What do you suppose this is?
A growth on an alien?
Well, it is a growth. Just not on an alien.
It's pretty big, too.
It's a "Chicken in the Woods"
Not to be confused with a Chicken in the Nestbox.
They're certainly the same color though.
They also taste the same once they're fried.
We won't tell her that.
|photo credit: http://cathedralridgewinery.com|
I haven't eaten a wild mushroom since my childhood.
Every spring, when the May Flowers would pop up and the last frost had passed, my dad (sometimes mom, too) and I would start the hunt for Morels.
A treasure hunt for sure.
The picture above must be staged, as I never saw them growing in batches above the greenery.
I spent every single hunt, bent over, moving brush and plant life to find them.
It wasn't a good hunt unless I came home with a couple ticks on me.
Every serious mushroom hunter has their favorite "spots". Places they don't tell anyone about.
They also have different theories about where morels grow.
My dad's theory was that they grew under/around downed oak trees. Also, near a flower that I have always called a May Flower. There's no such flower. Anyway, it was a white flower that would pop up very early in the springtime, just as the undergrowth would begin to grow.
Morels don't grow in the Austin area.
They do, however, grow in the dried mushroom section of the grocery store.
$255.00 per pound!
Why are they so expensive??
It appears we can put a man on the moon, but haven't perfected cultivating the morel.
One website says, "It can take years to master".
Anyway, back to the orange monster in the first picture.
It's called Chicken in the Woods for a reason.
You can eat it!
I did a couple hours of research on this mushroom.
Getting violently ill or dying was not something I wanted to deal with on Saturday morning.
Luckily, this mushroom doesn't have any other mushroom that looks like it.
That's where mushroom hunters/eaters get tripped up.
The morel has a look-alike. One you most certainly don't want to eat.
I broke off a little piece of the CiW mushroom, prepared it like my folks had prepared morels and found it to be very similar in taste to the morel.
Also, very similar in taste to fried chicken.
I won't have to hunt very long for this mushroom in the future.
It was growing under a tree, not 15 feet from my chicken coop.
Maybe there's more to the name Chicken in the Woods than I know.