How to Find and Eat Wood Ear Mushrooms!

When to Forage Wood Ear Mushrooms?
I have found Auricularia auricula (wood ear) just 5 days after temps rose above freezing here in South Dakota. That is wild! I’m still trying to figure out if they fruited in those temps or if the mushroom just dehydrates and freezes all winter then rehydrates when the temps warm (see video below). Either way, if you live in the Northern Plains you can search for these any time you are out foraging when temps are above freezing.

Where to Find Wood Ear Mushrooms?
Broad leaf forests. Simon & Schuster’s book “Mushroom”, David Arora’s “Mushrooms Demystified”, and Michael Kuo’s “Mushrooms of the Midwest” really don’t give much information about this mushroom’s natural tendencies. However, I have found it growing in many different forests everywhere from high in the tree canopy on trees that are still alive down to the ground on super dead logs and stumps. Once you become familiar with it you will find it in every forest you hike through.

How to Eat Wood Ear
My favorite way to eat wood ear is to first boil it then add directly to Asian stir-fries. It doesn’t have much taste but the texture is truly unique!