The Chicken of the Woods: Laetiporus sulphureus and Laetiporus cincinnatus

NEVER EAT ANYTHING YOU ARE UNSURE OF! I TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANYTHING THAT HAPPENS TO YOU BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T CORRECTLY IDENTIFY SOMETHING! Lawyers made me say it.

The Chicken of the Woods: Laetiporus sulphureus and Laetiporus cincinnatus; some of the oddest (well at least to me, anyway) edible mushrooms is the summer/fall mushroom called “Chicken of the Woods.” Why is it called Chicken of the Woods? Because it truly, honestly tastes – and acts- like chicken. It tastes like chicken, but you can also shred it like chicken (before it’s cooked even!) and use it in recipes for a low calorie option. It tastes and acts so much like chicken that you can actually trick people who “don’t like mushrooms” into eating them.

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L. sulphureus on the left with a couple of giant puffballs on the right.

There isn’t really anything that looks like it to my knowledge. Well, at least not that *I* know of.

This mushroom can be HUGE!! I’ve seen some plaques that are 4 feet long and 3 feet wide! Of the two species (one has a yellow underside, the other has either a white underside or a pale underside) there ARE differences other than color, but they aren’t all that large of a difference.

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Laetiporus cincinnatus next to a 32 oz Nalgene bottle.

The yellow variety (Laetiporus sulphureus ) gets very woody at the base and thus inedible. It is almost always growing directly out of wood and you harvest by cutting the soft outer edges. The white variety (Laetiporus cincinnatus) can appear to be growing out of the ground and stays tender all the way through. All portions are edible.

We have made BBQ “Chicken” but cutting, sautéing, shredding and smothering in BBQ sauce, “Chicken nuggets” by battering and deep frying, “Chicken” sandwiches by sautéing them as patties, breading them and frying them, treating them like no (no calorie) chicken breasts, and once “chicken” noodle soup! It’s just a super versatile mushroom!

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Three chickens in the woods.

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Laetiporus cincinnatus next to some Hericium erinaceus or bearded Tooth/Lion’s Mane

Get out into the woods and hunt for some today!

 

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