Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Chicken of the Woods

The sulfur shelf (Laetiporus sulphurus) or chicken of the woods.  (Photo by Jenna Crovo)
      Back in late September, I was conducting some fish surveys in the smokies.  While wading down a stream, I noticed some fungi known as the sulfur shelf (Laetiporus sulphurus) or the chicken of the woods.  They are known by many to be edible* and quite tasty.  However, they can cause gastrointestinal upset in some people (upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea), so be careful if you eat them.  DO NOT eat them if they are growing on Hemlock.  Furthermore, if they are growing on dead wood, DO NOT eat them unless you are sure it is not hemlock.  This blog post is just a short description and should not be used to identify mushrooms.  Consult an expert and a field guide for proper identification.

The underside of the fungi is a spectacular yellow.  (Photo by Jenna Crovo)
      Aside from a few remaining pecans and persimmons, foraging is pretty slow now.  I'll be heading to the coast in a few days for Thanksgiving and I'll be doing my annual Thanksgigging trip.  I'll write up a report, but other than gigging and fall fishing, not much is happening.  Now is the time to enjoy the beers, wines, and meads made from fruit gathered throughout the year.  The cool weather also results in ideal fermentation temperatures.

*Note:  It is your responsibility to correctly identify any fungus you plan on eating and to consult a local expert and/or an accurate field guide.  Do not eat any wild fungus unless you are 100% sure of its identity

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