Coral Fungi


Coral fungi are so named due to their resemblance to aquatic coral. Many species are edible but should be harvested when young, they get woody and dry as they age. Some species grow on wood, but most are terrestrial.


Other names: antler mushrooms or doghair mushrooms, club fungi
Translations: Koraļļu sēnes, Šakočius, Coral Ciuperci, Coral Gljive, Nấm san hô, Koral Grzyby, Coral Schimmels, कोरल कवक, Коралловые грибы, Coral Μύκητες, المرجان الفطريات, 산호 버섯, Coral Houby, 珊瑚菌, Coral Fongs, Coral Huby, Coral Funghi, קורל לפטריות, Fingersvamp, Корални Гљиве, コーラル菌類, Coral Champignons, Coral Pilze, Coral Svampe, Coral Sopp, Coral Hongos, Коралові гриби, Coral Sienet, Корал гъби

Physical Description

Most coral mushrooms either closely resemble marine coral or grow in clumps of slender "fingers." A few species are more club-shaped. They frequently come in bright, highly recognizable colors. Most are tan, off-white or yellowish, but the amethyst variety strongly resembles a purple aquatic coral plant. Coral mushrooms are also found in bright pink and orange-red varieties. The fungi feel rubbery to the touch.

Colors: Bright, brown

Tasting Notes

Flavors: Earthy
Mouthfeel: Meaty
Food complements: Meat dishes
Wine complements: Bordeaux, Pinot noir
Substitutes: Other mushroom varities, Enoki mushrooms

Selecting and Buying

Seasonality: january, february, march, april, may, june, july, august, september, opctober, november, december
Choosing: When selecting, choose mushrooms that are firm, fresh and free of blemishes. Check underneath their caps for tightly closed brown gills and be sure the surface of the cap is not dried and woody on the edges. Also look for slimy or sticky surfaces and for any coloring that is not normal. When buying dried mushrooms, check the package and if they are crushed into little pieces, do not buy them. Look for packages containing large pieces. To know what quantity of dried mushrooms to purchase, figure that two ounces will equal approximately one pound of fresh mushrooms.
Buying: Grocery stores or farmer's markets. They may be difficult to find.
Procuring: Coral mushrooms are generally found in the late summer and fall. They are most common in wooded areas, especially conifer forests, and are usually found on the ground. Some grow in open fields, however. The fungi also grow on top of fallen trees or stumps, and are usually of small size.

Preparation and Use

Mushrooms can be fried, sautéed, or stir-fried on their own and eaten as a side dish or used to top an entrée. Mushrooms are also popular as an ingredient in salads, soups, sauces stir-fries, meat dishes, and other main dishes.

Cleaning: To prepare fresh mushrooms, first trim off the bottoms of the stems, then wipe them off. Don't rinse them or soak them, for they'll absorb water and turn mushy when you cook them.

Conserving and Storing

If storing in the refrigerator, do not clean them before storing. Store uncleaned mushrooms in a paper bag or their original container. Do not store in plastic or airtight plastic containers, which causes them to retain moisture and decay faster. Keep them in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days. It is best to eat them as soon as possible. Dried mushrooms may be stored indefinitely. To preserve mushrooms for an extended period of time, use other methods such as freezing, drying, salting, canning or pickling.


History: Mushrooms have been hunted and consumed since ancient times. Coral mushrooms can sometimes cause a laxative effect and stomach upset.



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