December 14, 2019, at 02:43 PM (0 comments)
Chanterelles hunting is one of the best activities while hiking in the forest ( if you reside in an area where they can be found). Below I’m putting some tips on collecting them from the ground, harvesting best practices, cleaning chanterelles, and storage / usage.
I highly recommend having a basket or a bag that has a semi-sturdy structure when mushroom hunting in general. This keeps the mushrooms from being overly smashed by a bag that is collapsing inward from the walls. It also helps keep the pile of mushrooms from putting a lot of pressure on one another which can lead to bruising, and or embedding dirt/leaves etc into the mushrooms, making them harder to clean.
Any Bag Can Work
Chanterelles jammed in a bag
My tools for Mushroom Hunting Chanterelles
- Sturdy breathable bag or basket
- Mushroom knife with a brush attached to it
- Any knife will do
- And any brush can work also
- Hiking boots that can get wet and are sturdy
- Bottled water
- Cell phone ( in case you get lost and need to call for help)
Chanterelle Harvesting Best Practices
There is some debate regarding whether or not it is the best idea to simply pull the chanterelle out of the ground, versus cutting it at the base with a knife. I typically use a knife, but even when using a knife, sometimes, the whole stem comes out.
Chanterelle_cut_uncut.jpg Δ | Cut vs. Uncut
To me, the most important thing when harvesting chanterelles is “doing the cleanup on the front end”. What I mean by this is, when you get the chanterelle, do your best to take off as much dirt and debris as possible. This is where the brush comes in handy, as well as a swift burst of air from your mouth. In addition, regarding the dialogue above about the best way to pull it up, I like to try and cut it, because if you pull it up. You are also pulling up the foot which typically is the dirtiest part. So cutting it at the base is immediately a cleaner technique, and since you are going to cut the bottom part off either before you drop it in your bag, or when you get home, might as well err on the side of overall efficiency and cut it from the get-go.
Once the chanterelle is clean ( or as clean as you can get it), drop it into your clean bag and grab more. Rinse and repeat.
|Dirty Feet on Chanterelles adds an extra step to cleaning and it can rub off onto other collected mushrooms.|
|Mushrooms harvested with Knife|
Cleaning Chanterelles at home
The Cleaning Setup
Once you get home with your bag of chanterelles, it’s important to get them laid out in an organized fashion. I like to take a towel, lay it on the kitchen counter next to the sink, and dump the bag onto it. From there I lay the mushrooms out they are individualized and I can assess next steps.
|Chanterelles straight from the bag ( not cleaned yet)|
Then, I lay another clean towel on the other side of the sink which acts as a place to put the chanterelles after they have been cleaned a second time and are ready for cooking/drying/storing.
|Drying Chanterelles after cleaning|
This is the point where your hard work in the field to clean them comes in handy. I find most of the chanterelles still need a little detail work even with the best field practices in place.
The tools Needed:
- clean towel to put cleaned mushrooms on
- Water source ( I like the sink)
- Small paint brush with semi rigid bristles
- Run the sink on a very low dribble with cold water
- Run the cap of the mushroom under the sink, and clean with your finger or brush.
- Flip the mushroom over and use the brush to brush away any visible dirt while holding the mushroom under the dribbling water.
- Alternatively you can have a bowl of water and dip your brush into the water and clean that way. Just be sure to clean your brush periodically so you are removing the dirt and not just spreading it out.
- Chanterelles are fairly easy to clean and because of their structure, they can take some abuse with the brush, and because of the false gills, stubborn dirt can be removed fairly easily.
- Once cleaned to satisfaction, shake the water off and lay on the clean dry towel
- Repeat this for each mushroom
|Chanterelles totally cleaned and ready for cooking or preserving|
Storing / Using Chanterelles
Cooking with Chanterelles
I love cooking with the chanterelles right after the cleaning process ( or soon after). It’s kind of my motivation to get the cleaning done. In addition, my kids LOVE eating Chanterelles, so I typically will have eager helpers if they know they will be first to the party when I cook them.
Basic Chanterelle Techniques for storage / Cooking
Fresh Chanterelle Storage
Chanterelle don't keep so well for more than a few days. I have kept them for up to a week before, and some need to be thrown out as some of the edges seem to get a bit mushy.
If you do choose to store them, store them in a paper bag, and leave them in the refrigerator.
My Chanterelle Method of Storage / Saute
Try my ChanterelleSauteRecipe.
I prefer to cook the mushrooms either the same day, or the next day after cleaning them. If I am going to cook them the following day, I will let them sit on the towel overnight, and have not had any issues doing this.
By using a saute, you can preserve the mushrooms for a much longer time, and you harness the flavor of the fresh chanterelles into the oil/butter that is used. Check out my ChanterelleSauteRecipe for a very simple recipe.
Some people like to slice and dry chanterelles. I personally don’t do this, as my kids love them, and by using the sauté recipe, I can keep them in a “ready to go” instant flavor boost to any meal…. and snack on them periodically if the urge strikes me.
To dry chanterelles, slice them, and lay on a dehydrator rack so that they are not touching one another. I dry everything at 135 degrees or less.
Once dry ( cracker dry), store in an airtight jar.
Uses for dried chanterelles
Reconstitute in water and then use them as you would fresh chanterelles
Add to soups for a unique flavor and texture