Chicken Of The Woods Mushrooms are found all over the Pacific Northwest. They can be harvested from August through October or later but are sometimes found as early as June. This mushroom will surprise you with its size. It is noticeable from a long distance because of this size and its very bright colors.
It grows on many types of dead or mature trees with hardwoods such as Garry Oak, Red Alder, and Conifers. They grow very fast. Usually, when you find it there will be a lot.
Younger mushrooms can have a large amount of clear juice pour out of the fruit body and the wood immediately after cutting. It can run almost like a faucet. That’s always a good sign it will be a choice edible. Chicken of the woods can be one of the most variable mushrooms in terms of edibility. Some samples are great. Some aren’t. Don’t give up if your first gathering of them is underwhelming. Often with larger specimens, you may only want to use the more tender outer edges of the cap.
Chicken Of The Woods Mushrooms can be sautéed, deep-fried, baked or used in soups. They can have a lemony, chicken-like taste and texture and go well with chicken or chicken stock recipes. How you cook this one can be dependent on the individual mushroom and its age. A good young specimen can be used in many ways and it can be kept refrigerated longer.
A few people have a sensitivity to Chicken Of The Woods Mushrooms so if it is your first time eating them, try just a small amount. Any found growing on conifers should not be eaten.