The black trumpet mushrooms refer to wild mushrooms foraged by many for their rich flavor. They are odd-looking, but they are among the easiest-to-identify mushrooms in the woods. With great relief, these mushrooms have edible lookalikes, which means even if you mistake a mushroom for a black trumpet and ingest it accidentally, it is least likely for you to be poisoned.
But of course, we want to err on the side of caution, so I still would not recommend eating unfamiliar mushrooms.
This post is dedicated to explaining the characteristics of black trumpets and the valuable information you need to enjoy their unique flavor.
How are Black Trumpet Mushrooms Identified?
As stated by their names, the black trumpet mushrooms (Craterellus cornucopioides) generally appear to be black, dark grey, or dark brown. The mushroom's dark hue may change once it is exposed to the sun, becoming light gray or tan yet still retaining other known features of the mushroom. The caps of the black trumpet mushrooms are vase or bull-horn shaped, which is one of their unique characteristics.
Black trumpets have a top "cap" that is roughly spherical with a ruffled edge resembling a flower. Some species have raised patches or pimple-like patterns on the inside of the funnel. These edges commonly crack as they deteriorate and dry out.
Black trumpets lack the true gills you usually find underneath the mushroom's cap. They may be wrinkled, smooth, or contain linear groves that obliquely resemble gills but are creases in the mushroom's cap. The color of the undersides may differ from the inside and top, or it may get lighter the closer it gets to the ground.
Where Do Black Trumpet Mushrooms Grow?
Small to large groups of black trumpet mushrooms in deciduous forests can be seen growing. Because these mushrooms are small and their color complements the woodland floor well, it can be challenging to identify them in the woods.
Black trumpet mushrooms are categorized as mycorrhizal, which means they establish symbiotic relationships with specific plant species, such as oak, ash, and beech. The black trumpets prefer to live with older, more established woods with a dense tree canopy that offers plenty of shade, particularly that which extends beyond the tree.
For experienced mushroom foragers, the black trumpet mushrooms are rarely found beneath the trees. Their common location would be closer to the edge o a tree's canopy. Additionally, the black trumpets would go for a rich, dark, moist soil, which makes moss a reliable indicator that black trumpet mushrooms are nearby.
The flesh of black trumpets is fragile. They need to be slightly soft to the touch and should tear effortlessly. As shown here with the devil's urn mushrooms, they shouldn't feel rubbery or stiff.
You will hardly find insects eating these since the thin flesh is a typically effective bug repellent. On the other hand, snails and slugs will merrily chow down on black trumpets.
Native to Europe and North America, black trumpet mushrooms frequently form clusters, especially along the West Coast of the United States. They also grow throughout the East Coast's late summer and early fall.
What other Mushrooms are Lookalikes of Black Trumpet Mushrooms?
The black trumpet mushrooms have a considerable number of lookalike mushrooms you should know to ascertain if what you have are real black trumpets. I listed them below for your convenience:
Pig ear mushrooms
Black trumpets are also somewhat similar to Gomphus clavatus and Gomphus crassipes, often known as pigs ears or the violet chanterelle. They can be mistaken for lighter species of Craterellus due to their lavender-gray or pink-brown coloring and vase-like forms.
Pig ears always grow in joined clusters, feel like a solid mushroom, and are thicker and fleshier than black trumpets.
Black trumpets are typically found below 2000 feet, whereas Gomphus species are usually found at higher elevations.
Pig ears are edible when young and adequately cooked; however, they become bitter and rough as they age. These mushrooms can cause gastrointestinal irritation in many people, especially if they are not appropriately prepared. The harvest of this fungus may not be permitted in Europe due to its threat.
Devil's urn Mushroom
Although the two mushroom kinds are straightforward to tell apart if you know what to look for, the devil's urn is the only one genuinely regarded as a black trumpet lookalike. These mushrooms differ in their growing season as black trumpets appear later in the summer, whereas devil's urn mushrooms grow in the spring.
Both black trumpets and devil's urn mushrooms often grow in tiny clusters and range in color from dark gray to black. On the other hand, black trumpets have fluted, rolled-back tops and more closely resemble bulges poking out of the ground. Devil's urn mushrooms are more tube-like and almost resemble little, dark pots.
