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Pig's Ears (Violet Chanterelle) Mushroom
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Pig’s Ear mushrooms are small to medium in size, averaging 5-15 centimeters in diameter, and are comprised of many folds, layers, and ridges. The caps are funnel or flute shaped and are recognized by their purple sides and their depressed yellow-brown center when young. As the mushroom ages, it will fade into a dull tan. The cap’s edges are wavy and smooth, and instead of true gills, there are many false gills in the form of ridges and shallow veins running on the sides of the cap. When sliced, the flesh of the mushroom is white and solid. Pig’s Ear mushrooms are firm and dense with a musty, earthy flavor and aroma.
Pig’s Ear mushrooms are available in the fall through winter.
Pig’s Ear mushrooms, botanically classified as Gomphus clavatus, are wild, edible mushrooms that belong to the Gomphaceae family. Also known as the Violet chanterelle, Pig’s Ear mushrooms were thought to be related to the chanterelle until their reclassification in the early 2000s and are typically found in the same regions and at the same time as chanterelle mushrooms. Growing in large clusters, these mushrooms form on moist ground or rotten wood in old coniferous forests near fir and spruce trees. Pig’s Ear mushrooms get their name from their similarity in appearance to the texture and shape of the well-known animal’s ear and are favored by foragers for their firm texture and rich, musky flavor.
Pig's Ear mushrooms contain iron, zinc, copper, vitamin D, fiber, and fatty acids that have antifungal properties. They also contain several essential enzymes such as protease, amylase, and lipase, which aid in the digestion of proteins, starches, and fats.
Pig’s Ears mushrooms are best suited for cooked applications such as boiling, frying, and sautéing. In the wild, this variety is favored by flies and these flies lay eggs in more mature mushrooms, so young mushrooms are ideal. If there are signs of maggots, the mushrooms can be parboiled and cleaned to remove larva. Pig’s Ear mushrooms have a firm and meaty texture that holds up well in soups, stews, chowders, and sauces. They can also be sautéed and served in a reduction sauce alongside beef or lamb or served in creamy pasta dishes for added texture. Pig’s Ear mushrooms pair well with garlic, onion, ginger, thyme, tarragon, oregano tofu, dark meats such as lamb or beef, artichoke hearts, sweet peppers, tamari, sake, noodles, and jasmine rice. They will keep for a couple of days when stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator or can be parboiled and flash frozen in the freezer for a couple of months.
Pig’s Ear mushrooms are found across Europe, but due to cutting old growth forests, the mushroom’s numbers have rapidly declined, and they were placed on the Global Fungal Red List, which is a list that is used to bring awareness and conversation to beneficial varieties. Despite their decline in Europe, Pig’s Ear mushrooms are also found in North America and were ranked as one of the most favored varieties by the Zapotecs in Oaxaca, Mexico. This ranking was conducted according to a study done in 2007 that looked at the cultural significance of certain varieties of mushroom, and the Pig’s Ear mushroom was favored for eating as a main dish without accompanying ingredients.
Pig’s Ear mushrooms are native to North America and Europe and were first recorded by German naturalist Jacob Christian Schaffer in 1774. This variety was then transferred to many different classifications until it was reclassified into the Gomphus species in the early 2000s. Today Pig’s Ear mushrooms can be found in the wild and at local markets in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and along the border of Europe and Asia.
Recipes that include Pig's Ears (Violet Chanterelle) Mushroom. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Forager Chef||PIG EAR GOMPHUS TACOS|
|Mad About Mushrooms||Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Pig's Ears|