Friday, October 22, 2010

What's For Dinner?

A few years ago, one of the large old oak trees in our yard was split by a storm. It had a split trunk already and we'd fastened the two together years before, with a heavy metal cable. But the storm was too much and half of the tree came down. That provided some wood for Romie's brother to burn in his woodburning stove his family has for heating their home and we use it now and then for wiener roasts and those cool autumn nights when we just like to sit around the fire after dark.

Not long after we lost half the tree, we noticed a bright yellow fungus growing on the remaining trunk. It started out small, then got much larger. After some investigating, we learned it was an edible fungus commonly known as "Chicken of the Woods."

Edible? Really?

Apparently so, but we've not gotten up enough nerve to try it out yet. We had a healthy amount of it growing on the tree this fall and I was tempted. I hear it tastes know...chicken. Laetiporus species grow on several species of trees, most commonly on oaks, which is where ours is. Many times it reappears in the same location year after year, depending on the weather. In its wake, it produces brown rot and eventually the tree will succumb to its effects.

The fungus is really only edible in its youth. Unless harvested shortly after its appearance, it becomes brittle and loses its good taste. It can be prepared like any other fungus or like chicken and is used as a meat substitute by vegetarians.

Laetiporus. It's what's for dinner!


Gardens of Plenty said...

Oh wow! The color is quite interesting. Hmmm.... a little stir-fried Laetiporus? Or how about crock-pot Laetiporus with dumplings? And there’s the perennial favorite Laetiporus corn chowder. Well, it’s good to know that if all else fails, we can eat fungus, right?

Great post! Made me smile. :)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I haven't eaten this either. It is always such a surpise seeing this bright yellow in the woods.

Debra said...

Wow a new ingredient~Thanks for the great post~ I imagaine native Americans trappers and pioneers must have knowof a great many natural suprises that were edible. (and ornamental)

Annelie said...

Yeah, think I would hesitate too before having this chicken for dinner.

Thanks for sharing this interesting thing.


gayle said...

My Dad saw this in his yard and thought someone sacrificed an animal in his yard and called the Cleveland police for a hate crime.

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

I am with you, not trying it. It is amazing all the different kinds of fungus there are ...some edible, some not.

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