Although technically edible, the devil's urn is rarely hunted for its food value because it doesn't taste as pleasant as the black trumpet. Unlike other mushrooms, black trumpets have a distinctive, rich, smokey flavor that many mushroom aficionados feel must be experienced to appreciate fully.
Black trumpets and chanterelle mushrooms resemble one other almost precisely in shape. In fact, because of how similar their designs are, black trumpets and black chanterelles are commonly used interchangeably.
Black trumpets and chanterelles both feature funnel-shaped bodies and wavy, rolled-back tops. Although they frequently grow alone or in small, dispersed groups of two or three, both can grow in tiny clusters.
In addition to sharing a similar appearance, chanterelles and black trumpets grow in the mid to late summer and have similar tastes. So how are you expected to distinguish between them?
According to some reports, some clusters can grow up to three feet in diameter. To distinguish them from other chanterelles, blue chanterelles are often deep blue-black or purple-black and always grow in masses that are at least 10 inches across.
Are Black Trumpet Mushrooms Edible?
Yes, black trumpet mushrooms are edible. Some growers even consider them one of the best-tasting wild mushrooms standing next to chanterelles, porcinis, and morels.
Black trumpets are famous for providing a deep, smokey flavor that is significantly more enjoyable when consumed.
Their robust flavor works nicely in a variety of dishes. They go well with seafood recipes, pasta dishes, soups, sauces, and dinners that include meat. Basically, anything that doesn't have many other flavorful components will compete with your mouthwatering trumpets.
What Health Benefits Do Black Trumpet Mushrooms Give?
The black trumpet mushrooms are a great addition to your diet since it provides you with nutrition, vitamins, and minerals that will enable your body to become healthy and robust.
For one, the black trumpet is one of the least calorie-dense mushrooms, with only about 15 calories per 3.5 ounces. The black trumpet mushroom has a very low-calorie count and is also high in fiber and high-quality protein. Therefore, it has a place as a component of anyone's balanced diet.
The fibers found in black trumpets have an intriguing satietogenic impact when rebalancing food. This fact suggests that the black trumpet mushrooms can help suppress one's appetite for food.
It not only enhances the immune system but also makes for a beautiful species in the cuisine. You'll get an extra amount of group B vitamins and minerals like zinc (mainly) and copper (B2 and B3) if you eat them.
The black trumpet mushroom is beneficial for preventing thyroid gland diseases, perhaps. Additionally, a serving of black trumpet mushrooms contains antioxidant effects and is high in protein. These are a top supplier of essential amino acids.
Last but not least, this fungus is rich in several micronutrients, including many vitamins and minerals. We can use potassium, phosphorus, iron, or even the vitamins D, E, and K as examples.
Are Black Trumpet Mushrooms Special?
The black trumpet mushrooms may be regarded as one-of-a-kind for many known reasons. This type of mushroom is prized by many, and they are simply recognized as specialty species. Here are some excellent reasons why the black trumpet mushrooms are regarded as special:
- Only found in the wild, the black trumpet mushroom has so far eluded commercial cultivation. In addition, it can be challenging to locate and, in years of drought, will not appear. These combined factors make the black trumpet a rare and unique mushroom species.
- Black trumpets are exceptional in terms of the flavor they provide. These mushrooms have an earthy, fragrant, smokey flavor and are delicate and wispy in texture. It has an unusual, almost exotic appearance and flavor that you should not miss.
- Because black trumpets are challenging to cultivate, you can only buy them dried in leading supermarkets.
- Specialty retail or upscale food service is the primary market for black trumpet mushrooms. At the retail level, these mushrooms are relatively expensive. They can be purchased for $48 per pound from the restaurant supply company Earthy Delights.
Can You Grow Black Trumpet Mushrooms?
The black trumpet mushrooms are a particular fungus that makes them unique among their contemporaries. For this reason, many aspire to grow black trumpet mushrooms, but there is not much success in this endeavor. Unless, of course, you are an experienced grower of mushrooms.
