This is a Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus conifericola) mushroom, a Polypore mushroom that is distinguished from other Laetiporus species because it is found in the west growing on decomposing conifers (hemlock, spruce, fir). It is generally a late summer mushroom, but sometimes you can find the odd specimen in early fall. Its a tricky one to find in a prime state, but in my very limited experience, you're looking for a bright orange to red top and a bright yellow underside. The mushroom should be tender to the touch and should exude a clear watery substance. If it does this then its the primo's!!!😄😄😄 In this state the mushroom is meaty and tender kind of like chicken, but it has an underlying citrus flavor that is undeniably intriguing. Its delicious, and this is what the hype is all about!!! Actually one of the tastiest mushrooms I've ever had.
This mushroom is a beautiful balance of food meets medicine. It has a large list of active constituents, several of which have anti-cancer or anti-tumor properties. It is also antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, and, interestingly enough, the mycelium is shown to be about 2.5% melanin by fresh weight. (Too much to share for an IG post. Check out the medicinal properties for yourself, its fascinating).