In general, mushrooms are low in calories but can contain substantial amounts of B vitamins, selenium, copper and some other trace minerals. Exact nutrition analysis for chanterelles and morels is difficult to find. However, one large chanterelle mushroom has only 2 calories and negligible fat at 0.02 grams. They do have some fibre at 0.13 grams per large mushroom. It may not seem like much but have a side dish of sautéed chanterelles and the grams of fibre will add up.
Chanterelles. Chanterelles, part of the cantharellus family of fungi, are trumpet-shaped wild mushrooms that come in a virtual rainbow of colours: bright yellow; orange; golden; red; and white. There are also black chanterelles, which in France are called trompettes de la mort or "trumpets of death."
Relatively large chanterelles have a slightly spicy flavour. Their cap is wrinkled on the underside rather than gilled as with many other mushroom varieties. They also range from a fruity flavour similar to apricots to an earthy, nutty taste. Their flesh can be soft when fresh but becomes somewhat chewy in texture once they are dried and reconstituted. Chanterelles can be found fresh, dried and canned.
Morels. Belonging to the same fungus species as the truffle, the morel is spongy and honeycombed with a cone-shaped cap. The cap ranges in size from 2 to 4 inches high and in colour from a rich tan to an extremely dark brown.
The morel has a smoky, earthy and nutty flavour. Generally speaking, the darker the morel the stronger the flavour. Whole morels usually appear in specialty produce markets from April through June. You may also find morels dried and canned.
Chanterelles. Choose fresh chanterelles that have a spongy, firm and fleshy caps. Avoid ones with broken or shrivelled caps. The aroma should be fruity or earthy. When buying dried avoid any packages that have discoloured, crumbling or rotting mushrooms.
Morels. Choose fresh specimens that have a firm yet spongy texture. Fresh morels should be relatively clean and almost dry to the touch. They should have an earthy woodsy smell. When buying dried avoid any packages that have discoloured, crumbling or rotting mushrooms.
Note: If storing fresh chanterelles or morels in the refrigerator, do so on one of the refrigerator shelves and not in the crisper. The crisper tends to be more humid and promotes faster spoiling of the mushrooms.
Chanterelles: Fresh chanterelles keep for up to seven days in the refrigerator and up to one year in the freezer. Store in the refrigerator in a loosely closed paper bag or a shallow glass dish covered with a kitchen towel or lightly moistened paper towel. Store dried chanterelles in a sealed container in a cool, dry place.
Morels. Store in the refrigerator in a loosely closed paper bag or a shallow glass dish covered with a kitchen towel or lightly moistened paper towel. Do not store in a sealed plastic bag. This keeps the moisture in and the morels will rot. Store dried morels in a sealed container in a cool, dry place for up to six months. Stored properly in the refrigerator they will keep almost indefinitely.
For both Chanterelles and Morels. Inspect mushrooms for insect damage or decay and get rid of questionable ones. Before using fresh mushrooms brush them with a pastry or soft vegetable brush and pick off any dirt. If the mushrooms are really dirty, rinse them quickly under cool water and drain immediately. Dry them with a cloth or some paper towel. DO NOT rinse before storing. Do so immediately before use only.
You may find a few tiny insect larvae or bugs on the inside of the mushroom. Dunk the mushrooms in salted water for a few minutes before cooking. Gently swish them around to get rid of any unwanted "visitors".
To reconstitute dried mushrooms, follow package directions. If no directions are given, cover them with warm water. Allow them to soak anywhere from 15 minutes to one hour, until they are soft and spongy. Drain using a sieve and dry as with fresh. The flavourful liquid produced by the rehydrating process can be reserved and frozen for future use. It will add an unusual and earthy flavour to soups, casseroles and other dishes.
The stems of chanterelles are edible. The very tips of the stems may need to be trimmed depending on how tough they are. The stems of the morel are generally tough and may need to be trimmed away before using.
Drying: Place thinly sliced cleaned chanterelles or cleaned whole morels on a large screen or a tray lined with paper towels and place them in a sunny ventilated area. The drying process should take from one to two days. It may take longer for the whole morels to dry. Turn the mushrooms over once or twice during the drying process until they are brittle and easily crumble between your fingers.
Both chanterelles and morels are prized for their wonderful flavour. Many people enjoy morels best simply sautéed in butter or light oil. Add salt or soy sauce if needed. Or you can try one of the delicious morel recipes provided here.
Chanterelles are best when cooked. Sauté or fry them for 3 to 5 minutes; or cook them with a small amount of liquid in a covered pan for 15 minutes. Chanterelles are great with meat, shellfish and eggs. They can also be added to soups, sauces and grain dishes.
Did You Know? In Italy, chanterelles are called Girolle and in Germany they are known as Pfifferling.
Healthy Ways to Enjoy Morel and Chanterelle Mushrooms:
- Add cleaned, sliced chanterelles to egg dishes such as omelettes, scrambled eggs or frittatas.
- A wild mushroom sauté is a great dish to have at a brunch.
- Heat up some leftover soup made with morels or chanterelles for a hearty and warming midday meal.
- Toss fresh chanterelles in salads and drizzle with a light balsamic vinaigrette.
- Serve morel sauce with roasted meats for a special treat.
- Sautéed wild mushrooms are a wonderful side dish for roasted meats or poultry. Or they can be served as a vegetarian first course.
- Pair chanterelles with seafood such as scallops for an unusual meal.
- Use chanterelles and morels in vegetable gratins.
- Chanterelles and morels are perfect for hearty risottos.
- Don't forget chanterelles and morels in the winter when you are making stews.
- Earthy Delights - earthy.com
- Morel Mania - morelmania.com
- Morel Mushroom Festival - http://www.morelfest.com
- Michigan Morels - http://www.michiganmorels.com
- Muscoda - Morel Mushroom Capital of Wisconsin - http://grantcounty.org/ci/muscoda/index.html
- The Great Morel Site - http://www.bright.net/~wildwood
- Wild Harvest - http://www.wild-harvest.com
- What's Cooking AmericaÃ¯Â¿Â½ - http://whatscookingamerica.net
- The Curious Morel: Mushroom Hunter's Recipes, Lore & Advice by Larry Lonik, Thunder Bay Press, 1996. (available from Morel Mania website)
- The Practical Mushroom Encyclopedia: Identifying, Picking and Cooking with Mushrooms by Peter Jordan, Southwater Publishing, 2000.