Winter Chanterelle, Cantherellus tubaeformis
Found in both coniferous and deciduous woodlands between August and December, the Winter Chanterelle, or Yellowlegs Mushroom, is a smaller relative of the Golden Chanterelle, and as such, has a reputation for being an extremely tasty culinary mushroom. As one of it's common names suggests, the Winter Chanterelle has a great ability to withstand the cold, and can even survive the first frosts. This makes it a true winter mushroom that can be found thriving as late as November and even December. It is, however, a true master of disguise! The topside of it's brown, depresssed, and pretty unassuming cap, is the perfect camouflage amongst the fallen autumn leaves and can make it very difficult to spot. Underneath the cap however is a bright yellow stem that is hollow and sometimes brittle, that often develops a deep vertical depression that gives it the appearance of a pair of yellow legs.
This mushroom is generally uncommon in the UK, but when a patch is found, it tends to be quite large, sometimes with several hundred fruiting bodies all in one place. Like the Golden Chanterelle, these mushrooms have forked folds rather than gills, which run partway down the stem. The flesh is yellow-brown with a strong mushroom aroma. They are considered a choice edible, with a strong peppery taste similar to chanterelles, but lacking the sweeter apricot notes. As such, they are great in a range of recipes such as soups and stews, omelettes, or cooked on their own on toast.
Arthur likes the taste of these these mushrooms and knows them by their common name Yellowlegs. He thinks their little legs are cute. Their hollow stems do have a tendency to snap when he harvests them, however, often leading to a basket filled only with caps!
Winter Chanterelle Checklist
🌳 Deciduous Woodland.
🌲 Coniferous Woodland.
🔗 Found most regularly under mossy Beech or on rotting wood.
🌞🍂❄️ Between August and December
📈 Often grows in large troops, covering a very large area.
🍄 Brown, irregular, 3-5 cm wide, with a deep depression in the centre, becoming somewhat hollow and funnel or trumpet-shaped as they mature. A hole can often form in the centre of the cap that goes all the way down the stem.
⚛️ Forked folds, rather than gills, pale, light brown-yellow, and running part-way down the stem.
♊️ Bright Yellow, 5-8 cm tall, hollow, often with a vertical depression giving it the appearance of yellow legs.
🟡🟤 Yellow-brown, thin due to hollowing of the cap and stem.
Aroma / Taste
👃 Smells pleasantly mushroomy.
👅 Tastes similar to the Golden Chanterelle, but lacks the sweetness.
😋 A very tasty, Choice Edible mushroom.
🟩 ID Difficulty - Beginner
👀 Whilst from above, these may at first look like any other "little brown mushroom", the underside is where the key identifiers lie. The bright yellow stem, which takes the form of a pair of yellow legs, and the pale forked folds rather than gills are key identifying features.
🍄 Fungi - Used in mushroom recipes.