Blue Chanterelle Mushroom, BC Coastal Region
These very rare mushrooms and are a wondrous sight for the eyes. If you study the photo, they look like a mix between the more common yellow chanterelle and an oyster mushroom, but painted black. Not very pretty to look at but when you see them in the wild they kind of take your breath away.
They are tough and little bit woody to the feel and even when cooked retain some of these characteristics. These mushrooms have a very distinctive flavor and can be quite earthy, but you know, they are nice when mixed in with other mushrooms and stir fried, adding that wild, dark blue color to the mix. This one was seen at Little Bear Bay.
The Blue Chanterelle Mushrooms fruiting body has a funnel shaped cap with a velvety texture that often grow stacked upon one another. The underside of the caps do not have visible gills, only wrinkles. They are dark bluish purple to black in color. Blue chanterelles have a sweet earthy aroma with a mild, nutty flavor when cooked.
Although it is quite often refereed to as the Blue Chanterelle Mushroom, this wild mushroom is not a chanterelle at all. Mycologists have placed it in to the genus Polyozellus, a member of the Thelephoraceae family. It is a mushroom of the lowland forests, it grows best in the wet spruce and fir forests of the BC coastal region. I have seen these in large groups a few times, but have mostly seen them as single mushrooms.
A study published in 2014 showed that blue chanterelle has medical uses. The compounds found in the mushroom can be used as a treatment for stomach cancer and they also found in this study that these mushrooms could benefit people with diabetes because they inhibit glucosidase and this slows down the processing of carbohydrates in the sufferers of diabetes. More studies need to be done to unlock the secrets of these beautiful mushrooms.