Black Beauties

Nice Day of Harvesting!
A couple of weeks ago, after almost a full summer of nothing but rain, I was out harvesting a very nice lot of Chanterelle when I decided to try a new trail.
After about thirty minutes of not finding anything I was about to give up. I stopped, looked around, and just happened to look down at my feet. Low and behold, I had found a mess of black trumpets! Now, I haven’t been foraging for long (about 3-4 years), and this was my first black trumpet find. Needless to say I was beyond excited! After that, I realized my new trail was FULL of black trumpets, and I’ve been going back frequently for more.

Notice the "trumpet" shape and furled edging.

Black trumpets are one of the easiest mushrooms to identify. However, they are also one of the hardest to see! They are greyish/black in color, and tend to blend right in with the foliage. Much like the Chanterelle, they are ‘horn’ shaped, but the edges furl outwards instead of in a ‘wave’ like a chanterelle. They are also unique in that they have no gills at all, just a nice smooth underside.

Black Trumpet cluster on the moss covered trail!

They are fairly fragile, and can rip very easily, so be gentle when pulling them from the ground. I also found that the largest clusters of them were around moss (in fact, the entire new trail I was on was covered in moss), which also makes it a little easier to spot them. Much like my motto with morels, “if you see one black trumpet, stop and look around! There are sure to be more”. They also favor areas near seasonal streams and washes. Dark, damp places are the best for these beauties! Black trumpets are a weather-permitting summer-fall mushroom, meaning, the more rain the better! After my first initial find, I had left a few of the smaller ones to grow a little bigger. After about 5-6 days with no rain, I had gone back only to find they had all withered and were no longer edible. 
Devil's Urn Mushroom
This mushroom has almost no look alikes, the only exception being the Devil’s Urn, and it only shows up in early to mid spring. The Devil’s Urn is not poisonous, just not very good. 

Yummy Black Trumpet Gumbo!!
The best part about these mushrooms? The taste!! Out of everything I had harvested so far, these have been my favorite. They have a earthy, smoky flavor and are wonderful sauteed alone, or in any mushroom dish. They also make great sauces! Before you cook them, however, be sure to carefully and gently wash them. The smooth surface tends to allow dirt and debris to cling to it.

The first day I made them just plain so that I could really get the rich flavor. The next day, though, I made a wonderful black trumpet gumbo! What a great flavor they brought to the entire dish!

This time of year is always so great for good finds (when the weather cooperates)! So, put on those hiking shoes, a little bug repellent and happy hunting!!