Cinnabar Red Chanterelle Cuisine: Cleaning and Preservation of Edible Wild Red Mushrooms

by DerdriuMarriner

Requiring minimal cleaning, cinnabar red chanterelle mushrooms (Cantharellus cinnabarinus) may be enjoyed beyond their season via easy preservation techniques.

Cinnabar red chanterelle mushrooms flash flamboyantly across North American landscapes east of the Rocky Mountains from July to October. Their enticing exterior mirrors a deliciously healthy interior that may be appreciated in a parade of recipes. Chanterelles may be enjoyed in a variety of culinary formats, including:
• fresh;
• baking;
• boiled;
• grilled;
• sautéed;
• steamed.

Tips for cleaning and preserving are provided. Preparatory handling prior to fresh or cooked consumption requires minimal cleaning. Easy preservation techniques allow enjoyment of chanterelles year-round.

Cinnabar red chanterelle mushroom (Cantharellus cinnabarinus): in habitat

Mushroom Observer image 18089
Mushroom Observer image 18089

Culinary appreciation: the flavor and visual impact of red chanterelle mushrooms in cuisine


While red chanterelles shrink somewhat during cooking, their vivid color does not fade but instead adds tantalizing brightness to the menu.

Their flavor, which slightly intensifies with cooking, imparts an enticing pepperiness to the menu. This pepperiness blends well with other flavors.

Red chanterelles should never be blasted with high heat, which toughens them.

Red chanterelles release liquids during cooking, so, especially in sautés, only a judicious amount of lemon juice or butter is necessary. For example, half a lemon's worth of juice suffices for each half pound of red chanterelles.

As well as sautés, red chanterelles complement cream sauces, omelettes, soufflés, soups, and vegetable dishes.

Casseroles, quiches, and risottos welcome red chanterelles as an ingredient.

This delicacy also enlivens meat, poultry, and seafood recipes visually while regaling the senses of smell and taste as well.


Harvest cinnabar red chanterelle mushrooms either by slicing with a knife or by plucking out of the ground:

A 13-year study in Pacific Northwest forest in Oregon gave an edge for future growth to the plucking method.
Mushroom Observer image 51658
Mushroom Observer image 51658

Harvesting cinnabar red chanterelles


Two methods are available for harvesting chanterelles:

  • plucking out of the ground, or
  • slicing with a knife, which neatly leaves the base attached to the mycelium -- vast network of long, branching filaments -- underground.


Freshly picked cinnabar chanterelles

Jackson, Butts County, north central Georgia
Jackson, Butts County, north central Georgia

Preparatory handling prior to cooking: cleaning tips


Note about storage:

If unable to clean immediately, place uncleaned red chanterelles in a waxed paper or brown paper bag and store in vegetable crisper for up to three to five days.

  • Red chanterelles should not be stored in plastic bags, which easily reduce these delicacies to an unappetizingly pathetic, mushy state.


Note about water:

Use water sparingly while cleaning red chanterelles as they quickly become waterlogged. Therefore, washing under running water or soaking the freshly gathered red treasures is not ever recommended.



Remove as much debris as possible without water.

  • Start by gently whisking away debris with a mushroom brush or a toothbrush.
  • For stubborn debris, use a soft, slightly dampened cloth for dabbing.

Place for airing on paper towels or soft, fluffy cloths.


Note on storage after cleaning:

After cleaning, red chanterelles respond well to a few days of refrigeration.

  • The best storage method at this point is a loose arrangement in a bowl lightly lined and lightly covered with cloth or paper towels.


canning jars in jar rack awaiting lowering into pot of boiling water or pressure cooker:

cinnabar red chanterelle mushrooms are receptive to canning
USDA Guide 1 Principles of Canning 2009, cover
USDA Guide 1 Principles of Canning 2009, cover

Preservation: Canning, drying, freezing, pickling


For canning:

  • Cut red chanterelles into big chunks and steam for 20 minutes.
  • Then deposit steamed pieces into small canning jar(s). Cover pieces either with leftover steaming liquid or water or any favored canning liquid.
  • Sterilize for 40 minutes. If using a pressure cooker, set pressure at 10 pounds.


For drying:

Most chanterelles, including reds, do not respond well to preservation through dehydration, which emphasizes a disagreeably tough, chewy texture even after rehydrating.

  • Nevertheless, stews agree with dried reds by tenderizing them during the long, slow cooking process.
  • Drying may be done either with a dehydrator or on drying trays.

For manual drying, thinly slice after cleaning and nestle slices on paper towels atop screens or trays in a sunny, ventilated location for one to two days.

