Jelly ear fungus (Auricularia auricula-judae) is most likely to be found on dead elder, although I’ve also found it on sycamore (the photo above is jelly ear fungus on sycamore), goat willow, field maple, beech and gorse. It’s a great fungus to know for a few reasons. First up, it’s straightforward to identify – if it looks like an ear and feels like jelly, it’s a jelly ear. Secondly, they’e nutritious, and thirdly, they’re around for most of the year. So in terms of foraging, it doesn’t get much better.
They’re very similar to shitake mushrooms and we use then in much the same way. Whilst they don’t have much flavour themselves, they absorb the flavours of the other ingredients in the pan. We tend to use them a lot in stir-fries, although we also use them in spring rolls.
- 2 chicken breasts cut into thin slices
- 10 large jelly ear fungi roughly chopped
- 2cm piece of ginger cut into thin slivers
- 1 large courgette cut in half lengthways and finely sliced
- 2 good handfuls of ramsons (you could also add in some hogweed shoots if you have some)
- 2 tbsp of oyster sauce
- 3 tbsp of soy sauce
How to make chicken & jelly fungus stir fry
- Stir fry the chicken strips for 5 – 6 minutes
- Add the slivers of ginger
- Add the jelly fungus
- Add the courgettes
- Add the oyster sauce and soy sauce
- Stir in the ramsons
- Serve with noodles
This photo is a vegetarian stir fry Nicola cooked recently, using peppers instead of chicken, equally delcious!
We identify, collect and cook with a wide range of plants on our weekend long Wild Foods & Woodland Cooking course and also on our 1 Day Spring Forage. You can see loads of photos from that, and all of our other courses, on our Facebook page.