Wild Gourmet Yellow Foot Winter Chanterelle Mushrrom (Cantharellus tubaeformis)
Here’s a little jewel I just discovered this year, the Yellow Foot, or Winter Chanterelle mushroom. It’s a tiny little guy, but boy is it a tasty one! Fairly easy to identify, the Yellow Foot looks like a small, kind of stringy, deformed chanterelle. But there are several similar sized, shaped, and colored mushrooms, some of which are not good for you, so use caution when foraging for it. The best practice is to go with somebody that knows what they’re doing.
How to Identify Yellow Foot Winter Chanterelle Mushrooms
- Grow on the ground, in moss, or on rotting wood in wet coniferous forests, typically fir.
- Can also grow in bogs
- Growing season if from Fall to Winter, depending upon region and temperature
- Are small, typically only a few inches tall maximum
- Caps are small, ranging from the size of a dime to silver dollar (sometimes will get up to 2″ wide)
- Cap color is burnt orange, light tan, or brown
- Cap underside has wrinkled ridges/veins rather than gills
- Stalk is narrow, typically around 1/4″ wide, and is hollow
- Stalk can be the same color as the cap, but is usually a strong orange-yellow color
Edibility of Yellow Foot Winter Chanterelle Mushrooms
Several of my mushroom field guides rate the Yellow Foot as edible but mediocre. How wrong they are! These little buggers are delicious, especially in Winter Chanterelles with Linguine and Cream Sauce! Their mainstay gourmet cousin, the chanterelle, are prized as being a choice mushroom, but why did chef’s start ignoring the yellow foot? Their flavor is exceptional; more earthy and woodsy than regular chanterelles; their color is just as rewarding as regular chanterelles; and their small size allows them to be prepared whole, adding a striking visual presentation to any dish.
They are occasionally sold in specialty markets when in season, such as Whole Foods Market, but I’ve never seen them sold dried anywhere. Too bad too, because they dry exceptionally well and is the best way to preserve them. However, I can’t imagine ever not devouring all of my fresh supply and having any left to dry.
Learn this mushroom, and start a new wild culinary adventure of tasty and great presentation adventures.
The Bald Gourmet highly recommends Yellow Foot Winter Chanterelle Mushrooms for foraging, cooking, and eating.
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