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Laetiporus sulphureus – Chicken of the woods

Laetiporus sulphureus – Chicken of the woods

During a hiking tour last weekend I came across this wonderful fungi variety and thought it would be interesting to write about it, as we also haven’t written something about mushrooms yet.

The Laetiporus sulphureus is an edible, bright yellow, the parasitic fungus, which can mostly be found on oak, beech and Robinia trees. The one I found and took the photo of was, for example, growing on a Robinia tree, which despite the infection by this parasitic fungus looked still pretty healthy.

Probably as the wood of the Robinia is very tough and the fungus is therefore unable to suck as many nutrients out as it would out of a beech tree. In general, an infection with this fungus always ends deadly for the tree as the fungus can get up to a weight of around 40kg, which then doesn’t leave enough nutrients for the tree.

Yes, I wrote 40kg. So, if you find one of these fungi variety you don’t have to look for other mushrooms anymore for a while and also have found a really delicious one as well. It tastes, like the title of the article already says like chicken with some notes in the direction of lobster and crab, which can be an interesting source of flavor for chicken meet replacement or as an umami enhancer in powdered form, but despite this, the mushroom can also be delicious without any further processing.

You can fry it in a pan, cook it to make a nice tasting mushroom sauce or you can just put some of the fan-shaped mushrooms on the bbq with some seasoning and eat it as a chicken meat alternative. A delicious and very versatile mushroom, which should be used more in kitchens and maybe industry, but before that, a cultivation method has to be developed to make it more accessible, because till now the mushroom is still rare and only growing in the wild.

Maybe the Chaga mushroom cultivation could serve as a role model for it, where spores get collected and then cultivated to mycelia stage. These mycelia get then implanted into a host tree, which then develops to the full mushroom over some years in the case of Chaga mushrooms.

In the case of the laetiporus mushroom it would approximately take one year till harvest depending on the size you want to grow the mushroom, but this technique is not yet fully developed for latiporus mushrooms and it sounds probably easier than it actually is, but it would be interesting to see this mushroom variety in the supermarkets soon.

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