Witch's sulfur (Laetiporus sulphureus)Systematics:
- Department: Basidiomycota (Basidiomycetes)
- Subdivision: Agaricomycotina (Agaricomycetes)
- Class: Agaricomycetes (Agaricomycetes)
- Subclass: Incertae sedis (undefined)
- Order: Polyporales
- Family: Fomitopsidaceae (Fomitopsis)
- Genus: Laetiporus (Letiporus)
- Species: Laetiporus sulphureus (Witch's sulfur)
- Other names for the mushroom:
- Tinder fungus sulfur-yellow
- Chicken mushroom
- Mushroom chicken
- Witch's sulfur
Fruit body of sulfur-yellow tinder fungus:
At the first stage of development, the sulfur-yellow tinder fungus is a drop-shaped (or even "bubble-like") yellowish mass - the so-called "flowing form". It looks as if dough escaped from somewhere inside the tree through cracks in the bark. Then the mushroom gradually hardens and acquires a more characteristic tinder fungus form - a cantilever, formed by several accrete pseudo-caps. The older the mushroom, the more separate the “caps” are. The color of the fungus changes from pale yellow to orange and even pinkish orange as it develops. The fruit body can reach very large sizes - each "cap" grows up to 30 cm in diameter. The pulp is firm, thick, juicy, yellowish in youth, later dry, woody, almost white.
The hymenophore located on the underside of the “cap” is fine-pored, sulfur-yellow.
Spore powder of sulfur-yellow tinder fungus:
The sulfur-yellow polypore grows from mid-May to autumn on the remains of trees or on living weakened deciduous trees. The first layer (May-June) is the most abundant.
The fungus growing on conifers is sometimes considered as a separate species (Laetiporus conifericola). This variety should not be eaten as it can cause mild poisoning, especially in children.
The giant meripilus (Meripilus giganteus), considered a low-quality edible mushroom, is not bright yellow, but brownish in color and white flesh.
At a young age, Laetiporus sulphureus is edible, although the taste, it should be noted, is "for everybody". According to my observations, it is the sulfur-yellow tinder fungus that holds the record for the number of recipes with its participation. What follows from this is another question.
Video about the Witch's sulfur mushroom
The dry summer of 2002 was very conducive to all kinds of culinary experiments. Finally, I had a chance to try the sulfur-yellow tinder fungus. To tell the truth, the mushroom did not make a particularly strong impression. It tastes like a fragrant cork.
However, now it is already obvious that I have tried too old, unusable mushroom. It is easy to say - "edible at a young age." How to draw the border in practice? How to establish a criterion for edibility? Here is what Oleg Kessler wrote to me about this About the sulfur-yellow tinder fungus:
“Young mushrooms have a brighter and more intense color, closer to orange. Aging mushrooms seem to "burn out", "fade", "turn gray". The young mushroom is moist, soft to the touch, and the old one is dry. And taste. The old one is corky and sour (important!). The young one is soft, gentle, without a hint of cork and acid. If all the conditions are the same, you can safely take it. "
So I did. I took it and tried it. And you know? It turned out very well. The sulfur-yellow tinder fungus, cut into neat cubes and fried in oil, turned out to be a real delicacy. Even if not very similar to the mushrooms we know. So we must admit - doubts turned out to be false, the truth prevailed. However, the truth always triumphs.
An abbreviated name that stuck in the WikiMushroom identifier: HOA.