If you’re looking for a truly unique, intriguing fungi to use in your cooking, look no further than the black trumpet mushroom. This unusual fungus is vividly different than pretty much any other mushroom you’ve ever seen. It adds unique aesthetics to both the growing areas and your meals and makes for a fantastic conversation starter if you’re hanging out with foodies or foragers.
Let’s take a look at this truly distinctive mushroom and all it has to offer.
Black Trumpet Mushroom Classification
The European species, Craterellus cornucopioides goes by many names. The horn of plenty, black chanterelle, black trumpet, trompette de la mort, trumpet of the dead, djondjon (in Haiti), and trombetta dei morti (Italian) are all names for this incredibly unique mushroom. The black trumpet mushroom is in the Cantharellaceae family in the Craterellus genus.
Where Do Black Trumpet Mushrooms Grow?
Black trumpet mushrooms are an extremely unusual and unique-looking, thanks partially to their trumpet shape and largely to their black coloration. The mushrooms grow in hardwood forests, specifically near broadleaved trees like beeches. They don’t fruit on dead or living wood directly, but they do rely on the trees for shelter and for mycorrhizal relationships.
Black trumpet mushrooms are found in forested areas in North America, East Asia, and Europe. With Craterellus fallax residing on the east coast of the U.S. and Craterellus cornucopioides being found in the west. They love growing in moist spots near moss, especially in heavy calcareous soils. The mushrooms have a peak season of summer and fall.
Are Black Trumpet Mushrooms Safe to Eat?
Black trumpet mushrooms are one of the many, many edible mushrooms on the planet. Even their look-alikes are non-toxic, which makes them a great beginner mushroom for foragers. They have great, smokey flavoring, with what has been described by some as black truffle notes, while others find the mushroom more similar to the standard chanterelle mushroom.
Black Trumpet Mushroom Flavor Profile
Black trumpets are small in size, growing between 1 and 5 inches in height typically, with a fluted vase cap that curls inwardly. The mushroom has a chewy texture with smoky, nutty flavor and a sweet, strong woodsy scent. The mushroom’s flavor and unique, velvety texture make it a popular choice for chefs looking for something both delicate and unique to add to their gourmet offerings. The flavor is enhanced by dehydrating them.
How Are Black Trumpet Mushrooms Used?
These mushrooms are most often fried, baked, or sauteed with other foods with less overpowering flavors themselves. The mushrooms aren’t completely delicate, but they are weaker flavored than some foods. They are most commonly prepared in light pasts dishes, with seafoods, added to soups, used to top pizzas, and added to sauces. They may be battered lightly and used for tempura. Black trumpets may be dried for later use, as well, or ground into powder to be used like a spice. A lot of people use the dried ones in cream sauces and I can say that I agree that it is a great way to put them to use.
Health Benefits of These Mushrooms
Black trumpet mushrooms are packed with healthy nutrients which give them favor among both people looking to eat healthy and chefs who wish to improve the offerings they serve. They are particularly high in Vitamin B12, which an essential nutrient for skin, cancer prevention, cholesterol care, and fat loss. This nutrient also helps brain function and nervous system function. B 12 is also known to help fight fatigue. Per gram, this mushroom is high in fiber, low in fat, high in protein, and contains other nutrients that may help fight dementia, blood vessel diseases, muscle weakness, anemia, and intestinal problems.
How Much Do Black Trumpet Mushrooms Cost?
As they do not weigh much, black trumpet mushrooms tend to be quite pricey, unfortunately, ranging from often $25 dollars a pound to much higher, depending on the marketplace.
Where to Find Black Trumpet Mushrooms While Foraging?
DISCLAIMER: Always check with a mycologist to confirm your finds and before ingesting.
If you’re ready to try foraging for your own Black Trumpet mushrooms, here are some tips.
First, you’ll find them in clusters typically, growing in the wild woodlands of Europe and North America on the West Coast. They’ll pop out on the East Coast in late summer and autumn, as well.
Make your way through hardwood forests, looking among the exposed roots beneath trees like oaks and beeches. They may grow as singles, but more often than not, they’ll be clustered near mosses near the trees.
And speaking of moss, the mossiest areas are where you’re most prone to finding thickets of the black fungus. If you spot large areas with moss, slow down and delicately slip off the trail to spot them. They typically are easy to spot in contrast against the vibrant greens.
Black trumpets also love streams and damp areas, so they’re likely to be found near water.
Finally, be sure to look directly downward as you go. They’re not tiny mushrooms, but they are pretty small and fairly easy to miss unless you’re paying close attention.
Where Can I Purchase Black Trumpet Mushrooms to Grow?
You won’t find black trumpet mushroom grow kits online (or at least you won’t find grow kits that actually work). These mushrooms are mycorrhizal and can not be cultivated. You may be able to find some fresh specimens available from select foragers at farmer’s markets in some areas, but more likely you’ll have to buy them dehydrated.
How to Identify Black Trumpet Mushrooms
The fruiting body of the Black Trumpet mushroom is funnel shaped with a larger opening at the top, curving downward toward the stem. The whole fungus is typically about 4 inches tall and maybe three-quarters of an inch in diameter. The tallest ones reach 6 inches.
The mushroom is almost exclusively black or dark gray, though occasionally they may have some yellow coloration to them. The lower part of the fungus is a lighter shade of gray. The surface is generally smooth and velvety in texture, though it may be wrinkled.
Can You Grow Black Trumpet Mushrooms at Home?
Many like the idea of growing Black Trumpet mushrooms at home – after all, they’re kind of the perfect fungus! Unfortunately, though, they are extremely challenging for even professionals to cultivate.
Black Trumpet Mushroom Trivia
Some intriguing facts and trivia notes about the Black Trumpet mushroom can not only inform you, but help you develop some interesting conversations with folks who join you over a plate of black trumpet pasta.
If you didn’t guess by the scientific name, cornucopioides is indeed named for the object we know as the cornucopia. This comes from Greek mythology and refers the incredible horn of the nymph Amalthea’s goat. The cornucopia is filled with whatever meat and drink its owner requested. This is why the horn has become known as the symbol of plenty. Thus, also giving this fungus its nickname of the horn of plenty.
And if you speak Spanish, French, or Italian even a little, you likely recognized the term “morti” as the word for death. The nickname for the mushroom is the trumpet of the dead. Some think this name comes from the black coloration, often identified with dead. Others think the nickname comes from the mythology of the mushrooms being the trumpets of dead beneath the ground, surfacing to bring their message above.
These mushrooms are closely related to the chantarelle mushroom, a popular mushroom choice for fine cuisines. Black Trumpets, however, are much harder to find. Black trumpets are a truly wild mushroom, as they are exceedingly difficult to cultivate.
The black trumpet mushroom also has another moniker: the poor man’s truffle. The mushroom isn’t as expensive to purchase as black truffles, but it offers many of the same flavor notes of the more expensive mushroom.
Black trumpets have no gills or visible spore-bearing structures like pores or teeth. The undersides of their caps are always smooth to slightly wrinkled, which is another thing that sets them apart.
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- Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craterellus_cornucopioides
- Specialty Produce, Available here: https://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Black_Trumpet_Mushrooms_722.php
- SOS Chefs, Available here: https://sos-chefs.com/blogs/sos-chefs-blog/healthy-and-delicious-black-trumpet-mushrooms
- Mushroom Site, Available here: https://mushroomsite.com/2020/05/18/black-trumpet-mushroom/