Thursday, September 08, 2011

Sulphur Shelf aka Chicken Mushroom

I found my first Sulphur Shelf mushroom last year.  I almost walked right past it, as it was high in a tree, and I was looking down for mushrooms.  We cut down that first mushroom and marveled at how good it tasted and I've been keeping my head up looking for another since then.

On my way out of the woods the other day a flash of orange caught my eye and there it was, right at hip-level.  Thanks Mr. Sulphur Shelf, that made for much easier harvesting.  This guy was nice and young and tender.  He was bright orange on top and bright sulphur yellow on the underside.

I cut off about half, thanked him for his sacrifice, and skipped to the house to cook them up.  This was a smallish harvest so I planned to eat them right away, rather than cook and freeze them like I might do with a larger flush.

And speaking of larger flushes...

My mother in law spotted this huge one on a dead oak while taking a walk and shared pictures with me.  Having the poker face that I do, I squealed and frantically emailed her asking if I could come and harvest.  She agreed and I came home with about 10 pounds of mushrooms.

This specimen was a bit older than my first one and I had to trim a lot of woody and buggy bits.  Those I tossed in the dye pot.  The rest was sauteed in butter and frozen in serving sizes for this winter.  Sulphur Shelf is one of those mushrooms that freezes really well and it truly does taste like chicken.  It doesn't have any poisonous look-alikes but if you harvest, be sure to leave any that are growing on pine or hemlock.  Look for those growing on dead Oaks, to be safe.  (You can read more here).

Yesterday seemed like soup weather so I pulled out the mushrooms I had sauteed from my first find and tossed them in to a tortilla soup recipe.  Oh so good. 

The results from the dye pot were decidedly ho-hum, so much so that I didn't photograph them.  I'm sure this is because I was using older mushroomes.  I think that with a fresher mushroom the yellow would have been brighter.

So if you see a flash of yellow and orange in the woods this fall, check it out.  It could be your next chicken tortilla soup calling.


Unknown said...

Hi, Lisa - I love this mushroom in my cook pot - it is ubiquitous in southeast alaska, growing on our deadfall hemlocks. I will be interested in hearing how it dyes for you. xxoo, sus

mireya said...

your soup and mushroom harvest look absolutly beautiful. what is your recipe for tortilla soup? my mother has been wanting some but i cant find a great recipe.
thank you for sharing your mushrooming experiences, you are a true insperation!

k said...

i am trying to remember to keep my head up and not just look at the ground this fall, as i really want to find some of these guys. no wonder i go for walks alone - no one else can deal with how slow i am, looking up and down and around with each step!

joanie said...

Wonderful find. Oh why can't I just pop over to your house for dinner. I promise to do the washing up!

Margie Oomen said...

i think we should all pop over to your house a have a mushroom extravaganza

Scrapiana said...

That is some mushroom harvest! Had no idea they'd freeze. Thanks for the education, Lisa.

tamdoll said...

I will definitely be keeping my head up a little as I look around, these look fantastic. Thanks for the link so I can read up about it, too.

Jodi said...

Maybe a dumb question, but how do you know which ones are poisonous, and how do you determine which ones to cook and which ones to use for dye? (hopefully you don't mind me picking your brain :-)

Lisa at lil fish studios said...

Sus - are they okay to eat on hemlocks? I thought they weren't... The dye I got was a pale tan on wool and a pale yellow on silk. Not terribly exciting but not terrible either. It goes that way sometimes.

mireya - I tend to toss whatever I have on hand in the soup pot but if I were following a recipe I really like Pioneer Woman's version: I add corn to mine and probably more tomatoes, but basically they're similar. :D

k - that's exactly how I am, the slow one in the group. Charlie is pretty tolerant of it but the human-folk tend to leave me behind.

Nini and Magie - I wish you would!

Eirlys - I freeze this one and the lobster mushrooms but dry other mushrooms like black trumpets. It makes me happy to know that I'll have tasty treats in the long dull winter.

tamdoll - these are really versatile to cook with and they're a real eye-catcher in the woods. Good luck, I hope you find some.

Jodi - I don't mind at all! In regards to eating, I only eat what I can absolutely, positively identify as edible. When in doubt, throw it out. I have several guide books and use a few sites online like Tom Volk's mushroom page, and am also a member of the Minnesota Mycological Society which is filled with members who are willing to help identify anything we have questions on. Once you learn some basic terminology about identifying gills, structure, etc. it becomes easier. For someone just starting out it helps to look for mushrooms that have no poisonous look-alikes. As far as dyeing goes, if a mushroom leaves color on my hands, that's enough for me to want to try it as a dye. Also, if you haven't you should check out shroomworks blog, she's gotten amazing results from mushrooms. I hope that helps a bit...


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