The Survival Series Part Three: Chicken of the Woods

With a fascination for the apocalypse and survival, it’s natural that I’d have a love for wild food too.

Each week I’ll feature a natural food resource that can be found lurking where you least expect it.

See it as a guide for when things start to go down; if anything you’ll be prepared!

This week we’re moving onto mushrooms. But be warned, you should always have at least three wild food books with you to reference what you’re eating (particularly with mushrooms as many of them are deadly).

Chicken of the Woods

Laetiporus sulphurous or Chicken of the woods with its orange or sulphur-yellow colouring, is hard to miss.

This impressive fungus is often seen, you guessed it, in the woods on trees such as beech, oak, chestnut, yew (less so on hardwoods).

Don’t harvest this mushroom if it’s on a yew as this tree contains dangerous toxins that could be taken up by the fungus.

Laetiporus_sulphureus_(Chicken_of_the_woods)_on_an_oak_tree_-_20070921
(Image via WikimediaCommons/Gargoyle888)

The young brackets of this mushroom are soft and spongy but as they age they’re thinner and paler. You can usually find them from May to October and they’re best picked when young and moist.

One popular way of cooking these delicious, golden, bites of chickeny goodness, is to cut them into chunky slices and sauté them with a little oil, garlic, salt and pepper.

For those who are looking to buy chicken of the woods from a reliable source, check out Ballyhoura Mushrooms who are Irish growers of specialist and foraged mushrooms.

Remember, never eat a wild food that you can’t 100% identify, it’s not worth your life.

Movie to watch: Night of the Living Dead

(Main image via WikimediaCommons/Doug Bowman)

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