Chicken of the Woods (laetiporus sulfurous or Sulphur Shelf) comes up in the late summer and fall. It's a wild mushroom that tastes like chicken. It's also easy to find, as they grow in large groups on dead trees. Because it tastes similar to chicken, it's a popular wild edible. The best part? This mushroom is versatile and easy to prepare—you don't need special equipment or cooking skills!
If you need help cleaning Chicken of the Woods, I've got you! Check out this quick guide on cleaning, prepping, and (of course) eating this tasty free food.
What are Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms?
Chicken of the Woods is a mushroom growing in the forest. It can grow on stumps, logs, dead trees, and living ones. If you're lucky enough to find it, check out our cooking chicken of the woods guide!
How to Clean Chicken of the Woods
The first step in cleaning chickens of the woods is washing them under running water with a brush. The second step is drying off any excess moisture with a clean towel. Afterward, you can use your knife to remove the stems and then use your spoon to scrape off any remaining gills or other tricky bits inside the mushrooms.
Tools You'll need
- Knife: Any sharp knife will do, but a good chef's knife (like this one) will last you for years.
- Cutting board: A wooden or plastic cutting board is ideal, as the fungus can stain surfaces such as marble and granite.
- Bowl: You'll need a medium-sized bowl with a flat bottom surface for cleaning the chicken of the woods before cooking it and storing your finished product after cooking. It's also helpful if this bowl has an interior drain hole so that excess water can flow easily when rinsing off excess dirt and grime from your chicken of the woods' surface!
- Paper towels: Use these to dab away any remaining dirt from within crevices between mushrooms after cleaning them individually on a paper towel; alternatively, they may also be used to blot away excess moisture after washing all pieces together in warm water until they're clean enough not only at their exterior but also inside out too!
How to prepare Chicken of the Woods
Cleaning chicken of the woods is easy, and you don't need to be a professional.
First, slice off the stalk and any parts that have started to turn brown. Then, use a paper towel to wipe off any dirt or soil from the mushrooms. Finally, wash the mushroom in cold water, drain it, and pat dry with paper towels.
Spin the mushrooms for about 10 seconds if you have a salad spinner. If you don't have a salad spinner, pat dry the mushrooms with paper towels instead.
How to cook Chicken of the Woods
Chicken of the Woods mushrooms tastes best when cooked, although you can eat them raw in a salad or toast. They're great on pizza, or add them to pasta with butter and garlic for an extra-special dinner. You can also fry or sautee chicken of the woods and serve it as a side dish with your favorite meat.
You're all set! Enjoy your fungi.
Take care to clean the mushroom thoroughly. The chicken-of-the-woods mushroom is a delicate and beautiful fungus but somewhat waxy in texture.
This means dirt and debris can get caught deep inside its flaky white exterior. To ensure you get all this gunk out, scrub each piece with a soft brush or cloth under running water before cooking it or eating it raw.