is what happens to Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus) when my wife makes a burrito bowl from my harvest. Great flavor, easily identified, and prolific when found, more info can be found here: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/laetiporus_sulphureus.html
In my opinion, it is all about risk vs. reward when it comes to mushrooms. In the calorie department, mushrooms don’t have a lot to offer, weighing in at around 20 kcal per cup. That same cup will offer some protein and vitamins/minerals.
The risk? If you misidentify a mushroom, it could be fatal. Your best plan of action is to take a class, get some good field guides, and make friends with some experienced mushroom hunters/experts.
Risk = possible poisoning/death vs. Reward = A handful of calories, some nutrients, and a whole lot of taste
In a hypothetical survival situation, I would only eat mushrooms that I regularly dined upon. Dehydration, lack of sleep, and hunger could lead to poor decision making, so play it safe, study them now or don’t even go down that path.
Fortunately, there are a half dozen or so that are relatively unmistakable, Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus) being one of them.
1. Clusters of overlapping, orange shelves with a yellow rim. On older, stiffer mushrooms I have cut off only the flexible yellow rim. Yellow underneath (note pic).
2. Grows on trees, not on the ground. There is no stem and the shelf attaches directly to the wood.
3. No gills. It is in the Polypore family, so technically it has tons of tiny holes in the bottom, but you can’t see them without a magnifying glass.
A long time ago, in a far off camp, a good friend and I dined on this mushroom and relished it’s flavor. For me, this mushroom reminds me of simpler times that beckon my return.