When collecting chanterelles – take someone with you who already knows the Chanterelle from the poison one that looks almost just like it – the Chanterelle has rills under the cap that run half way down the stem – the poison one has rills under the cap that stop where the cap meets the stem – always cut Chanterelles just above the dirt line with a sharp knife so that you leave the body of the mushroom plant underground to grow more mushroom fruit (what we call a mushroom) next year When washing Chanterelles – wash gently with cool, not cold or warm or hot, running water and brush gently with fingers to remove dirt, pine needles, etc Cooking Chanterelles – yum, yum, yum, yum, yum – sauté with butter (optionally fresh rosemary, scallions, tomatoes, the list is endless) – use them in soups, meats, whatever else you use mushrooms in or take a fancy to trying out Preserving Chanterelles – like there’s any left after the above choices – dry in your dehydrator for the Dark of Winter – can in your pressure cooker for the Dark of Winter – I don’t like to freeze any mushroom because in my experience they always come out kind of mushy, icky after defrosting
I wish I had your problem, mushies growing everywhere. In California we get a lot of Bluits, Black Morrel, Wild oyster, Honey mushroom, and Some King obleets (sp?) -anY way treat any mushroom with a little suspicion, if in doubt at all DONT EAT IT! I went collecting in the hills with the Los Angeles Mycological Society and we had a blast. There were fairly toxic look alike type mushrooms for a lot of the edible ones we collected. The Mushy Guru said to treat them like meat. You would not want to eat old decayed meat so don’t eat old mushrooms too, pick the fresh young ones and leave the older established fruit to reproduce. Next after proper ID (if still not sure make a spore print and send it to a lab or mycological club for ID)clean and cook your mushrooms within a day or two, or keep them in the fridge, if they get old- throw them or compost them.
I like sautaying in butter and garlic, The bigger caps can go on the BBQ with a little olive oil and your favorite seasonings (like meat. Some people eat their mushies raw and you can but I like to cook mine fairly well…just in case. When all else fails try the smallest sample of a mushroom, if you do not get sick then try a little more the next day, then if you dont get sick try a lot! If you can prove that the area you collected from have good edible mushrooms you may then go back to the same location and get good edible mushrooms there. A small note- you may try something and have no reaction and a second person may get ill as there are allergies to mushrooms too. Last resort buy your mushrooms from a store or farmers market or grow them from kits yourself! Out of the some 450 mushrooms we collected and the 50 odd different ones we found I took home about 15% or 75 shrooms, mostly Bluit, Black Morell, And an edible Spring Aminita.