  • Turn the slices over a few times so both sides are exposed to air currents.
  • Brittleness and easy crumbling signal that dehydration is complete.

To rehydrate, barely cover with warm water. Allow to sit for at least 15 minutes.

Reserve this soaking liquid afterwards as flavors from the dried reds are released into it. This flavored liquid may be added to gravy, rice, stews, etc.


For freezing:

Red chanterelles emerge unscathed from proper freezing. It is important firstly to dry sauté reds in a pan over medium heat. Heat causes them to release stored liquid. This moisture then evaporates.

  • With only a little of the moisture remaining, add at least enough butter to cover the bottom of the pan. Generous amounts of butter are beneficial: adding butter is important to release and preserve the flavorful components, which are fat soluble.
  • Seasoning may be added here. Reds work their magic on any and all seasonings. Favorites include parsley, thyme, and tarragon.
  • Sauté for about 5 minutes.

Sealed in freezer bags, reds rest nonchalantly in freezers. Removed for thawing, even a year or longer afterwards, reds awaken with gusto with their color, flavor, and texture all virtually intact and ready to please.


For pickling:

Red chanterelles pickle extraordinarily well, especially in white wine.

The addition of oil -- of which my favorites are olive and sunflower -- at the beginning and at the end captures the above-mentioned, fat-soluble virtues of red chanterelles.

1. Deposit red chanterelles in a pot and add a bottle of white wine (my preference is for Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc), along with several teaspoons of oil.

  • Cook for about 20 minutes on medium heat.
  • Occasionally check that the pot does not boil dry, which usually does not happen due to the extra liquid released by the red chanterelles.

2. Squeeze one lemon -- or splash 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice -- over the mushrooms after cooking and then toss several times.

3. Set a sufficiently-sized colander into another pot and empty the mushrooms and their cooking liquid into it.

4. After the liquid has mostly drained from the colander, pack red chanterelles into sterile jars, leaving at least one inch of headroom, that is, clearance from the jar lip.

  • Note: Sometimes I separate reds from the cooking liquid with a slotted spoon to keep the liquid in the cooking pot, which further binds flavors as the pot releases its built-up heat.
  • In each jar, cover mushrooms with cooking liquid. Top with a few drops of oil.
  • Tightly apply lids.
  • Shake to dislodge any air bubbles trapped among the reds.

Store in the refrigerator, where these pickled treasures await their next command performance, lasting easily for one or two years!


sauté pan/casserole/buffet dish: cinnabar red chanterelles respond well to the exquisite sensitivity and simplicity of sautéeing

Hahn 28cm Non Stick Buffet Saute Pan ~ 18/10 polished stainless steel
Hahn 28cm Non Stick Buffet Saute Pan ~ 18/10 polished stainless steel

Conclusion: From nature to the table with cinnabar red chanterelle mushrooms


The lengthy fruiting season for cinnabar red chanterelle (Cantharellus cinnabarinus) mushrooms, a New World native species, runs from June or July to October, in wooded landscapes of southern Canada and of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains.

Cinnabar reds make their appearance with eclat, flashing red in soil. Hardwood forests and mixed hardwood-conifer forests serve as favorite habitats.

Requiring minimal care, cinnabar reds make an easy journey from harvest to consumption.

  • Their versatility encourages an array of culinary presentations, from fresh to cooked.
  • They display a special flair for sautéeing.

Their congenial reception to preservation techniques promises year-round enjoyment of cinnabar red chanterelles for aficionados.


Cooking accentuates redness of cinnabar red chanterelle mushrooms.

Mushroom Observer image 240341
Mushroom Observer image 240341



My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet.


A plate perfectly frames cinnabar red chanterelles.

Mushroom Observer image 352330
Mushroom Observer image 352330

Sources Consulted


U.S. Department of Agriculture. Complete Guide to Home Canning: Guide 1: Principles of Home Canning. U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2009 revised edition.

  • Available at:


Chanterelle Mushroom Fairy: each mushroom, especially the resplendent chanterelles, appears magically, sprouting beautifully above ground, as though fairies had waved their magic wands

Techn. Utilisée: Pigments naturels et Encre de chine
Techn. Utilisée: Pigments naturels et Encre de chine
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares: The Love, Lore, and Mystique of Mushrooms by Greg A. Marley

Explores mushroom history, from famous Amanita phalloides ("the Death Cap"), reputed killer of Emperor Claudius in 1st century AD, to beloved chanterelle (cantharellus cibarius) known by at least 89 different common names in almost 25 languages.
chanterelle-themed books

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Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 11/13/2021, DerdriuMarriner
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