Black trumpet mushrooms are challenging to grow on demand because nothing is known about how they grow. The mushrooms and hardwood trees are known to coexist together, which means that for the mushrooms to flourish, the trees must be present. They don't originate from the trees directly, but they appear to require their root systems to survive.
What explicitly causes black trumpet spores to produce mushrooms in a specific location once discharged is unknown. Because of this, it isn't easy to reproduce their precise developing circumstances. They also have a relatively limited growing season, so if the right growing circumstances are not present at the right moment, they will not develop.
Since the black trumpet mushrooms can give you frustrations as you attempt to cultivate them, the more fun way of obtaining the mushrooms is by foraging them.
How to Forage Black Trumpet Mushrooms
In foraging black trumpet mushrooms, you should be mindful of their appearance, which I adequately described above. However, there are some actions you may take to improve your odds of locating them. When you see them, note their location on a map or in your GPS, so you cannot lose them. In the same place, trumpets return every year. So, as soon as you have located a few patches, you'll be good to go for years.
Since some trees are associated with the growth of black trumpets, it is practical to hunt for these trees at the best foraging time of year. Some of the trees to look out for are oaks and conifers, whose growth depends on one's global location. By identifying these trees, you are slightly reducing the search area.
In some instances, black trumpets are frequently found near streams or creeks because they prefer wet, mossy environments. Rarely will you discover this secretive mushroom growing in the open because they prefer darker, gloomy forest areas. Considering this fact, finding some lovely, mossy, shaded spots with lots of oak trees is a great place to start.
Always look intently and keep your eyes on the ground. Because of how well they blend in, black trumpets will walk right past you or sneak up on you. But if you are searching among mossy, shaded locations in the height of the season, they might be there, waiting for you. Since black trumpets naturally blend in with the surrounding forest litter, foraging them will take some practice.
How Do You Preserve Black Trumpet Mushrooms?
Black trumpets can be temporarily kept in the refrigerator or freezer, but they cannot last for as long if you don't dry them out. Black trumpets can be preserved for up to a year and retain their flavor when dehydrated. Dried black trumpet mushrooms will enable you to improve your various meals, including stir-fries, pizzas, and pasta.
Black trumpet mushrooms will spontaneously dehydrate if you simply leave them open at room temperature.
If they are particularly wet, you can dehydrate them first by placing them in an oven or food dehydrator for a few hours on the lowest setting.
Your black trumpet mushrooms will be brittle and break easily, like a cracker, when they are dry enough to store.
After that, you can just put them in a mason jar or other glass container and seal them. If desired, you can powder or cut them before keeping them. When dried, they retain their flavor pretty well.
How Do Black Trumpet Mushrooms Taste?
Black trumpets can technically be eaten raw, dry, sauteed, roasted, fried, steamed, or any other method you choose to prepare them. Older black trumpets are best dried or cooked.
Suppose you want to eat them raw, I would recommend consuming young trumpet mushrooms. They get more challenging and more fibrous as they age.
If you have a surplus of young, fresh mushrooms, it would be a waste not to try them raw to take advantage of their delicate flavor and texture.
The flavor of black trumpets is quite tricky to explain. Black trumpets are dubbed to provide rich and smoky, nutty, deep and earthy, or somewhat mushroom-like flavor by many foragers. Black trumpets taste somewhat like truffles, according to some foragers.
In fact, black trumpet mushrooms taste very different from how they smell. Interestingly, these mushrooms have an unexpectedly pleasant, fruity perfume resembling chanterelles. Due to their resemblance in flavor and perfume to chanterelles, these mushrooms are also known as black chanterelles.
How Can You Cook Black Trumpet Mushrooms?
Adding black trumpets to savory meals like soups, stews, sauces, meat or vegetable dishes, and more makes them extraordinary. In recipes, they can be used in place of other varieties of mushrooms.
You must first reassemble black trumpets if you plan to use them whole or in sizable sections. Before including them in the recipe, soak them in warm water for 15 to 20 minutes.
Additionally, you can powder them and use them as seasoning. Like other dry spices, you can sprinkle powdered mushrooms into any dish.