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Dried Chicken of the Woods
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Dried Chicken of the Woods mushrooms have the characteristics of a crumbling hard cheese. Once reconstituted they plump to a moist wrinkled semi-circular fan with a sulphur-straw color and faint fungus aroma. The texture is like white meat, a reference to its name and flavor is slight, but that will change with the addition of accompanying savories and ingredients.
Dried Chicken of the Woods mushrooms are typically available year-round.
Chicken of the Woods is scientifically classified as Laetiporus sulphureus. Chicken of the Woods mushrooms are also known as chicken fungus and sulphur shelf as it resembles the flavor and texture of chicken and grows on shelf-like brackets on wounds of trees, commonly oak, cherry and willow.
Dried Chicken of the Woods may be reconstituted and used in place of fresh Chicken of the Woods mushrooms. Long, slow cooking is recommended due to the tough texture of this variety. May be pickled, sauteed, or dried and ground into a powder. Use in soups and stews, pair with walnuts, apples, potatoes, pasta tomatoes and onions.
Chicken of the Woods mushroom growing region is actually limited to eastern North American forests. It is known as a heart rot fungus and thus can be found growing well above the tree stump, often very high up. This fungus actually dominates its tree host to the point where it will eventually cause the tree to brittle and die.