Chanterelle mushrooms are attractive fungi with trumpet-like cups and wavy, wrinkled ridges. The mushrooms vary in color from orange to yellow to white, depending on where they grow.
Chanterelle mushrooms are part of the Cantharellus family, with Cantharellus cibarius, the golden or yellow chanterelle, as the most widespread variety in Europe. The Pacific northwest in the United States has its own variety, Cantharellus formosus, the Pacific golden chanterelle. The eastern United States is home to Cantharellus cinnabarinus, a beautiful red-orange variety known as cinnabar chanterelle.
Unlike farmed mushrooms or field fungi, chanterelles are mycorrhizal and need a host tree or shrub to grow. They grow in the soil next to trees and shrubs, not on the plants themselves.
Popular in many parts of the world, chanterelle mushrooms are well-loved for their slightly fruity flavor. The mushrooms also offer several notable health benefits.
Chanterelle mushrooms are best known for being rich in vitamin D. Many commercially grown mushrooms don't contain much vitamin D because they're grown in dark, indoor environments.
Wild-harvested mushrooms like chanterelle, morel, and maitake naturally contain high amounts of vitamin D thanks to their natural habitats. In fact, half a cup of chanterelles can have anywhere from 5 to 20 micrograms of vitamin D. This works out to about 30 to 100 percent of your daily recommended intake.
Better Bone Health
Vitamin D helps to support your bone health and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent for your body. It works to stimulate proteins in your small intestine, helping to absorb calcium and strengthen your bones.
People need more vitamin D as they age to avoid developing bone conditions such as osteomalacia and osteoporosis. Adults up to age 50 should get about 15 micrograms of vitamin D each day, while adults older than 50 should get about 20 micrograms.
Chanterelle mushrooms are an excellent source of polysaccharides like chitin and chitosan. These two compounds help to protect your cells from damage and stimulate your immune system to produce more cells. They're also known to help reduce inflammation and lower the risk of developing certain cancers.
Chanterelles have health-boosting polysaccharides, fatty acids, phenolic acid compounds, beta-glucans that acts as gut prebiotics, and about fifteen different amino acids.
Chanterelle mushrooms are also a rich source of several vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin C
- Thiamine (vitamin B1)
- Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
- Vitamin B6
Nutrients per Serving
One piece of dried chanterelle mushroom contains:
- Calories: 8
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: Less than 1 gram
- Carbohydrates: 1 gram
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Sugar: Less than 1 gram
- Cholesterol: Less than 1 milligram
- Sodium: Less than 1 milligram
Things to Watch Out For
Chanterelle foraging is common, but you need to take care not to pick toxic mushrooms. The jack-o'-lantern mushroom is similar at first glance, but it grows on fallen logs and has true gills. Eating one of those mushrooms can lead to intense cramps and major digestive troubles. Never forage your own mushrooms unless you are 100 percent sure of the species.
How to Prepare Chanterelle Mushrooms
Chanterelles are not as common in supermarkets as mushrooms like baby bella or white button, but they are more nutritious. If you can't find them in your local store, look in farmers markets and specialty grocers for fresh mushrooms, or online for dried mushrooms.
Don’t wash mushrooms until you’re about to use them. Mushrooms readily turn slimy and can spoil easily when exposed to water.
Try some of the following recipes for a healthy and delicious meal:
- Create a white sauce pasta dish with chanterelles and tagliatelle.
- Make a roasted potato and chanterelle side dish.
- Try a chanterelle mushroom quiche tart.
- Enjoy a creamy chanterelle mushroom soup.
- Make risotto and add chopped chanterelle mushrooms.