Scarlet Elf Cup

Sarcoscypha austriaca

These bright red eye-catching spring heralds surface early spring when there is still snow on the ground. Depending from the perspective, some consider the mushroom edible and some inedible (but never poisonous). It seems that the fungus falls into this liminal category where something is edible, but not recognised as gastronomically worthy. With a subtle, slightly insipid taste and tough texture, it is not the most delicious mushroom. Though after a long and barren winter, it is a welcoming change in one’s palate and plate. It is known that Oneida Indians used scarlet elf cup as a medicinal fungus, while the children in the Jura mountainous region are known to eat the mushroom raw with bread and butter.