Angel Wings Mushroom

May 29, 2011 by     18 Comments    Posted under: Focus Ingredients, Mushrooms
Angel Wings

Angel Wings

Angel Wings (Pleurocybella porrigens) are one of my favorite wild mushrooms, if nothing else just for their beauty. There’s something surreal about walking through a lush green forest, dampened by a recent rain, and suddenly spotting blotches of celestial white against the vibrancy of a moss colored tree. Just simply beautiful.

But Angel Wings have other characteristics of beauty as well. They taste wonderful! But be careful when you clean them, as they are very delicate and fragile.

How To Identify Angel Wings Wild Mushrooms

  • Grow in the Fall on rotting conifers throughout the Pacific Northwest and other Northern regions
  • Grow in a shelflike pattern on trees, stumps, or logs
  • Are bright white in color when fresh
  • The cap is small, only 1″ – 2.5″ wide, and have a fan-shape to them, though occasionally you may find one over 4″ wide
  • They don’t have a stalk, or if they do, it is just a stubby little base
  • They have gills which are white and close together which run down their stubby base (if present)
  • They do not have a veil, ring, or volva
  • Spores are white

They look a lot like a very white, small Oyster Mushroom, but are much more delicate and thin. They are easy to find, easy to identify, and easy to harvest. Just make sure you are able to 100% identify them so as to avoid any form of potential mushroom poisoning.

Edibility of Angel Wings Wild Mushrooms

Please make the effort to learn this mushroom. It is a wonderful gourmet treat any day of the week! They are very mild, have a very clean aroma, almost like the smell of moss, and are slightly sweet. They’re fantastic sauteed in butter with a little salt and pepper.

But as with all wild edibles, be wise and don’t eat large quantities at a time. Wild mushrooms, even those long proven to be edible, can cause physical distress and, in rare situations, physical harm/death.

How to Preserve Angel Wings Wild Mushrooms

Angle Wings are too delicate to dry, but I have found that if you saute them in butter and then freeze them, they are just as good thawed and recooked as fresh. In fact, the mossy sweetness seems to come out more during the freezing for some reason. They are exceptional scrambled up with some eggs this way.

Young Angel Wings

Young Angel Wings

Angel Wings Tree

Angel Wings Tree

Harvested Angel Wings

Harvested Angel Wings

The Bald Gourmet loves mushroom hunting. Gathering delicious gourmet treats in the woods, like Angle Wings Mushrooms, is wonderful.

18 Comments + Add Comment

  • I enjoy angel wing mushrooms. Great pictures and descriptions on how to find them and where. I enjoy cooking them with or without condiments. They taste good cooked plain. They go good in eggs, or i love to put them into a vegetable medley, i saute, including spinach and cabbage and kale, with some oyster sauce, other veggies also.

    I also sell those and chantrelles in season if interested.

  • I found something I thought might be angel wings on a hemlock stump but the caps are up to six inches across – does that rule out them being angel wings?

    • Nope. They still could be. I’ve seen them that big before. Could also be oyster mushrooms though

  • One more poisoning case has recently been reported in Japan. A 20-year-old man who has no kidney disorder was taken to the hospital with acute encephalopathy on 30th Sep 2014. He is getting better in the hospital and now in stable condition. The authority rewarrned people not to consume the mushroom even if they have no kidney syndrome.

    The regionality of angel wings poisoning is not clear. It has been suggested that the poisoning outbreak on 2004 in Japan is not caused by transformation or mutation of mushroom rather than by a change of the reporting criteria regarding acute encephalopathy. In 2003, the infectious disease control law in Japan was amended that medical institutions were obligated to report acute encephalopathy cases to authorities. (The amendment was conducted to counter with SARS pandemic and anthrax terrorism which were problems around that time.)

    • Well, next time I’m in Japan and stumble across some Angel Wings, I’ll be sure not to pick and eat them. When in Oregon and Washington however, I will enjoy them with butter every time I find them. Thanks for the comment hartack.

      • the angel wings in Japan must be different from the ones in the PNW – I have eaten angel wings for years here and have had no adverse reactions. And, yes, sometimes in large quantities at once because dredged in flour and fried they are like little mushroom chips. You can’t eat just one :)

        • Totally agree Karin!

  • […] all kinds of delicious species of edible mushrooms from the wild; Chanterelles, Morels, Hedgehogs, Angel Wings, and […]

  • I tried to sauté these angel wings and they turned gray some of them.
    ANy thoughts on that. Is it normal? Seem to taste good but not too pretty.
    curious.

    • Hmm… I wonder if they were just older or more water logged? Not sure exactly, but I’ve seen the same thing happen before occasionally.

  • On another not I too have a hard time telling the difference between oyster mushrooms and angel wing mushrooms

    • They do look similar. Oysters are typically more meaty and thicker though. They tend to grow on different trees too…. oysters more often on deciduous, and angels more on evergreen (fir especially).

  • I harvested about 2 pounds of angel wings today in Wrangell, Alaska and when i got home i washed them lightly and placed them in my dehydrator as i do with a few other mushrooms i pick and they started turning black is that ok or are they not any good anymore I have never had this happen with other mushrooms before

    • Hmmm…I’ve never tried to dry them before. Turning black doesn’t sound very appetizing. Sorry to hear that. Try freezing the rest. They keep very well in the freezer, and smell intoxicating when you open them up!

  • Picked about 3 pounds this week end on my property near Cadillac MI. Brought about a pound home 2 weeks ago and dried them. They are very early this year, going back up next week end and hope to find more. At this rate, I’ll have enough to last the winter just in time for the oyster mushrooms.

  • [...] sign I had that it was going to be a good day was this beautiful flush of oysters, of the white “angel’s wing” variety,  just across the road from our dining hall.  In fact, it was one of several flushes of [...]

  • [...] enough berries and peas to nibble. On the way back we found more mushrooms. This time there were Angel Wings (they looked like oysters to me). Our host was a bit worried about us eating those. She actually [...]

  • It should be noted that a percentage of people are allergic to the Angel Wing mushrooms and while there have been no reported deaths in the U.S. there have been 59 cases of people getting sick and 18 fatalities related to consumption of this species in Japan. All patients were elderly and it has been hypotesized that the deaths were related to consumptions of large amounts and compromised kidney function in the unfortunate victims (http://www.namyco.org/publications/mcilvainea/v20/pleurocybella_toxin.html).

    I found these mushrooms as described by the author (quite delicious with a slightly sweet aroma and sweet mossy taste), however my partner experienced quite significant GI cramps for 12 hours commencing within an hour or so of our consumption. Based upon her reaction, I would highly recommend eating only a small test amount first to see how you react. This is good basic advice when eating any new species you haven’t consumed before.

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