Range: Found across North America, Eurasia, Central America, and Africa, mostly in coniferous forests (but may be found in grasslands, mountainous birch forests, or beech forests depending on the location and specific species). They generally grow in clumps among the moss.
Harvest Season: Late summer through December, depending on the area and species.
Identifying Characteristics: Yellow or golden mushrooms, funnel-shaped, and meaty. Under the cap run gill-like ridges that run down the stem. Chanterelles may smell fruity, woody, or earthy.
Dangerous Lookalikes: The false chanterelle is darker (almost orangeish) and has a darker center that grades out towards light edges. It’s not dangerous, but tastes bad and might upset your stomach. Jack-o-lantern mushrooms can be confused for chanterelles. The gills of a jack-o-lantern mushroom are much thinner, deeper, and delicate than the smooth, blunt, and shallow gill-like ridges of a chanterelle. Jack-o-lantern mushrooms are toxic.
Preparation: Chanterelles often have a mildly peppery taste. They’re quite rich and often cooked with butter, wines, or creams.