Mushrooms have found their way into our plates for many years now.
There are many edible mushrooms all across the world.
Most of these fungal foods can be grown domestically, or you can find them growing in the wild.
From morels to portobello, these are well-loved mushrooms worldwide.
Some varieties of mushrooms are even considered a delicacy in some regions.
Another well-loved mushroom would be the chicken of the woods.
The chicken of the woods is so versatile that many foragers go on the hunt specifically for it.
What is exciting or unique about this mushroom? Could it be for its taste? If so, what does chicken of the woods taste like? Let’s find out.
What Is Chicken of The Wood?
First things first, what exactly are chicken of the woods? These are edible mushrooms found growing on the bark of trees.
Its scientific name is Laetiporus sulphureus, and it also goes by many names.
Chicken of the woods is most commonly known as a mushroom chicken, and they are also known as a Sulphur shelf, chicken fungus, or mushroom chicken.
Not to be confused with another mushroom known as Hen of the Woods.
These are mushrooms found growing on dead or dying trees.
The fruiting bodies are the edible parts of these fungi, and they are fleshy, and the cap is grooved with rounded edges.
They are bright in color and found in bright yellow to orange ranges.
Their spores are white to cream in color, and they also do not have gills which is a distinct feature.
They aren’t hard to miss, and you can spot them usually growing on oak trees, cherry and beech.
However, they are seasonal and available from late summer to early fall.
While this mushroom isn’t hard to identify, carry a proper identification manual while foraging.
What Does Chicken of The Wood Taste?
Chicken of the woods, when cooked, tastes as it’s named, like chicken.
They are juicy and have a meaty texture, and it tastes just like many poultry types of meat and is a great chicken alternative for vegans and vegetarians.
It tastes salty, sour, and sweet.
Chicken of the woods can be used to make stunning savory and gourmet dishes.
They work well with any cooking style and recipe and can be cooked in multiple ways.
Chicken of the woods is also known for its sour taste, and they have a lemony flavor.
However, this flavor is relatively mild and not very acidic like the citrus fruits.
These mushrooms are also salty, and their flavor profile resembles seafood like lobsters and crab.
Chicken of the woods is also soft, tender, and sinewy in texture, and it feels almost as if chewing on crab legs or tenderized chicken.
Chicken of the woods has excellent nutritional value too.
They are a good source of protein, Vitamin A and C, and potassium.
These mushrooms also have medicinal benefits.
They are rich in antioxidants and anti-carcinogenic compounds, and they are also known to have anti-inflammatory properties and aid in diabetes management.
How to Cook Chicken of The Woods?
You can forage for these mushrooms from the forest.
Make sure that your mushrooms are adequately washed, and they must be cooked properly.
You can shred the mushrooms into pieces to cook evenly.
However, this is entirely up to you.
A classic mushroom soup works well too, and you can settle down to a warm bowl of soup after a hard day of foraging.
There are many ways to cook mushrooms, and you can sauté or grill them or even use them as key ingredients in dishes like risottos.
These mushrooms can also be fried or baked and consumed for snacking.
They taste just like chicken and can be substituted for chicken meat.
Recipes that call for chicken breasts work well with chicken of the wood, and they also work great as a substitute for tofu.
They tend to be a little salty in taste, so make necessary changes to the recipe or season in moderation.
Chicken mushrooms also have a lemony flavor, so pairing them with herbs like cilantro can bring out the taste.
However, take caution when having chicken of the wood as some people reported suffering from gastritis.
While these mushrooms make for a hearty meal, they are also healthy.
They are low carb and keto-approved, and you can have these even if you are on a diet.
Usually, you would cook mushrooms as a side dish, but you can make them the star of the show with the right recipe.
You can substitute any mushroom recipe while making chicken of the woods.
You can find chicken mushrooms in your local farmers’ market or forage from the woods directly, but be advised that you don’t mistake them for other poisonous mushrooms.