to eat.

 

Buying your mushrooms from a local expert is recommended for the first time, but they can easily be foraged and are quite common. You have probably stumbled across them before not knowing exactly what they were.

How To Cook Chicken of The Woods Mushrooms…

The best way to prepare chicken of the woods is just how you would with real chicken. These fantastic fungi can be substituted into any chicken recipe quite easily. They can be marinated, seasoned, breaded, or battered. You can fry, bake, sauté or barbecue – it’s really up to you how to prepare your chicken of the woods.

 

Personally, I like to batter them with a gluten-free flour/water mixture and fry them in olive oil until they are golden brown. (or use grape seed oil)

 

Cooking chicken of the woods can be slightly different from other mushrooms as you will need to increase your cooking times a little. Chicken mushrooms take longer to cook than say a portobello or cremini.

 

Typically, you will want to cook chicken mushrooms for 15-25 minutes which can vary depending on the method you use to cook them. It might take some experimenting, but the results can be stunning.

 

If you are looking for a unique way to cook your chicken of the woods, then please check out this video “This MUSHROOM Tastes Like CHICKEN – So I made KFC” by Sauce Stash on YouTube.

 

It’s worth watching if you are looking for ideas how to cook your chicken of the woods to make them taste just like chicken.

How Much Protein in Chicken of The Woods?

Chicken of the woods is an excellent source of protein for anyone who is looking for alternatives to meat proteins. Just 100g of Chicken mushrooms contain 23g of protein which is quite remarkable… even for a mushroom.

Can Chicken of The Woods Be Grown Indoors?

We don’t want to rule it out indoor growing completely but according to the attempts we have seen on various internet forums it is an extremely difficult mushroom to grow.

It’s not that the mycelium won’t grow because it will. The hard part is getting the fruiting blocks to fruit and produce a decent-looking edible mushroom.

Most attempts have yielded some strange orange blobs that do not resemble the chicken of the woods mushrooms we see grow in the wild.

But, check out these mushrooms you can grow at home.

TLDR:

  • Chicken of The Woods is a bright orange edible mushroom that resembles chicken once cooked.
  • They are found growing in North America and parts of Europe.
  • Nutrition wise they are packed with protein.
  • Texture wise they are eerily chicken-like and could easily be confused with the real thing.
  • The grow from early-spring until early-fall.
  • Often found growing at the base of Oak trees or on decomposing branches.
  • Makes an excellent chicken substitute.
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