I’m back at work in school now so not too much time to write posts but I just have to share these images with you. I took an ex-student into the woods for a walk and chat last week and we found these amazing Jelly ear or Wood ear fungi on a mossy old Elder tree. The scientific name for these ear shaped beauties is Auricularia auricula-judae.
Some were enormous!
Jelly ears are one of just a few fungi that I get excited about when out foraging because they are so straightforward to identify and I love to pick, cook and eat them!
I harvested a couple whilst out on that walk and went back for more with my daughter, a few days later. We found them on the mossy Elder but also on older dead trees which now have no bark so I couldn’t identify those tree species (but they are certainly not Elder).
I harvested a small paper bag full, dried most in my oven on a very low heat and cooked up the rest in a curry.
I’ll rehydrate these in a cup of water for 15 minutes or so, when I’m ready to slice and cook them.
Jelly ears don’t have a strong flavour and they smell of the mossy woods which they come from. They have this particular crackle-crunch when cooked and munched and I really like them. They are not crunchy or crackly when fresh however. When on the tree, they are totally gelatinous, unmistakably ear shaped, have a velvety upper texture, a another under texture and are pure jelly in the middle. They can be pulled carefully off the wood rather like a bit of turkish delight. I like everything about them!
Jelly ears are mostly associated with rotting parts of Elder trees (Sambucus nigra) but are also known to grow on other tree species.
I’d love to know your thoughts about these ears of the woods. Have you tried them? Do you like them? How do you like to cook them? Let me know your thoughts.