Tastes Like Chicken

Chicken of the Woods (10/23/21) Gabriel Leete

Joe Staton of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University once studied what plants and animals would taste like chicken (They must have a lot of time on their hands at Harvard).

He concluded that alligator, frog, quail, rabbit, rattlesnake, swordfish, kangaroo, Iguana, snapping turtle, goose, pigeon, swordfish, giant salamander and the 2-toed Amphiuma all taste like chicken. We’re unsure if he ate one of each to make that declaration, though we’re confident he never took a bite out of the last of his choices … Tyranosaurus Rex.

It’s pretty hard to prove your hypothesis when you have to eat an extinct dinosaur. It would be much easier to join Shasta Cascade color spotter Gabriel Leete and search of Laetiporus sulphureus. We are confident that they are much slower and easier to find.

Laetiporus are mushrooms, commonly known as chicken of the woods. With this past week’s storm, Gabriel says they’re sprouting prolifically across Northern California.

Another similar edible polypore, the Grifola frondosa or Hen of the Woods is also known for its distinct chicken flavor and texture.

Gabriel says that although the rain has encouraged the growth of all kinds of mushrooms, edible varieties are often scared by being harvested.

Also called sulphur shelfs, the mushrooms have a moist, rubbery sulphur-yellow to orange body with protruding lips at maturity.

As with any mushroom, caution is advised before consuming it. Make sure a mushroom expert has identified it as edible. Common advice is that if the mushroom cannot be identified positively, it should not be eaten, even when you think it just might taste like chicken.

  • Laetiporus sulphureus hunting, Shasta Cascade – Peak (75 – 100%), GO NOW!