Chicken of the Woods

Over the weekend a snazzy convertible with a couple in it stopped in front of our west yard border and seemed to be pointing and staring at something.

The yard on the west side of The Glade is basically a shade garden.
The yard on the west side of The Glade is basically a shade garden.

We have typical plants in the shady border — hosta, astilbe, peonies, among others.

I beautiful orange "cabbage".
I beautiful orange “cabbage”.

Charlie labeled them “Sunday cruisers” and I left it at that until I looked at what they had seen in our yard.

La la la
Laetiporus Cincinnatus

The most fabulous fungus is growing near the street. It’s bright orange (my photos don’t do it justice) and about a foot in diameter.

This is very spongy so if you want to eat it just brush it off but don't wash with water because it will soak it up.
This is very spongy so if you want to eat it just brush it off but don’t wash with water because it will soak it up.

After googling “orange fungus” I determined this mushroom is called “chicken of the woods,” probably laetiporus cincinnatus.  It’s totally edible: the taste and texture is that of chicken.  Some people even liken it to crab or lobster and can be used as a meat substitute in almost any dish.

Sounds like a stir fry would be tasty.
Sounds like a stir fry would be tasty.

My research warned to always cook it and start with just a few bites as it sometimes causes gastric distress in certain people.  Also always avoid chicken of the woods growing on conifers, eucalyptus, or cedar trees, as these are reported to contain toxins that can make people sick. (Ours is growing at the foot of an oak tree stump.)

Laetiporus-cincinnatusLaetiporus cincinnatus (right) – Also found in Eastern North America, although this species is often more reddish.

 

 

Chicken of the Woods identification is easy, thus they’re considered one of the “safe” mushrooms for beginners but I’m not planning to eat this one.

The orange fungus is growing at the base of this oak tree stump which is now covered with vines.
The orange fungus is growing at the base of this oak tree stump which is now covered with vines.

If you want all the details check out Mushroom-Appreciation.com.

Do you forage?

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Author: Jo

Welcome to The Glade, where the second generation of renovations has just begun and the mania about our home, music and other passions fill our days and nights. We’re Charlie and Jo in the music world; Mary Jo and Charles to family; and JoJo and Charlie to each other. We are renovating a midcentury house in a Victorian historic district where we want to live there the rest of our lives. It's a 1946 house located in Maryland. We were married in this house. Thus far (pre-blog) we refinished cabinets, added a window seat (still working on the cushion), rearranged a wall in the guest house due to sink/vanity replacement, planted a vegetable garden, and other quick and not-so-quick fixes. So this latest zeal for construction is the result of my having lived here since 1997 and feeling a need to ready the house for the next chapter and beyond.

6 thoughts on “Chicken of the Woods”

  1. I have never been foraging but, hubby went for the first time a few years ago with a friend. They brought home a “Hen of the woods” which is obviously similar. We breaded and pan fried it. Pure heaven. I think they grow in the fall (?) around here so maybe this year I’ll go! How nice to have it grow right there in your yard 🙂

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