Chicken Of The Woods(Laetiporus Sulphureus)

Chicken of the Woods(Laetiporus sulphureus) (Edible-though not everyone can tolerate it)

During the early days of the pandemic, I spent a lot of time working from home and taking breaks walking around our property.  I found a treasure trove of Morel mushrooms and immediately picked them, made delicious soup, and added them to omelets to everyone’s delight.  Then this summer, while my family was in the Adirondaks, I picked up a couple of books on mushrooms and went into the woods for a hunt.  I found that the more I looked, the more I found interesting species of mushrooms that were right before my eyes, but I had just never noticed them.  The closest analogy I can think of is when you go to buy a new car, suddenly you notice that model everywhere in a way that they never showed up before.  I now see mushrooms everywhere.  What’s more, since certain mushrooms grow on specific trees, I have learned to identify many more trees by their bark and their leaves.

My interest in mushrooms has led me to improve my exercise regime.  Being a couch potato at heart and finding it difficult to walk on a treadmill or a beaten path, I have taken to walking my in-laws’ property adjacent to the Appalachian Trail with my dog Gus in search of mushrooms.  Every time we go, we both come back dragging and ready to go the next day.

One of my favorite mushrooms, in general, is the Hen of the Woods or maitake mushrooms (Grifola frondosa) although I have not found them in the wild, that is one of my top goals.

I should say I am a very cautious mushroom hunter, as everyone should be.  There are many look-alikes in the mushroom world, and some of those look-alikes taste bad, will make you sick, or in the worst-case scenario, kill you.  I have read many stories of knowledgeable amateur mycologists who simply become careless and then recount their near-death experiences.  To date, I have only eaten Morel mushrooms and Chicken of the Woods (shown above and below) from the wild, but I have high hopes.

At the bottom of the blog is an example of a mushroom that looks similar to a very tasty chanterelle mushroom but is poisonous.

Chicken Of The Woods From Below

Chicken of the Woods From Below

Morel Mushrooms From Our Yard

Morel Mushrooms (Morchella esculenta) From Our Yard (Delicious)

Violet-Toothed Polypore (Inedible)

Violet-toothed polypore (Inedible)

Gus Taking A Break In The Woods

Gus Taking a Break in the Woods

Upright Coral (Ramaria Stricta)

Upright Coral (Ramaria stricta) (Inedible)

Jack-O'-Lantern (Omphalotus Illudens) Poisonous

Jack-O’-Lantern (Omphalotus illudens) Poisonous

Jack-O'-Lantern (Omphalotus Illudens) Poisonous

Jack-O’-Lantern (Omphalotus illudens) Poisonous

Jack-O'-Lantern (Omphalotus Illudens) Poisonous

Jack-O’-Lantern (Omphalotus illudens) Poisonous

About the Author: James Crisp

James M. Crisp has been an architect for well over 30 years. His architectural firm, Crisp Architects, designs projects throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts. In April of 2007, Taunton Press published 'On the Porch' by James M. Crisp and Sandra Mahoney.

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