Black trumpet mushrooms have a waxy grey surface and are known as fragile and trumpet-shaped. It is a very rich and buttery mushroom, popular in French cuisine because of their unique flavor and texture. They have a unique fragrance which some people say smell like apricots. Black trumpet mushrooms are known to be pretty gritty, and you really do want them as clean as you can get them. Make sure you pick over the mushrooms carefully and rinse if needed, then pat them dry and set on paper towels.
Although black trumpet mushrooms are delicious, they are also very little known. They are fragrant and fruity and go very well with fish or in cheddar cheese dishes. You can try them in a creamy soup or pasta sauce, risotto, or on pizza. As this mushroom type’s fruity, musky nature pairs up well with dairy or cheese dishes. Try placing the mushrooms in a skillet on medium heat, and then melt some butter and sauté the mushrooms 4 to 5 minutes. Next season with salt and pepper to taste, but do make sure to reserve a small handful of the mushrooms for some terrine, and finely chop the rest.
Typically during the summer months in the Pacific Northwest is where you will find wild black trumpet mushrooms growing. This type of mushroom does not usually grow on wood, even though they are said to sometimes have a woody flavor. This mushroom kind has a trumpet-shaped cap that lengthens down to the stalk. With a color ranging from dark red to light gray or nearly black, black trumpet mushrooms are highly regarded for their unique and rich flavor. Coloring of the spore surface and stem can range from pale grey to a salmon color to nearly black with wrinkles or raised veins rather than gills. The cap and interior is usually darker, salmon brown to black and hollow top to bottom.
Black trumpet mushrooms are part of the chanterelle family and can commonly be known as “the poor mans truffle.” These mushrooms are usually sold dried rather than fresh. These mushrooms look like little trumpets (or vases if you prefer that image), which rings quite true to its name, and have a distinctive smoky flavor that even borders on buttery. These mushrooms can turn any basic dish into something spectacular. They are mostly sold in specialty markets so they can be hard to find if you are not used to shopping for mushrooms. They can also be a bit on the pricey side; but just a little bit of these mushrooms will go a long way. These mushrooms are known for their added depth and woodsy aroma and work endlessly with cream sauces.
This type of mushroom is a perfect candidate for dried mushroom powder because of the earthiness that ensues within the dehydration process. Dried mushrooms are a delicious way to add a vibrant and pleasant taste to vegetarian and vegan dishes. You will see that black trumpets most always grow in synchronicity with some type of moss. And if you spray any type of pesticide on your lawn to kill the moss that harbors these little mushrooms, there’s no way you’ll find any black trumpets growing there in the future.
Black trumpets are pickable when they are at least two to three inches in height, but can sometimes grow up to six or seven inches tall. This sometimes resembles clusters of black or dark gray rabbit ears. Unlike any other flavor, black trumpet mushrooms have a unique deep, delicious taste weather they are fresh or re-hydrated. These black trumpets are a true wild mushroom that is almost impossible to cultivate. Thus, their arrival in markets and restaurants is restricted to their natural season.
Although, in the Ozarks, black trumpets tend to almost grow year round, they are most abundant in the springtime after good rain, and in the fall. In some years, black trumpet mushrooms are astoundingly plentiful, and then pitifully scarce in other years. But these mushrooms do indeed dry well. Use the lowest setting you can if you plan on drying them in a food dehydrator. Black Trumpet mushrooms as well as cinnabarinus mushrooms will still be good a year after harvesting them. All you need to do is place them in some water and let them plump back up for a few hours before using them.