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Chanterelle Mushroom: Key Facts

Chanterelle mushrooms are some of the most popular edible mushrooms in the world. If you enjoy foraging for wild mushrooms, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with this tasty variety. Let’s take a look at some chanterelle mushroom key facts and information.

Chanterelle Quick Facts

Common NameChanterelle
GeneraCantharellus, Craterellus
DistributionEurope, Africa, Asia, North America
HabitatConifer and deciduous hardwood forests
ColorsYellow, orange, red, white, blue, black
TasteMildly peppery and fruity
SmellSimilar to ripe apricots
ShapeFlat to funnel-shaped, irregular wavy cap; stem widens toward the cap 
Look-AlikesJack-o-lantern mushrooms, false chanterelle mushrooms
NutrientsRich in iron, copper, vitamin D, and some of the B vitamins

What are Chanterelle Mushrooms?

Chanterelles are edible mushrooms that are found growing on forest floors, typically near conifers and deciduous hardwood trees. They are sometimes found growing near wild blueberries as well.

Chanterelles form a symbiotic relationship with tree roots, so they are usually found firmly attached to the ground under trees. They are in season at different times depending on the region, but they grow best in warm, humid, shady conditions

What Do Chanterelle Mushrooms Look Like?

Chanterelles are usually bright yellow or orange, but some types may also be white, red, light yellow, and even blue or black. They tend to grow singly or in small clusters.

Chanterelles have relatively flat, wavy caps and hard, flat gills on their undersides. The stems tend to widen toward the caps, giving these mushrooms a fountain-like appearance. 

How to Identify Chanterelle Mushrooms

Chanterelles have several look-alikes in the wild, most notably the jack-o-lantern and false chanterelle mushrooms. When foraging for mushrooms, it’s important to correctly identify true chanterelles so you don’t get them mixed up with the poisonous jack-o-lanterns or bitter false chanterelles.

Chanterelles Vs Jack-O-Lanterns

Chanterelles are typically more flat and wavy than jack-o-lanterns, which tend to have smooth, round caps. Jack-o-lanterns are often found at the base of trees, growing near or on the trunk.

Chanterelles are usually smaller and yellower than jack-o-lanterns.

The biggest difference is that jack-o-lanterns tend to grow in large clusters and have shared stems, while chanterelles have their own stems and usually grow alone or in small groups.

The following video will give you a good visual on the differences between chanterelles and jack-o-lanterns.

Chanterelles Vs False Chanterelles

Chanterelles and false chanterelles are similar in appearance, but closer inspection will reveal some key differences. 

False chanterelles tend to grow on loose forest debris, so they won’t be firmly attached to the ground as chanterelles would be. True chanterelles also tend to have brighter, more vibrant colors.

False chanterelles typically have soft, fleshy gills that break off if you rub your finger across them. True chanterelles have flatter, harder gills that won’t break off as easily.

Check out the video below for a great side-by-side comparison.

Types of Chanterelle Mushrooms

Chanterelle mushrooms are generally divided into different types by their color. The golden chanterelle is one of the most well-known and popular types, but other varieties may be more common in certain regions.

For example, white chanterelles are often found along the west coast of the United States, while in the southeast, red and black types are more common.

Most chanterelle types fall under the Cantharellus or Craterellus genera. 

Conclusion

Chanterelles are found widely distributed across several continents. They come in a variety of colors but all share the distinctive, fruity-peppery flavor mushroom enthusiasts love in their food. Here are our guides on how to clean them and store them.

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