To us, summer means the beginning of chanterelle season … and right now we have highly prized Saskatchewan chanterelles in our warehouse! Read on to learn why these golden beauties are the most exciting part of summer.
Because of the seasonal nature of wild, foraged edibles, there’s always a thrill when our mushroom department receives a new shipment. This week we’re celebrating the arrival of Saskatchewan chanterelles – perhaps the most lovely variety, and beloved by mushroom aficionados. These beautiful and clean specimens – with a deep orange color and intense aroma – grow in mossy patches in the shade of pine trees.
Meet the Chanterelle
Properly called Cantharellus cibarius in Latin, these golden mushrooms grow on forest floors, near conifers, and deciduous trees, and often in fields, beginning in July and ending as late as January. They are prized around the world as one of the most precious of wild edibles.
The chanterelle has firm, meaty flesh which ranges in color from white to pale yellow, with a slightly spicy, intense flavor and fruity aroma that evoke apricots. The underside of the cap has false gills – rounded gill-like ridges that branch irregularly and run down the stem, which is one of the distinguishing characteristics of this mushroom.
As with any foraged mushroom, the size and quality greatly depend on where they grow, and at what point of the season they are found. Young chanterelles are small, tight, and firm button mushrooms, but as they mature, the cap unfurls into a flower-like shape with more fragile flesh. The name is inspired by its shape, as the Latin word cantharus means “drinking vessel” or “cup.”
But the benefit of the Saskatchewan chanterelle is that it never blooms and opens up like that. Instead, the cap stays small, more uniform, and button-like, making them easier to cook with, and less prone to breakage. Our mushroom team checks every box for quality, but please be aware that these are wild mushrooms and there are sure to be variations.
Cooking with Chanterelle Mushrooms
It’s best to brush chanterelles clean and cut away the gills if they have forest floor debris. Moisture is the enemy of mushrooms, so only use water if you must, and dry them well after a quick rinse. Trim the stems, and store dry mushrooms in a paper or fabric bag in the refrigerator.
For such an ethereal looking mushroom, the flavor of the chanterelle is powerful, with apricot nuances and a slightly peppery punch that pairs well with cream and butter. Chanterelles will complement light meats like pork, chicken, rabbit, veal, and quail.
A simple sauté with olive oil and shallots will allow you to experience the full flavor of this extraordinary mushroom. Use chanterelles anywhere you would use a mushroom: on a burger, in risotto, quiche, in a white wine sauce, or simply sautéed with butter and fresh herbs. Many believe this mushroom needs little more than a generous amount of butter and some salt and pepper.
Chanterelles and pasta make a natural pair, as do eggs and chanterelles. Chanterelle mushrooms are sturdy enough to pickle and will add depth to stews, and they can be miraculous with scallops or shellfish. Check our mushroom recipes for more inspiration.
Don’t miss these seasonal mushrooms – order your chanterelles today!
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